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Media Liability Insurance for Film and Video Producers

Posted by Steve Vondran | Oct 21, 2023

Vondran Legal® - Copyright Fair Use and the E&O Policy.  Contact a California Entertainment Law Firm at (877) 276-5084.

copyright fair use insurance


As a video producer or independent filmmaker, you know the importance of protecting your creative work and investments. Obtaining E&O media liability insurance is crucial to safeguarding your assets against potential legal issues. First and foremost, having this type of insurance is often a requirement for securing a distribution agreement with major networks and studios. Additionally, E&O insurance can provide coverage for claims of fair use, copyright infringement, right of publicity, and invasion of privacy. These are all serious legal matters that can arise in the process of creating and distributing media content. With E&O media liability insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you're covered in the event of any legal disputes.

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Insurance Timeline

Producers will want to engage a copyright, fair use, and clearance attorney as early as possible in the process.  A general timeline for production may look something like this:

  1. Idea for film
  2. Start with general source gathering (newspapers, photos, video clips, etc.)
  3. Put together a clip log that shows the source of each clip and why it would be considered "fair use" or legal to use (ex. public domain, you have permission, or you have a license)
  4. Engage entertainment legal counsel to review the project
  5. Finalize the clips to be used, and any edits (for fair use purposes) you may need for each clip
  6. Gather up all other documents used to create the project (releases, agreements, licenses, etc.)
  7. Arrange for a distributor and find out if they have special insurance requirements
  8. Apply for E&O media liability insurance (takes 1-4 weeks, depending upon underwriting requirements)
  9. Obtain the proper coverage depending upon your needs (premiums, deductibles, coverage desired)
  10. Engage in announcements and advertising for the project
  11. Engage in full-scale distribution
  12. Supplemental information to your insurance company if required (for example, someone claims the movie is "their idea")
  13. Work with the insurance company and entertainment counsel as needed to resolve disputes.

This can vary depending on the scope of your project.

Media Liability Insurance Companies

One question I often get as fair use copyright counsel is, "what companies provide the insurance I need?"  Here are a few companies you can look into to compare product offerings.

1. Hiscox

2. Chubb

3. Kelly Insurance Group

4. Film Emporium

According to Hiscox website, here is what a typical policy may cover:

  • Occurrence form 
  • Open perils form 
  • Intellectual property infringement 
  • Unfair competition 
  • Plagiarism 
  • Breach of confidentiality 
  • Life rights issues
  • Invasion of privacy 
  • Breach of the scope of a license 
  • Content in any form, including, but not limited to, podcast, blogs, or mobile phone messages 
  • Acquisitions can be automatically covered 
  • Final adjudication fraud or dishonesty coverage

Coverage can vary, so make sure you discuss all your needs with fair use counsel and your insurance broker.

The importance of having experienced copyright and fair use counsel

As a filmmaker, it's important to have an entertainment lawyer on your team as early as possible in the production process. With a distribution agreement at the forefront of your mind, an experienced lawyer can provide guidance and legal assistance in securing the necessary rights to distribute your work. Additionally, an attorney can help navigate murky waters surrounding fair use, copyright infringement, right of publicity, and invasion of privacy, ensuring that your film doesn't fall victim to legal troubles down the line. By having a lawyer on your team from the beginning, you can focus on creating the art you're passionate about, knowing that legal issues will be handled expertly and efficiently.

Contact a California Entertainment Law Firm

Vondran Legal® can help with a wide variety of entertainment law issues, including but not limited to fair use opinions, distribution agreements, model and location releases, parody/satire analysis, copyright clearance, public domain legal issues, creative commons, copyright licensing, life rights, idea submission agreements, arbitration, mediation, and litigation of entertainment law issues including copyright, trademarks, and CA right of publicity.  Call us at (877) 276-5084 or email us through our contact form.

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337

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