Attorneys for Action against Misrepresentation in the Press and the Media
ZELLER & SEYFERT is a German law firm with specialized litigators in the area of media law & press law. Our attorneys have represented press publishers and media companies of all kinds in court litigation in Germany. In our law firm Attorney Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. (USA) will take care of handling your press law case. Christian is a Certified Copyright & Media Law Specialist as well as a Certified IP Law Specialist. He has been dealing with press law cases in Germany for many years.
Typical cases of application / areas of press law in Germany:
- Special intellectual property right of press publishers
- Safeguarding legitimate interests according to § 193 of the German Criminal Code
- Journalistic duty of care
- Confiscation ban on self-researched material of journalists
- Search of the residence and the office of an editor or other members of the press
- Protection of whistle-blowers
- Balancing of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press on the one hand and the general right of personality on the other hand
- Media reporting on the private lives of celebrities in words and pictures
- In general: Pictures and pictorial representations in press releases
- Protection of victims in press photos
- Range of personality rights protection in reports on criminals and criminal proceedings
- Media coverage of already deceased persons (collision between freedom of the press and the post-mortem personal right of the deceased’s relatives)
- Press Code of the German Press Council
- Complaints about editorial publications in newspapers, magazines and publishing-related internet media
- Requests of the press to get information from public broadcasters
- Liability of the responsible editor
- Right of reply, revocation, rectification, damages, and other forms of monetary compensation
- Privileges of the press
- Media privileges of the press in legal data protection matters
- Employment law issues in media companies
- Electronic media / Internet newspapers / publisher based internet media
Legal Representation before German Civil Courts
ZELLER & SEYFERT is specialized in representing press and media companies before German civil courts. In press law cases, the German courts typically have to strike a balance between two constitutional rights in order to reach an accurate decision: freedom of the press on the one hand and the general right of personality of the allegedly infringed person on the other hand. Detailed knowledge of German press law and the corresponding decisions of the German civil courts is imperative for a successful outcome of the case. Our attorneys will provide your press / media company with comprehensive advice on the current press law situation in Germany as well as on the chances of success in your particular press law case.
Legal Representation before German Criminal Courts
If a criminal complaint for libel, slander or other criminal violations of the general right of personality have been put forward against you as an individual member of the press / media, ZELLER & SEYFERT will defend you competently before all German criminal courts. Our attorneys will also assume your criminal defense, if criminal charges for the alleged unauthorized production, transmission, dissemination or public exhibition of pictures / photographs have been brought forward against you. Our attorneys will act swiftly on your behalf in order to improve the legal situation for your benefit.
Legal Representation before German Administrative Courts
In order to enforce certain core rights of the free press / media, a complaint with the responsible administrative court in Germany may be necessary. If the authorities interfere with or impede the press work of your press / media company significantly, e.g. by denying you access to certain files held by the government or the authorities, a verdict by the competent German administrative court may remove all imposed obstacles. Our attorneys usually first try to solve the dispute with the authorities amicably on behalf of your press / media company. If such settlement is not possible with the authorities, our attorneys will guide your press / media company through the proper court proceedings from the beginning until its successful completion.
Legal Representation before the Federal German Constitutional Court
Freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the general right of personality are all constitutional rights which are enshrined in the German Constitution (German Basic Law). When these fundamental rights collide, the Federal German Constitutional Court may decide on the individual case in the last instance in Germany. Our attorneys are familiar with the case law of the Federal German Constitutional Court, in particular when it comes to press law disputes. Our attorneys will represent your interests competently and comprehensively before the Federal German Constitutional Court. They will review your press law case in detail. Please contact them to discuss whether a plea to the Federal German Constitutional Court has a realistic chance of success in your case.
Legal Representation before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg
Another chance to enforce your freedom of the press rights provides you an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. Both “Caroline” decisions of the ECHR from 2004 (judgment of 24 June 2004, No. 59320/00) and 2012 (judgments of 07 February 2012, No. 40660/08 and No. 60641/08), have fundamentally shaken up the case law in Germany concerning the proper balance between freedom of the press and the general right of personality protection, particularly on issues of photojournalism. Our attorneys know the case law of the ECHR well. Our attorneys will outline to your company the course of the proceedings before the ECHR. They will also discuss with you the chances of success in your individual case.
Legal Representation in Summary Proceedings (Speedy Trials)
In press law cases of particular urgency our attorneys will speedily enforce the freedom of the press rights of your press / media company in a summary proceeding (speedy trial) before the competent German court. Our attorneys are familiar with the peculiarities of summary proceedings before German courts, particularly on press law issues. Please just contact us. Our attorneys are easy to talk to. They welcome your e-mails and phone calls.
Legal Representation Out of Court
In many press law cases, court litigation can be avoided by finding an amicable solution with the opposite side out of court. Also, the opposite side may often just lose interest in starting a costly court battle against your press / media company, after our attorneys have presented them with an out-of-court letter which sets forth a strong case for the benefit of your company.