Copyright Reports: Use Them to Minimize the Potential of an E&O Claim
Prior to providing a Producers E&O quote, the film insurance company will recommend that you obtain a copyright report. At Front Row, we recommend that a copyright report be obtained on any book, play, etc. that the producer is buying rights to, or for any script that was not written as a work for hire by the production company’s own employees.
The copyright report is important because they make you aware of any conflicting assignments that hinder or destroy the right to use the underlying work. It is not common for someone to try to defraud you, but many owners of the underlying work do not fully understand previous option agreements or other contracts, or co-owners of the rights may already have assigned the film or TV rights to someone else.
A recent claim involved a producer of a movie sued for copyright infringement. Plaintiff alleged that her unpublished novel was the basis for the movie. The Producers Errors and Omissions policy will provide a lawyer and pay the legal fees to defend the producer that purchased an E&O Policy for Producers.
Once the assignment of the film/TV rights to the underlying work is obtained, the producer should register that assignment with the copyright office. This registration will prevent someone who obtains conflicting rights from establishing a priority of rights by beating the producer to the registration procedure.
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Front Row is an independent film insurance broker that works on behalf of filmmakers to transfer the risks of filming to insurance companies for the lowest possible cost. Front Row has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles.