Malta Entertainment Law

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In 1999, a CNN journalist described Malta as “Hollywood in the Mediterranean” alluding to Malta’s ideal combination of baroque architecture and modern freshness. This, evidently, makes Malta a popular filming location in the European and Mediterranean region. Chetcuti Cauchi’s media and entertainment law team offers legal advice to clients in both the local and international film industry, this to make the projects such clients have in mind more feasible.

Our Malta Entertainment Law Team

Our media and entertainment law team gives advice on copyright issues, attainment of permits and authorisations, sourcing of funding, complex tax advice, corporate structure planning, and representation of film development needs.

International Co-Productions

Since filmmaking is an expensive exercise, films outside the country of inception usually take the form of international co-productions. An international co-production would qualify as a national production in each of the partner nations, and the production team would have access to benefits that are available to the local film and television industry. Such benefits include governmental financial assistance and tax concessions. These productions open new markets for films and television programmes, as well as increase the output of high quality productions through the sharing of equity investment.

Legal Basis

  • Bilateral Co-Production Treaties

Apart from ratifying the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production, Malta also has in place bilateral co-production treaties with Canada and 28 European countries: Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the UK, Ireland, Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Georgia, Poland, Portugal, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Armenia, Turkey and the Holy See.

  • Malta Tax Structures and Solutions for Entertainers and International Sports Professionals

In Maltese Entertainment Law, there is no definition which amounts to a description of am entertainment or sports professional. However, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model Convention is helpful in this regard. Article 17 of the OECD Model provides that the income derived from the personal activities of a resident of a contracting state as an entertainer in the other state, may be taxed in that other state.

In addition, something more specific to the Maltese legal scenario is that professional sportsmen and entertainers who are not resident in Malta may benefit from advantageous tax opportunities since any royalties derived by any person not resident in Malta are exempted from tax. Income of entertainers or sports professionals may be received in Malta or routed through Malta in the form of royalties.

  • Financial incentives

There has been a noticeable climb in the filming industry in Malta during the past 10 years since the tax rebate has been introduced. This was intended to attract foreign productions to Malta and as we can see, it has reached its aim. However, currently, the government intends to revise this financial package to give producers a bigger incentive when hiring more Maltese behind and in front of the camera.

This new film policy is also expected to regulate employment in the film industry by introducing features like film crews working on payroll instead as freelancers. This would be very efficient for productions filming for a considerable amount of time and is the next logical step to make Malta a more professional filming destination. It is evidently important to incentivise such productions since the film industry has become an integral and ever-growing part of the Maltese economy.

  • The Malta Film Commission and the Malta Film Fund

This Commission is a government body which serves to promote, develop, and support the audio-visual industry. It is the medium through which the financial incentives are put into practice. Both the Malta Film Commission and the Maltese government are placing an emphasis on educating the workforce, ensuring that it is skilled and specialised.

Furthermore, the Malta Film Fund encourages both emerging and experienced film-makers to develop their potential and support original ideas for new works or the completion of film projects.

​Media & Entertainment Law: Our Malta Digital Media & Entertainment Law Practice

Adapting to the progressive and evolving needs of the digital media industry, Chetcuti Cauchi provides services relating to all forms of electronic media, whether in relation to advisory, regulatory or contractual matters. Our Digital Media & Entertainment Law services include advice connected to:

  • sound recordings, and music downloads and streaming
  • podcasting
  • mobile phone applications
  • content delivery
  • digital rights management systems
  • domain name issues and conflicts
  • related litigation or out-of-court settlements
  • e-money systems and institutions
  • e-commerce and website development issues.

Media & Entertainment Law: Our Malta Sports Law Practice

Advising and acting for entertainment and sports personalities, theatres, clubs, sporting bodies and organizations, Chetcuti Cauchi's Media & Entertainment Law team provides services related to reputation management, protection of privacy, taking up of residence, personal tax advice, dispute resolution, image rights, sponsorship rights, broadcasting issues and associated contract work. Our services include advisory services connecting to:

  • the setting up and establishment of sports associations and clubs,
  • taxation and structuring
  • contracting drafting, revision and negotiation
  • dispute resolution whether it’s through arbitration, mediation, negotiation or court proceedings
  • sports agents, managers and agency agreements and negotiations.

Our Malta Film Industry Team

As part of our Film Industry team, our media and entertainment law team advises clients in this area on all the following aspects:

  • film and television finance (including equity finance and bank lending)
  • contracts, including negotiation, start-up, underlying material rights, exploitation of rights
  • employment agreements and work permits
  • tax, financial and other incentives
  • location procurement and arrangements, including permits, licensing and authorisations issues
  • corporate law and the setting up and restructuring of film and television production companies, including administration and back office services
  • international co-production issues, including negotiation, drafting and finalisation of any arrangements, qualification issues and liaison with local authorities
  • property purchases, leasing or temporary accommodation issues
  • tax advice and fiscal incentives
  • insurances procurement
  • intellectual property protection
  • dispute resolution, including court litigation, mediation or arbitration.

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