Entertainment Law

What you need to know about E&O

No matter how experienced a producer, or how carefully the development of a television series, documentary, or feature film is monitored, there are certain inherent legal risks that come with the distribution of creative content. Whether it’s an individual claiming defamation, a director asserting copyright infringement, or a frivolous declaration of idea theft, unexpected legal claims often arise after distribution. Because of the tremendous financial impact producers and companies could face to address and defend such claims, they often wonder, “how can I protect myself and my work”?

What’s E&O?

Errors and Omissions Insurance (or, “E&O Insurance”) is a type of insurance that protects against various intellectual property, personal property and personal rights claims that could be made against a production. It typically covers claims relating to the content, including:

(i) copyright and trademark infringement,

(ii) idea theft,

(iii) defamation,

(iv) invasion of privacy,

(v) plagiarism or unfair competition, and

(vi) breach of contract.

E&O Insurance can be a valuable resource used to insulate companies and individuals from these claims and the costs to defend them. In fact, many distributors actually require E&O Insurance before entering into a distribution deal.

How do I get it?

As with most other types of insurance, obtaining E&O generally starts with an application. The application process usually requires submission of information regarding the production and its owner(s).

Insurers generally require that those applying for coverage show Chain of Title. Meaning, a “chain” of documentation that establishes ownership: a complete history of all necessary permissions, grants, agreements, assignments and transfers that shows ownership and the corresponding authority to exhibit, distribute and license the production. The insurance carrier may require submission of:

property acquisition agreements;
relevant releases and licenses;
source material;
information related to property and products used;
work-for-hire agreements;
third party material used (such as music, film clips, and trademarks); and
proof of legal clearance.