Legal Expense Insurance

Posted by Grant Patten on Jan 13, 2020 8:26:34 AM

Legal Expense Insurance

Legal Expense Insurance

With legal expense insurance, your legal risks are well managed.

We know you’re busy. You’re running your business and working hard at it. But whenever you have an unforeseen legal issue, we know it means more time and work for you – and it takes you away from doing what you love.

Front Row Insurance and DAS have partnered to save you time and effort by offering the option of legal expense insurance (LEI) as a part of your Front Row policy.

How would LEI help you and your business?

A legal expense insurance policy:

  • provides you with financial coverage for a variety of potential legal events,
  • empowers you to pursue or defend your legal rights, and
  • provides you with unlimited access to a general Legal Helpline

Legal expense insurance saves you time and money by helping to:

Defend or pursue your legal rights, such as:

  • Employment Disputes: If you face legal action from an employee or ex-employee
  • Legal Defence: If your business faces criminal charges, a police investigation or an occupational health and safety investigation
  • Contract Disputes and Debt Recovery: If you face a dispute with a client or supplier in regards to a breach of contract or failure to pay an amount owed
  • Statutory Licence Protection: If your business faces a suspension, alteration or cancellation of its business licence
  • Property Protection: If there is trespass or legal nuisance to your business property
  • Bodily Injury: If you or one of your employees is injured on the job as a result of someone else’s negligence
  • Tax Protection: If you face an audit or wish to appeal a decision from the CRA

With policy limits of $100,000 per claim and $500,000 in total per policy year, DAS provides you the financial security to continue your legal action over time and against well-funded foes.

You also receive unlimited access to the DAS Legal Helpline

You will not need to search the internet or pay out of pocket for answers and assistance to your legal questions or issues. Legal information is provided, even if the issue or question is not covered by the policy. We make it easy for you as our Helpline lawyers are available:

  • 8:00 a.m. to midnight local time
  • 24/7 in an emergency situation

To learn more, please contact us.

Related Posts:


About: DAS Legal Protection Inc. is the Canadian market leader and managing general agent specializing exclusively in Legal Expense Insurance. Working with brokers and corporate partners, we create access to justice solutions so Canadian individuals, families, and business owners can exercise their rights, preserve their budget, and be confident when facing an unforeseen legal event. DAS Legal Expense Insurance policies are underwritten by Temple Insurance Company, and both companies are members of Munich Re (Group). To learn more, please visit www.das.ca.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Workers Compensation, workplace insurance, legal expense

Why are certain questions asked on an E&O application?

Posted by Steve Fraser on Jan 8, 2020 10:50:01 AM

Why are certain questions asked on an E&O application?

what are lawyers looking for in the responses?

E&O INSURANCE FILM | ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE FILM:


Steve Fraser (Lawyer)
: Certain questions are asked on an E&O insurance application to help the insurance company or their counsel to gauge whether the production may be riskier than others. On the one hand, it’s a risk assessment but on the other hand, it’s also a way to check to make sure that the way that they’ve answered the question reflects that they’re aware of what the clearance procedures are and that they will follow them.

Sometimes, the entertainment lawyer who is clearance counsel for the production also signs the application or there’s a place where that lawyer has to acknowledge that they’ve seen the application. But, no surprise, it’s just a way to figure out who might think that they don’t need to comply with some of the clearance questions.

So, one of the E&O application questions is: “Is there a possibility that a living person could claim (without regard to the merits of such claim) to be identifiable in the Insured Production, whether or not that person’s name or likeness is used in it or whether or not the Insured purports it to be fictional? If “yes” has a release been obtained from such person?”

Well, if there is a possibility of something like that, we want to know about it upfront but also, that question tends to segue into: “are you getting releases? Is production doing what it needs to do to make sure that the folks who are appearing on screen (usually documentary, but also for dramas where you need performer agreements) are following what production says they will follow?"

Related:

About: Stephen "Steve" Fraser is an international entertainment business and legal affairs lawyer in the film and television industries with co-production, financing and distribution experience.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Assurance E&O, Film Production Companies, title clearance

How can a film producer protect themselves from an E&O claim?

Posted by Steve Fraser on Jan 6, 2020 8:53:11 AM

How can a film producer protect themselves from an E&O claim?

FOLLOW THE E&O CLEARANCE PROCEDURES

E&O INSURANCE FILM | ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE FILM:


Steve Fraser (Lawyer)
: A film producer can protect himself, herself or itself (because most producers incorporate) by following the clearance procedures that are included with your E&O application and/or E&O policy.

So, get yourself an entertainment lawyer, take a look at those clearance procedures, make sure you’re following them and you will avoid claims forever. The other thing you should do is get friendly with your insurance broker – they’re very helpful.

Related:

About: Stephen "Steve" Fraser is an international entertainment business and legal affairs lawyer in the film and television industries with co-production, financing and distribution experience.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Assurance E&O, title clearance

Film Production Insurance for Renovation Shows

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 9, 2019 3:09:19 PM

reno shows film insurance

film production insurance for renovation shows

Arranging film production insurance for your renovation (reno) show should be done with the help of a specialized entertainment insurance broker.

The following information is to be used as a general reference only and does not alter the insurance policy wording for your specific production. In all cases, actual coverage is subject to the policy language, terms and conditions of the long form policies to be issued by the insurance company. Additionally, the following is not intended to be legal advice but rather are general recommendations intended to reduce your exposure to an insurance claim. When entering contracts with anyone you should consult a lawyer to draft appropriate language for your specific circumstances and to ensure that you are adequately protected.

With renovation shows we suggest that you consider the following guidelines:
  • Hire a general contractor to oversee major changes and the general contractor should be responsible for hiring subcontractors.
  • Insist that the general contractor and subcontractors provide you with proof of liability insurance for their operations in the form of an insurance certificate issued by their insurance  company.
  • The insurance certificate should evidence coverage for Products and Completed Operations, should contain a cross liability and sever ability of interest clause and name the production company as an additional insured.
  • Homeowners should review and sign a release containing a hold harmless and waiver of subrogation clause against the production company.
  • Where possible homeowners should be included in the renovation decision making process for each change made.
  • Your contract with the general contractor should contain a hold harmless provision protecting prod co from any claims arising from work completed by the contractor.  You should also consider an indemnity provision requiring the contractor to pay you back for any expenses, claims or suits brought against you resulting from their negligence or faulty workmanship.
  • Have you made arrangements with the contractors to come back and fix problems with the homes?  Does the contractor provide a warranty on work performed?  The contract should be between the homeowner and general contractor (not the production company).

Ultimately the homeowner could sue the production company and the contractor if they feel work was poorly done but adopting some of the guidelines above, having contractors who are properly insured and including the homeowner in decisions being made would greatly reduce your exposure to loss.

Decorating shows that involve changing room colours and adding new furniture etc. are less risky than more major renovations but when you are working on any third party properties there is a greater risk of something going wrong. Use a specialized film insurance broker to ensure you are properly covered.

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker

What’s a “MacGuffin?”

Posted by Casey Budden on Dec 10, 2018 12:48:17 PM

Lady eating popcorn, watching movie.

Sometimes derisively referred to as a “plot coupon,” a MacGuffin is a device in scriptwriting, a “thing” which the protagonist pursues, often loosely defined, which serves as their primary motivation and goal in the film. Alfred Hitchcock is often credited with coining the term; in a 1939 lecture at Columbia University in New York, he attempted to define it:

“It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men on a train. One man says, 'What's that package up there in the baggage rack?' And the other answers, 'Oh, that's a MacGuffin'. The first one asks, 'What's a MacGuffin?' 'Well,' the other man says, 'it's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.' The first man says, 'But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,' and the other one answers, 'Well then, that's no MacGuffin!' So you see that a MacGuffin is actually nothing at all.”

In the film Ronin, for example, the MacGuffin was a metal briefcase whose contents were never revealed, but which all the characters in the film were desperate to obtain. The audience does not know, and does not need to know, what is inside the briefcase; the MacGuffin is charged with such importance that its significance does not need to be explained to serve its narrative purpose.

Examples of famous “Macguffins”:

  • The Maltese Falcon (The Maltese Falcon, 1941)
  • The Holy Grail (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)
  • “ROSEBUD” (Citizen Kane, 1941)
  • Marcellus Wallace’s case (Pulp Fiction, 1994)
  • The One Ring (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, 2001-2003)
  • The Necronomicon (Army of Darkness, 1992)
  • The Ark (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)

Topics: Entertainment Insurance

Filmmakers and Producers Insurance

Posted by David McLeish on Nov 5, 2018 12:18:55 PM

film producers insurance

film producers insurance

Let’s Make Art Together.

You’re a prolific filmmaker with a full production slate. Like most creative people, you‘d rather focus on your work. The problem is that since each project requires its own insurance policy, it often feels like the more you work, the more time you have to spend dealing with insurance!

Worse, while you’ve always received good service from your broker, they don’t quite “get” what it is you do. It’s a hassle getting certificates for your vendors and cast and crew. Too many irrelevant questions are asked by the underwriter. When something unusual comes up like a drone shoot or stunts, there are delays. There has to be a better way.

Luckily, there is. Unlike most insurance professionals in Canada, we specialize in the business of entertainment insurance. It’s not just what we do, and what we’re good at; it’s what we’re passionate about.

Front Row Insurance Brokers is the largest entertainment insurance brokerage by premium volume in Canada, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York.

In 2017, we insured over $4 billion of productions worldwide and wrote more than $45 million in film premium. The 38 dedicated film insurance staff in our Canadian offices are experts in TV and film production, so you know you’ll be dealing with someone who understands what you do. Even better, we have staff licensed in every province.

Filming in sunny Saskatchewan? No problem, we’ll get you covered. Perhaps most importantly, as part of our commitment to exceptional service, we will work hard to ensure that the money owed to you is paid if you ever need to make a claim under your policy.

Moreover, our excellent working relationship with the five major companies writing entertainment insurance in Canada ensures that you get more than just the best rates. It also affords us the opportunity to design studio programs which offer coverage tailored to the unique needs of your production slate. A studio program is a custom policy designed by the broker working in concert with the insurer. The advantage to you is that it’s designed around your specific production slate. You won’t have to pay for coverage you don’t require, and your policy will be customized for you by experts in entertainment insurance who understand your needs. Some examples of the benefits available under a studio program include:

  • No cast medicals required for film budgets under $15,000,000, rendering it unnecessary to schedule and attend tedious doctor exams, and saving you the $130 exam fee.
  • Automatic coverage for test shoots, promo shoots, pilots for budgets up to $50,000: no need to call us.
  • Quotations provided immediately for any new project. Rates locked for 12 months. Coverage can be activated and certificates issued on the same day for office rentals, payroll, etc.
  • Insurance wherever you film

Let us leverage your production slate, combined with our premium volume, for your advantage. We pride ourselves on being the simplest line item on your budget—fast, without the drama.

We can also offer you a Low-Claims Bonus: ask us how.

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Assurance E&O, Cast Insurance, helicopter film insurance, Storm damage film production insurance, Flood insurance for Film, Chubb Film insurance, Film permission, Film Production Vehicle Insurance, automobile insurance for films, production liability insurance for films, Public Liability Insurance for Film, Extra Expense Coverage, Film equipment rental insurance, Workers Compensation, insurance for film set, film school insurance

Filmmakers and Insurance: What Moves You

Posted by Casey Budden on Nov 5, 2018 11:59:13 AM

Movie fans in theatre.


What Moves You?

More than 100 years after their invention, “moving pictures” still seem to command our collective imagination. We often have very personal emotional attachments to movies: we say that certain films inspired us, moved us, shaped our childhood, shocked us, or opened our minds.

What is unique about the medium of film? What explains this continuing fascination despite all the other technological delectations our age offers up? Is it because film promises us a total escape from the everyday? Provides deep insight into the human condition? Or is it simply good entertainment?

Probably, it’s all of the above. 2017’s total box office results were the highest in history, with over $39 billion in takings worldwide despite the fact that public attention is more divided than ever, with video games, streaming services, and downloads all vying for a slice of their entertainment dollars. Clearly, movies aren’t going anywhere.

What is changing is the way content is delivered. Creators are both rapidly influencing, and being influenced by, new technologies. This is not anything new: the history of film is one of periodic disruption followed by renewal in response to the changing tastes of audiences.

Early “talkies,” which began to appear in the mid-to-late 1920s, were often compared uncharitably to earlier, silent films. Critics often felt that the spoken dialogue made for tawdry, artistically inferior pictures. Audiences loved them, however, and by the early 1930s, the majority of films were being produced with sound.

Starting around the same time and lasting until the late 1940s was the Hollywood “studio system”—a system of production characterized by complete vertical integration of the production process. The studio system totally dominated filmmaking during this period. Studios “owned” talent, cast was repertory, and filming was done mainly on elaborate sets or backlots rather than on location. Props and sets were also frequently recycled through various productions. Many venues were owned by studios, who could thus control when, where, and for how long a film screened. Theatres that were not studio-owned were subject to a practice called “block booking” in which they were required to take on and screen entire slates of lesser-quality films from a studio in order to obtain screening rights to a single anticipated hit. (This is where the term “B movie” comes from).

As might be expected, this arrangement provided steady and reliable revenue for the studios. The big stars of the time were household names. Studios were nicknamed “Dream Factories” due to their ability to quickly churn out genre favorites—westerns, musicals, romances. Fantasy and spectacle were favored over realism, and audiences gobbled them up. But new technology was already sowing the seeds of change: the rapidly growing popularity of television, as well as a landmark antitrust case in 1948 which forbade studios from owning movie theatres and curtailed the practice of block booking, placed the film business on shaky ground by mid-century. The severe slump which ensued was not truly reversed until 1972, the year The Godfather was released.

The collapse of the studio system was both good and bad. As major studios were no longer guaranteed a theatrical release for their films, they became more risk-averse, tending to focus on properties they knew would make money. On the other hand, the proliferation of smaller studios and the uncoupling of distribution from production allowed many up-and-coming directors to make their mark. The 1970s ushered in the emergence of a raft of American auteur directors—Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, and Stanley Kubrick among them. These directors were influenced by European art-house cinema of the 50s and 60s and approached filmmaking with a markedly different aesthetic. Their films featured greater realism and frequently controversial subject matter. Like their European contemporaries from decades past, more scenes were shot on location. Dialogue was less frequently dubbed. Increased emphasis was placed on characterization and dialogue.

Simultaneously, and progressing in a completely opposite artistic direction, another trend was taking shape: the “Hollywood blockbuster.” Designed to maximize ticket sales for large studios, these films featured larger-than-life spectacle and action, supported by cutting-edge technology and special effects. Star Wars (1977) represents the most obvious example of this phenomenon. Audiences flocked to the cinema for the first time in decades to be part of an experience they could not replicate with equipment available at home. The modern action-adventure spectacle was born (and continues, in the guise of the ubiquitous superhero movie).

The 1980s accelerated these changes in filmmaking. Major studios could no longer afford to back a loser, so often doubled down on grand special-effects laden productions that audiences would be guaranteed to love, or else reliable franchises such as Rocky, Rambo, Indiana Jones, Friday the 13th,, A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. The advent of home video technologies such as VHS and Betamax meant that a significant proportion of a film’s income now came not from box office, but home video revenues. This further opened up the playing field, as it was now economically viable for a small independent producer to market their film “direct-to-video” and make a profit.

Cut to the present day where, in addition to the multiplex, you can now watch a film on your phone, tablet, smart TV, portable music player, or game console. Streaming services are the latest disruptive innovation and have changed the way episodic TV content, for example, is presented (no more “previously on…” and no more commercials). It’s arguably never been easier for a creator to get their work out there.

Audiences flocked to the “dream factories” of the Golden Age of Cinema because there’s no magic like film magic. This hasn’t changed, and we don’t think it ever will. Film is the only medium that has the ability to inspire both our intellects and our hearts while completely engaging our senses.

At Front Row Insurance, we are “Passionate about the arts…better at insurance.” We love creatives and the creative work that they do. That’s what moves us. What moves you? Whatever it is, we probably have a policy that will suit you. Contact us.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Assurance E&O, Public Liability Insurance for Film, Film Location Insurance, Extra Expense Coverage, insurance for film set, Educational Film Insurance, film school insurance, pre production insurance for filmmakers

The Annual Film Production Insurance Package Made Easy

Posted by David Hamilton on Sep 13, 2017 4:46:15 PM

The Annual DICE Insurance Policy takes the hassle out of purchasing film insurance for your film productions. It is flexible, affordable, and customizable designed to fit your individual needs. 

This policy will not only save you time, it will also save you money. Insuring all your productions under one policy helps to cut the costs, as it will reduce the administrative expenses associated with insuring each production individually, and these savings are passed onto you.

The Annual DICE Policy is specially designed to provide:  insurance for commercials, documentary insurance, coporate video insurance,educational film insurance, music video insurance, training video insurance, short film insurance, and still photography insurance.

Check out our Infographic below for coupon savings and more.

DICE Infographic Hyperlink.jpg

Interested in seeing more? Visit the Front Row Insurance Website for a free no obligation quote!

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Commercial Production Insurance, Documentary Insurance, DICE Insurance, corporate video insurance, music video insurance, Educational Film Insurance

Blurring the Lines of Music Infringement Law - 3 Perspectives in One

Posted by Jeff Young on Jun 17, 2015 12:59:23 PM

Marvin Gaye vs. Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams (Blurred Lines)

Marvin Gaye

For many years of my life, I have had the pleasure of enjoying three simultaneous careers. I am a senior member of the Bar of British Columbia, Canada focusing on entertainment law, I am a member of the State Bar of California, USA, regularly dealing with my colleagues in Hollywood, and I am a music producer and composer with a current co-write on the radio and a cue on a currently airing TV show. Very rarely does a legal case affect me in all three of my careers at once. The recent music infringement lawsuit between the Marvin Gaye estate vs Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the songs Got to Give It Up (by Gaye) and Blurred Lines (by Thicke/Williams) does exactly this. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to present my commentary from all three of these perspectives, separately.

From the American lawyer’s perspective

The general understanding among attorneys practicing music law in America is that a composition infringes on another when there are substantial similarities between the melodies of one song versus that of another. The precedent setting cases have all generally ruled that similarities in chord progressions and general rhythmic feel – or as some would call it, the “groove” – does not constitute infringement. You need to have melodies that sound alike. In fact, mere similarities in the groove of a song is usually considered a genre. There is no copyright in a genre and there is no copyright in a chord progression.

In comparing Blurred Lines and Got to Give It Up, there is clear evidence that Thicke and Williams meticulously copied the groove of Got to Give It Up. There are also some similarities in the bass line of the two songs, but those similarities do not seem substantial. On a pure legal analysis, it would not seem like this was a case of infringement. However, the case went to a jury, who may have been influenced by the apparent bad attitude and demeanor of Robin Thicke in court. Also, no one in the public has seen the musicologist reports that stated that there was in fact compositional infringement, not just a copying of a feel, groove or genre. Furthermore, jury decisions only decide individual cases based on fact. No reasons are delivered and technically, no legal precedent is set. The message to any disgruntled music creator is that regardless of the existing law and established precedents, if you take an infringement case to a jury, you may still win if you can convince them there was some form of copying, regardless of what aspects were copied and what the legal precedents say to the contrary.

What does the American music lawyer typically say when asked by a client who wants advice on what they can do before going into the recording studio? Prior to this decision, the advice given would be that the client can copy a feel, groove or genre, but you cannot copy melody lines, hooks (or lyrics, if any). Following this advice, the client is told that they will likely going to avoid a lawsuit because prior cases have held that it is reasonable to assume that we are all influenced by the feel, groove and genre of the music that we listen to and like, and that alone does not amount to an infringement. Now, while the American attorney can still technically say that the law really hasn’t changed, he or she will now have to further advise the client that any disgruntled music creator can still file a lawsuit, choose a jury trial, and convince the jury that there is infringement anyways – particularly if that client isn’t liked by the jury.

I have always believed that certain issues such as music copyright infringement should not be submitted to juries because juries lack the legal training necessary to make the correct legal decision. There is a tendency to ignore established law and go with what seems intuitively right based only on the facts, and decide accordingly, sometimes even when the judge’s instructions are otherwise. That leads to bad law. Juries in America are not obliged to give reasons, so we will never be able to tell if they understood what the law really was to begin with. This kind of uncertainty is scary. Really scary.

From the Canadian lawyer’s perspective

Canadian music lawyers will likely never face a case like this one. Music infringement cases are not decided by juries in Canada. They will be decided by judges who must provide legal reasons that at least can be appealed if the reasons appear incorrect. Also, an American trial jury decision with no reasons provided has no legal weight as precedent in Canada. So as a Canadian music lawyer, if a client asks me how to avoid infringement, I would still advise that you can copy a feel, groove or genre, but avoid copying melody lines (and lyrics, if applicable) and you are likely going to avoid a lawsuit because we are all influenced by the feel, groove and genre of the music we listen to and like the most. However, most clients that come to me in Canada don’t just want a Canadian hit. Their dream is to have a hit in America on American radio. Therefore, it would not make sense for Canadian lawyers to completely ignore the Blurred Lines decision. In other words, while this decision has no formal effect on Canadian law, it will likely have some effect on Canadian music creators, especially those whose creative works cross the border, and it would be unwise for a Canadian entertainment lawyer to not point that out.

What is the result for Canada? Well, we now have one single jury in America rendering a decision (a decision involving their own interpretation of music law that they do not have to provide reasons or account to anyone else for) likely affecting the future behavior of most of the music creators in another country for a long time to come, even though the laws of their own country does not require them to behave that way. Bizarre.

From the Producer’s and Composer’s perspective

In the film industry, scripts are reviewed, potential infringements are identified, and the resulting clearance reports get sent to entertainment lawyers to review and to render opinions as to whether changes to the scripts are needed. This is all part of the “errors and omissions” process that because of the history of lawsuits in that industry, has become common and standard, if not virtually mandatory. Basically, the lawyers have to tell the filmmakers what is allowed on the screen, or not.

This “clearance process” also happens, in a lesser degree, with books. Literary publishers often retain lawyers to engage in a “libel read” of a book to identify possible legal risks before the book is released, and sometimes, risky portions of the book are edited out.

If the results of the Blurred Lines case continue in future jury decisions in this manner, the state of legal uncertainly may become such that major labels releasing records may become so concerned that they will have to adapt a similar process for the music industry. After all, this case resulted in verdict of over $7 million!

In other words, the “clearance reports” will have to be done by qualified musicologists who will review the entire album and identify potentially infringing phrases or “hooks”, and then submit those musicology reports to entertainment lawyers who will then render opinions on what can be left in and what has to be removed.

If this sounds ridiculous, I would remind you that I’m sure this seemed as ridiculous to filmmakers and book authors of past eras, but lawsuits in those industries have now made clearances commonplace. Basically, lawyers will have to tell the music producer what is allowed on the records, or not.

I’m not sure I would ever like this – even if I’m the lawyer clearing my own work!

As a composer, I am often asked by film directors to create “sound-alikes”, especially when the film is independently made and there is no budget to license a major hit song. A “sound-alike” is a music cue that copies a feel, groove or genre, but does not copy melody lines (or lyrics, if applicable) in order to avoid a lawsuit. Now, in view of the Blurred Lines case, this approach may not work anymore. Some questions that arise for the music composer: Is it reasonable to force all of these independent films to only license the hit music track when the director is only looking for a similar feel, groove or genre? How will these multi-million dollar awards affect the future careers of upcoming composers if they are living in fear of lawsuits for everything they try to create with an established feel, groove or genre?

In Conclusion

The Blurred Lines this decision introduces significant uncertainty into music infringement laws. This uncertainty is aggravated by the fact that juries are not required to render reasons for their decisions.

It is my understanding that Thicke and Pharrell have filed an appeal of this decision. I sincerely hope that the appeal will succeed at least in part – specifically, from the point of getting clarity on the legal principles involved.

I am much more concerned about that than which side winds up with the $7M. I just want the lines of music infringement law to be less blurred!

--------------------

JEFF YOUNG
- The Lawyer's Lawyer
- Educator and formerly practiced in-house with VANOC and UBCP
- Music Producer, composer and expert snowboarder
- Called in BC (1988) and California (2010)

Jeff Young, J.D. | Barrister & Solicitor | Trademark Agent (Canada and US) jy@arenaltman.com | Direct: 604.563.1192 Member Law Society of British Columbia, Canada | Member State Bar of California, USA (inactive) ALTMAN & COMPANY | Business and Entertainment Law Suite #202 – 2245 West Broadway Ave., Vancouver BC V6K 2E4

Topics: musical instrument insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Assurance E&O, Altman & Company, Marvin Gaye Lawsuit, Music Infringement

How To Call A Wrap On Top Film Insurance Claims

Posted by Adam Grenville on Jun 12, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Film Insurance Claims Examples

Claims image

The average moviegoer only hears about film production insurance when it makes the headlines. After the tragic death of Paul Walker during the filming of Fast & Furious 7 in November 2013, the trade and popular media reported how it led to the largest movie insurance claim in history — reportedly as high as $50 million. High-profile feature films usually buy cast insurance for such rare but catastrophic claims, but all film productions face a host of other risks that don’t usually make the headlines.

Every production is unique and presents its own mix of risk factors, but common risk management issues confront all productions — from large studios with big budgets and sophisticated risk management programs to small indie filmmakers approaching production risk for the first time, from nonprofits creating educational videos to corporations investing in informational videos. The most common insurance claims in production are equipment theft, vehicle damage, damaged locations, and equipment failure in extreme climates.

Equipment Theft

Here’s a true story: A container of film equipment disappeared while being shipped from Los Angeles to Louisiana. Although no one was aware of what happened to it, the missing container illustrates one of the top film production risks. Equipment is often one of the most valuable assets involved in filmmaking. From cameras to film stock, hard drives, and microphones, production equipment is also quite portable. The risk is complicated by the fact that film sets can be mobile, too, and located in foreign or multiple locations. Workforces made up of contract employees power these productions, adding more risk to this script.

Establishing security on the set is one potential solution for equipment theft. Visible security is especially important in public and international locations, where producers might not be familiar with the locale or confident in the local police. A common security measure is to close and lock doors. Another step to protect equipment is to return it to the rental company each night – though it could be inconvenient, this step leaves the equipment in secure hands.

Vehicle Damage

Damage to a "run-about" — rental vehicles used by production assistants to run errands—are also a common claim on production sets. Production assistants are often younger employees and, due to the nature of their job, they may also tend to be in a hurry on the set. The combination of a more youthful driver and haste could mean that the next scene involves a production assistant colliding with another vehicle.

To help mitigate the risks associated with rental vehicles, consider taking the following steps. Film productions can conduct background checks on all drivers. Safety training might also provide a measure of protection. A third important step is to be familiar with vehicle rental contracts and know who is responsible for property damage and liability if an accident occurs. Although damage to on-set vehicles is rare, it is still an important consideration, particularly when it comes to a "hero vehicle." If the General Lee goes down during Dukes of Hazard or the Batmobile crashes while filming Batman, it will impact production and could lead to an insurance claim. For such vehicles, have backup parts and even a spare vehicle to prevent downtime if an incident occurs. Consider using a mock version during stunts.

Damaged Locations

Scratch the hardwood floor in a historic home during shooting, and a production — and its insurer — could be looking at $30,000 to replace it. Damage a few vintage light fixtures, and the bill could include the cost to replace every light fixture to ensure they resemble the originals. Film directors make location decisions based on their desired look and feel, but they should be aware their productions could become quite costly if care isn’t taken. The answer is not to sacrifice that look and feel for safety but to instead take precautions. Respect and protect the private homes and other locations where filming is taking place.

Ahead of shooting, film productions should also document a location. Is there pre-existing damage? All parties benefit when knowing exactly what happened if damage is claimed. Doing stunts or pyrotechnics in a location poses its own risks. In this case, calling in loss control experts and engineering specialists, as well as the local fire department, can help ensure stunts are well planned and safe. For instance, such professionals can assist in making sure that any sprinkler system is properly disengaged for a fire-related stunt, and then turned back on when finished.

Faulty Equipment in Extreme Climates

A director filming in a frigid environment wrapped plastic around his cameras. It wasn't to protect them from the cold; rather the plastic casing protected the equipment during breaks from condensation that could form when those cameras were brought inside. Whether in freezing or tropical locations, electronics can suffer water damage and malfunction. These extreme and isolated locations present additional risks as well, as it is unlikely that there will be a film equipment rental facility nearby to obtain replacement gear.

To help prevent the loss of equipment due to climate-related issues and potential production delays, it’s important to protect equipment appropriately. Even when filming in less extreme locations, such as forests or urban areas, productions should be careful to protect equipment from dirt or anything else that could damage it. Productions should test equipment prior to traveling to the set location--try out a camera in a freezer or a sauna, or wherever else best approximates the shoot environment.

Insurance Can Be Value Added

Insurance might be considered a budget line item for some film productions or a requirement from their distributors or financiers, but insurance professionals can also provide a wealth of knowledge and assistance. Productions can contact their insurance companies ahead of shooting, and as partners in the process, the insurer may be able to offer the assistance of risk management and loss control specialists to help establish procedures to avoid costly delays and losses.

Insurance professionals specializing in the film and entertainment industry have seen the above common claims repeatedly — and those headline-grabbing, not-so-common claims as well — and can help mitigate them before and during filming.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film Insurance claims, Chubb Film insurance