Photo of Sebastian Schwiddessen

Sebastian Schwiddessen LL.M.

Associate
Baker McKenzie Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH von Rechtsanwälten und Steuerberatern

Biography

Sebastian Schwiddessen is a senior associate and a member of Baker McKenzie's TMT Practice in Berlin. Sebastian has been working in the entertainment and video games industry for over 20 years. At the age of 21 he founded his own media news related business and web portal where he oversaw up to 50 content creators and was responsible for content creation, data protection, advertisement and regulatory matters. After joining Baker McKenzie in 2014, he sold his business to fully focus on his career as a legal advisor in the media and IT sector. Sebastian studied law in Berlin and Australia, where he specialized in platform, media and IT matters. During his time as a law clerk he worked for two international law firms, one of them specialized in entertainment law.

Due to his experience in the fields, Sebastian is responsible for most media and platform related matters in Germany and regularly coordinates global projects for clients. He is one of Baker McKenzie's EMEA key contacts for interactive entertainment clients and is also part of the firm's global working group for interactive entertainment. Sebastian maintains good contacts to a number of regulators in Germany, where he has been invited several times to speak as legal expert on regulatory and other matters. Sebastian is Baker McKenzie’s designated contact for the GAME association in Germany and regularly visits video game industry events such as the Gamescom, VGBA Law Summit and the Games Industry Law Summit.

Practice Focus

Sebastian’s clients range from various platform providers over market leading video gaming, film, video on demand and entertainment companies to indie publishers. Sebastian is well-known as an advisor in the video games and entertainment sector. He also regularly advises a wide range of leading social media companies and video-sharing platforms on regulatory and copyright related matters.

Sebastian's practice focuses on all matters of platform, media and IT law such as platform liability matters, the EU Copyright Directive, media related youth protection and criminal laws, advertisement regulation, hate speech laws, data protection law, copyright law, gambling laws, eCommerce, app commerce, contract law, film taxes, etc.

Sebastian also regularly advises on the media and IT aspects of M&A activities and was involved in several entertainment industry related M&A transactions.

Representative Legal Matters

Platforms and Social Media

  • Advised several leading social media and video-sharing platforms on the implementation of the German hate speech law (NetzDG), including advice on notice and takedown procedure and regulator trainings for notice and takedown teams.
  • Advised several leading social media companies and other platforms on the implementation of the German law that implements Art. 17 Copyright Directive, including comprehensive advice on upload filter requirements, rights acquisition and German collection societies.
  • Advised a leading video-sharing platform on different notice and takedown requests from German media regulators.
  • Advised a leading social media platform on the requirements of the German law that implements the neighboring right for press publishers (Art. 15 Copyright Directive), including comprehensive advice on negotiations with German collection societies.

Video Games and eSports

  • Represented several leading game companies in over 30 age are-rating appeal procedures, among many others, Valve in two successful criminal court proceedings to lift the German ban of the game Left 4 Dead 2, followed by administrative proceedings before German regulators and the German age-rating body USK to fully rehabilitate the Game in Germany, Gearbox in the successful appeal procedure to overturn the Australian classification refusal decision of the game We Happy Few and a leading video games company in appeal procedures against different PEGI age-rating classification decisions, including comprehensive advice on PEGI advertisement rules.
  • Advised a Chinese mobile game developer on the localization of terms of service, privacy notices and GDPR cookie compliance in preparation of the launch of two mobile games in the EU and representation in civil court proceedings on the EU right of withdrawal, including comprehensive advice on compliance with EU consumer rights.
  • Advised a leading video game and eSports company on advertisement regulations for alcohol in 27 different jurisdictions and advertisement restrictions for crypto currency exchanges in 26 jurisdictions.
  • Advised several leading video game companies on loot box regulations in different jurisdictions, including advice on loot box investigations in Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Film, Entertainment and Video on Demand

  • Represented Sony in over 10 criminal court proceedings to lift the German ban of the well-known Sam Raimi movie Evil Dead, followed by administrative proceedings before German regulators and the German age-rating body FSK to fully unban and rehabilitate the movie in Germany.
  • Advised several leading video on demand platforms on the implementation of German youth protection laws, including comprehensive advice on the EU country of origin principle.
  • Represented Apple/iTunes in landmark proceedings against the German film tax on foreign video on demand providers before the European General Court.
  • Advised a leading film studio on the global chain of title research for a well-known classic horror movie.

Media M&A

  • Advised Devolver Digital on the acquisition of Croteam.
  • Advised Embracer Group on the acquisition of several game developing studios and publishers (incl. Asmodée Group, Deca Live Operations GmbH and Easybrain).
  • Advised Tencent regarding its strategic investment in German game developing studio YAGER Development GmbH.
  • Advised a leading Chinese game company on post-transactional GDPR compliance and integration.

Professional Honors

  • Rising star in media: entertainment, Legal 500 Europe 2021/22
  • Head of the Month, JUVE 10/2016

Admissions

  • Germany (2014)

Education

  • Bond University (Master of Law with specialization in IP, IT, eCommerce) (2014)
  • High Regional Court of Berlin (Second State Exam) (2012)
  • Free University of Berlin (First State Exam) (2010)

Languages

  • English
  • German

Previous Offices

Munich

Interviews

Interview, The Pod (www.gamespodcast.de): Simuliertes Glücksspiel und Jugendschutz

Interview, The Pod (www.gamespodcast.de): Verfassungswidrig – Eine Reportage über den Umgang mit Hakenkreuzen in Computerspielen

Publications

Author, "Loot Boxes in Japan: Legal Analysis and Kompu Gacha Explained", 3 August 2018

Author, "French gambling regulator releases its position on Loot Boxes", LinkedIn, 30 June 2018

Presentations

Legal Expert (Sachverständiger), "Durchwirkungsregelung des neuen JMStV – Anmerkungen aus praktischer Sicht, rechtsmissbräuchliche Anträge und Zensurverbot", Gremien-Sitzung der Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) zur Etablierung des Durchwirkungsverfahrens, Mai 2016