US Filmmakers: Navigating Your Certificate of Insurance

Posted by Alyson Forster on Aug 4, 2020 7:12:51 AM

US Filmmakers: Navigating Your Certificate of Insurance

If you’re a Canada-based filmmaker, read this blog post instead.

Congratulations, you successfully purchased your production insurance! Your broker has sent you a confirmation that your coverage is bound, a summary, invoice, and certificate of insurance. You review all of your paperwork and estimates from the rental house and permit office, but how do you know what coverage is what, or if you even purchased the correct coverage?

things that may go missed on a certificate that can ‘make or break’ you on the day of production:

  1. Make sure the production company’s name and address are correct. Rushed through the application? This is the time to triple check any spelling errors.
  2. If you are working (especially) on a Short-Term Production (US), double-check the effective dates. Make sure you include any additional pickup/drop-off dates that may be needed for props or rentals.
  3. Did a permit office request any special wording? This is the time to make sure you have the exact wording on your certificate as the insurance requirements noted.

Below is a sample certificate. We will review each section so you can properly understand what you are looking at.

US Certificate of Insurance

Ok, so from the top!

The highlighted section on the left is where your company information is located.

The highlighted section on the right is your insurance company. You will notice it shows insurer “A” and insurer “B”. This will correspond to the boxes on the far left side to show which company is which.

The non-highlighted section below is your insurance broker’s information.

US Certificate of Insurance

This next part is VERY important, especially when it comes to Film LA. See the box that says “ADDL INSR”? That stands for Additional Insured, and the “Y” stands for yes. Next to that column, there is wording “SUBR WVD” this stands for Waiver of Subrogation.

This is a waiver that you must request in advance and most likely will cost additional premium. Without a “Y” under “ADDL INSR” and “SUBR WVD”- your insurance coverage will not be sufficient for Film LA.

The next part of the “grid” will delegate the policy number and the start and end dates of coverage. If you need additional days for a short shoot, reach out to your broker immediately. If you request additional coverage dates after the expiration of coverage, you will be responsible for purchasing a new policy.

The bottom right highlighted section is what your rental/prop house will review. Keep in mind, this amount is not the value to rent the equipment. The amount is to replace the item in the case of a total loss.

The section ‘ded’ that is highlighted stands for your retention or deductible. The deductible or retention is the amount you will have to pay the insurance company in a case of a loss that exceeds the deductible.

Example: You rent a camera that has a replacement value of $50,000. The camera gets lost in transit. This means that for the insurance company to replace the camera, you will have to pay the deductible amount.

Example: You rent a grip accessory and the replacement value is $150. The grip accessory is damaged during the shoot. Since the accessories replacement value is less than the deductible, the insurance company will not cover the loss.

US Certificate of Insurance

Note: Remember insurer “A” and insurer “B”? You can now see them on the far right column.

This row on your certificate is where any special wording would be located. If you need a rental house to be named additional insured, this is where the wording would be located.

US Certificate of Insurance

Note: Whenever there is a need for special wording on your certificate, please notify your broker. This is something only your broker can process.

Last section! So, the certificate holder will be the entity that requested to be named additional insured, loss payee, or certificate holder. If a rental house has requested to be named additional insured, this is where you would find their name and address.

US Certificate of Insurance

 

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that provides film insurance for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with insurers and clients to expedite the payment of claims.

Related:

Canadian Filmmakers: Certificate of Insurance

Getting a film permit in Los Angeles / Film LA

DISCLAIMER: Informational statements regarding insurance coverage are for general description purposes only. These statements do not amend, modify or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your broker for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services and programs which may be available to you. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to the final determination of underwriting qualifications and acceptance by the insurance underwriting company providing such products or services. This website does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss, or type of claim or loss, under any policy. Whether coverage exists or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any policy depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss and all applicable policy wording.

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Production, Film Producers, Annual Film Insurance, Film production offices, Film Production Companies, US Film insurance broker, Certificates

Canadian Filmmakers: Navigating Your Certificate of Insurance

Posted by Alyson Forster on Aug 4, 2020 7:12:08 AM

Canadian Filmmakers: Navigating Your Certificate of Insurance

If you’re a US-based filmmaker, read this blog post instead.

Congratulations, you successfully purchased your production insurance! Your broker has sent you a confirmation that your coverage is bound, a summary, invoice, and certificate of insurance. You review all of your paperwork and estimates from the rental house and permit office, but how do you know what coverage is what, or if you even purchased the correct coverage?

things that may go missed on a certificate that can ‘make or break’ you on the day of production:

  1. Make sure the production company’s name and address are correct. Rushed through the application? This is the time to triple check any spelling errors.
  2. If you are working (especially) on a Short-Term Production, double-check the effective dates. Make sure you include any additional pickup/drop-off dates that may be needed for props or rentals.
  3. Did a permit office request any special wording? This is the time to make sure you have the exact wording on your certificate as the insurance requirements noted.

Below is a sample certificate of insurance for Canadian film productions. We will review each section so you can properly understand what you are looking at.

Certificate of Insurance Canada

Ok, so from the top!

The highlighted section below is where your company information is located.

The non-highlighted section below is your insurance broker’s information.

Certificate of Insurance Canada

The next part of the first page will delegate the policy number and the start and end dates of coverage. If you need additional days for a short shoot, reach out to your broker immediately. If you request additional coverage dates after the expiration of coverage, you will be responsible for purchasing a new policy.

Certificate of Insurance Canada

If a permit office, rental house, or specific entity you are working with has requested special wording on a certificate, it will go here. If you do need special wording on your certificate, please make sure you reach out to your broker in advance. Special wording or endorsements such as a “Waiver of Subrogation” may take up to 24-48 hours to process from the carrier.

Certificate of Insurance Canada

The following pages of your certificate of insurance will outline the limits of insurance and retention or deductible. The deductible or retention is the amount you will have to pay the insurance company in a case of a loss that exceeds the deductible, and is located on the far right column.

Example: You rent a camera that has a replacement value of $50,000. The camera gets lost in transit. This means that for the insurance company to replace the camera, you will have to pay the deductible amount.

Example: You rent a grip accessory and the replacement value is $150. The grip accessory is damaged during the shoot. Since the accessory’s replacement value is less than the deductible, the insurance company will not cover the loss.

Certificate of Insurance Canada Schedule AHave more questions on the coverages on the far left column? Contact us.

 

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that provides film insurance for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with insurers and clients to expedite the payment of claims.

Related:

US Filmmakers: Certificate of Insurance

DISCLAIMER: Informational statements regarding insurance coverage are for general description purposes only. These statements do not amend, modify or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your broker for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services and programs which may be available to you. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to the final determination of underwriting qualifications and acceptance by the insurance underwriting company providing such products or services. This website does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss, or type of claim or loss, under any policy. Whether coverage exists or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any policy depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss and all applicable policy wording.

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Film Production, Film Producers, Annual Film Insurance, Film Production Companies, Film Location Insurance, Certificates

Guidance on Health and Safety for Film & TV Workers during COVID-19

Posted by Grant Patten on May 15, 2020 11:04:26 AM

HEALTH & SAFETY FOR FILM & TV WORKERS DURING COVID-19 (WSPS)

HEALTH & SAFETY FOR FILM & TV WORKERS DURING COVID-19Source: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1680037777, Shutterstock

The Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) has released some helpful guidelines for those in the film, TV and live performance industries who will soon be returning to production work in this COVID-19 environment. WSPS is an Ontario-focused organization, but this information could still be useful to those in other provinces or even the US as well.

Front Row Insurance is merely passing on these WSPS guidelines that might be helpful to some in planning their return to production, but please also consult an employment lawyer, public health and industry associations and government recommendations. The below is for informational purposes only and should not be considered advice.

Controls to consider for returning to production during COVID-19:

The WSPS documents have some helpful points to consider, including…

Are there tasks you can minimize or eliminate? For example, could any scenes that were planned to involve numerous people potentially be cut down to fewer people? Similarly, can scenes that involved people close together potentially be restructured to allow social distancing?

Limit entry points and control who comes onto set, who they speak to, and what they handle.

Have all crewmembers and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, before entering the set, after contact with others, and with surfaces others have touched.

Train crewmembers on COVID-19 transmission points, steps being taken to protect them, and how to protect themselves, including frequent hand sanitizing, and not touching their face.

Is there an opportunity to put barriers in place between crewmembers on set? Consider using floor markings to keep people at a safe distance apart.

Is there an opportunity to improve fresh air intake/air circulation on set?

Increase cleaning frequency – on everything from desks, seats and vehicles to commonly touched surfaces like cameras, computers, microphones, phones, door handles and switches.

Ensure laundering instructions are being followed for wardrobe.

Review sanitation practices for hair and makeup stations to avoid spreading the virus and implement new practices.

Replace buffets with wrapped food items.

Consider having personal protective equipment (PPE) for crewmembers. Some examples of PPE that may be suited to supervisors, production or operations management work include gloves, masks, goggles and/or face shields.

Review your preventative measures on an ongoing basis, and adjust them if they are not working well enough or causing other issues with your work.

COVID Guideline Documents from Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS):

The above points are selections from the WSPS documents; you are encouraged to download the full documents, linked below:

Download: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Guidance on Health and Safety for Television Hosts, Technical Crews and other TV and Film Employees during COVID-19 [PDF]

Download: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Guidance on Health and Safety for Television, Film and Live Performance Sector during COVID-19 [PDF]

NOTE: These documents are intended for informational purposes only to provide an overview of the potential hazards posed in the workplace due to COVID-19. They are not intended as medical advice, to provide a comprehensive risk assessment for all workplaces, or to replace any legislated workplace safety obligations. Due to the ongoing evolution of the situation in Ontario and around the world, these documents may be used as a guide for Employers in addition to guidance delivered by public health authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” Any use which is made of these documents by any Employer, or any reliance on or decisions to be made based on them, are the responsibility of the Employer.

Good luck and take care,
The Front Row Team

Citations:

https://www.wsps.ca/

Topics: Film Production, Film Producers, Film Production Companies, TV Series, COVID-19

I am renting a car (in Canada) for my production – what do I need?

Posted by Diane Konecny on Feb 20, 2020 9:03:02 AM

I am renting a car (in canada) for my production – what do I need?

Car in film production

Some of the most common questions we get from clients are about vehicles:

  • What coverage do I need? 
  • Do I need to buy anything from the rental company?
  • Can a 20-year-old production assistant (PA) drive the car(s)?

Well, here is what you need to know about renting vehicles when shooting a production in Canada. We will break it down into two sections to explain the basics.

1. DAMAGE to a car you are renting or are contractually required to provide coverage for while being used on production: 

The production policies we provide include coverage if you damage a vehicle while contracted by production. With most insurers, it is called Commercial Vehicle Physical Damage (CVPD)The coverage will have a limit per vehicle, so make sure that if you are renting expensive cars, your limit is high enough to cover any damage that can occur. You will also have to check the Aggregate, which is the most the policy will pay for any one occurrence (in case you damage multiple cars in one accident) and your deductible (the amount you need to pay for the damage before the insurance kicks in). Most policies will set the deductible as a percentage of the damage; for example, 10% with a minimum and maximum amount.

Your rental company will offer you a Collision or Loss Damage Waiver (CDW/ LDW) when renting a vehicle. Typically, these are about $20-$30 per vehicle/day. The CDW/LDW provides coverage for damage to the vehicle. There is no need to purchase this if you have our policies, which include the CVPD coverage. A bit of savings for your budget! However, if you are renting a couple of vehicles for a short period of time and you aren’t so sure about your crew’s driving skills, you may choose to get this coverage from the rental company because the deductible is usually a lower amount. 

NOTE: NOT ALL POLICIES PROVIDED BY OTHER BROKERS WILL INCLUDE THIS COVERAGE. YOU NEED TO CHECK YOUR POLICY TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED, OR CONTACT FRONT ROW AND WE CAN OBTAIN PROPER COVERAGE FOR YOU.

2. AUTO LIABILITY covers damage to property or injury to other parties:

Auto liability is the portion of the policy which is regulated by the government and, to make it more complicated, it is individually regulated by each province/territory. Below is a basic breakdown by province.

Will I need to budget for an Auto Liability policy for MY production?

Province:

Coverage provided by:

Do I need to buy Auto Liability?

Newfoundland

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

Nova Scotia

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

PEI

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

New Brunswick

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

Quebec

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

Ontario

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

Manitoba

Government

No, unless you wish to increase the limit provided by the rental company. Coverage is provided for a vehicle when purchasing / renewing the license plate.

Saskatchewan

Government

No, unless you wish to increase the limit provided by the rental company. Coverage is provided for a vehicle when purchasing / renewing the license plate.

Alberta

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

BC

Government

No, unless you wish to increase the limit provided by the rental company. Coverage is provided for a vehicle when purchasing / renewing the license plate.

NWT

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

Yukon

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

Nunavut

Private insurers

Yes, if contracting a vehicle for more than 30 consecutive days.

The above-mentioned coverage outline is meant for informational purposes only and does not represent advice on coverages required. Contact us if you have a specific need or question.

Auto liability is not an option; it needs to be in place for every car driven on public roads. Make sure you have the right coverage for your location and situation so production doesn’t get a ticket, or worse, be held responsible for injury to someone or damage to property.

Hired an intern or co-op student and want them to run errands in your rental car? Is that allowed?

Well, for once it’s not us being the careful ones! You will need to contact your rental company as many will have an age restriction on drivers. Some will restrict it to 21 or 25 years old, so make sure whoever is driving is actually allowed to, as it can nullify your coverage if they aren’t.

Have more questions about auto coverage? Feel free to give any of our Front Row offices a call!

REFER A FRIEND TO FRONT ROW INSURANCE

Based on customer demand, we’ve setup our referral marketing program and if you refer a friend to Front Row, you could win a $15 Amazon eGift Card OR be entered into a random draw to win a $99 Amazon eGift Card! (depending on your province)

RELATED POSTS:

FILM PRODUCTION COMPANIES AND CAMERA CARS: REDUCING THE RISK

FILM PRODUCTION INSURANCE AND RENTING CREW PERSONAL VEHICLES

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE FOR FILMS

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film Production, Film Production Vehicle Insurance, non-owned auto insurance, automobile insurance for films, Intern Rights

Risk Assessments for Film Productions

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 20, 2012 1:44:00 PM

risk assessments for film productions

Most workplace injuries and diseases can be prevented by identifying and dealing with potential workplace hazards and unsafe work practices.

Q. When do you need to conduct a risk assessment?

A.  For each potentially hazardous activity or situation involved in your production. I.e.,

Conducting FILM PRODUCTION Risk Assessments – 3 basic steps

  1. Identify potential hazards and unsafe work practices
  2. Assess the risks associated with the potential hazards and/or unsafe work practices
  3. Deal with the potential hazards and/or unsafe work practices

Remember: Write your risk assessments down on paper; that way, they can be attached to call sheets and used as a reference in case they are needed at a later date.

A specialized film insurance broker is best able to present the risks associated with your film production to the film insurance underwriter to ensure you receive the best coverage and premium for your production.

Front Row Insurance Brokers are specialized Film Insurance Brokers. Please call us if you have any questions.

The above information is  based on WorkSafe – Focus on Safety – Safe Work Practices for Film and Television Production in B.C. (2001 edition)

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Insurance claims, Film Producers, Film Production Companies, Cast Insurance

Focus on Safety to Reduce Film Production Workers Compensation Claims

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 13, 2012 2:06:00 PM

Workers comp on film sets

Film production health & safety / Workers Comp

Film production companies have an obligation toward their cast and crew members, and must ensure their health and safety.

Production Companies should:

  • Develop and implement health & safety programs
  • Provide first aid equipment and emergency procedures for workers
  • Provide personal protective clothing and equipment for workers where required by the Regulation
  • Hire qualified, Competent Workers with the proper tickets and qualifications
  • Report all incidents involving medical treatments or lost time from injury or disease to the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB)
  • Investigate all incidents, involving near misses
  • Ensure that cast and crew follow all WCB, municipal, provincial and federal requirements

Cast & Crew should:

  • Wear personal protective clothing and equipment when required
  • Alert the supervisor or production company to potential hazards
  • Immediately report work they consider unsafe to their supervisor
  • Follow safe work procedures

Production Companies should form a joint health and safety committee that is responsible for identifying potential hazards or unsafe work practices and providing suggestions to improve conditions. The committee delegates should ensure that regular workplace inspections are carried out, and confirm that incidents are investigated. Above all, it’s important to consider and respond to heath and safety recommendations from the cast & crew.

Some examples of task allocations per position are:

Production Manager – Ensure that sets and locations are inspected for potential hazards and that potential hazards are eliminated or controlled.

Production Coordinator – Communicate the distribution of information to cast, crew members and various departments within the production company.

Director – Support assistant directors in their occupational health & safety responsibilities.

Director of Photography – Make safety a priority when placing cameras and setting up lighting.

Construction Coordinator – Ensure that the construction mill has a first aid facility stocked with appropriate supplies.

Location Manager – Assess all locations for potential hazards (starting from the time of the initial scout.

SPFX/Stunt Coordinator – Hold safety talks immediately before any scheduled special effect or stunt.

* The above information is based on WorkSafe – Focus on Safety – Safe Work Practices for Film and Television Production in B.C. (2001 edition)

Related Blog PostS

WORKERS' COMP EXPLAINED

WORKERS COMPENSATION FOR FILM CREWS

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Insurance claims, Film Producers, film insurance premium, Film Production Companies, Workers Compensation

Film Insurance: E&O Claims Made Policies Vs. Occurrence Policies

Posted by Mike Groner on Jul 10, 2012 4:31:00 PM

CLAIMS MADE vs. OCCURRENCE BASED E&O

CLAIMS MADE VS. OCCURRENCE BASED E&O

CLAIMS MADE E&O POLICIES

Claims Made E&O Policies cover claims that are made during the policy term. The loss may have occurred in the past, but as long as it is reported during the current policy term, it can trigger coverage. In order for coverage to continue, the policy must stay in force.

With this type of policy, endorsements can be made so that the policy responds to incidents which occurred before the policy start date, also known as “Prior Acts” coverage. Tail Coverage is another  extension that can be obtained wherein the insurer will cover events that occur while the policy is in force, but which the insured is unaware of during the policy period, and are reported to the insurer after the policy terminates. By obtaining tail end coverage, the claims based policy is in effect converted to an occurrence policy.

Pro’s of a Claims Made E&O Policy

A benefit of this type of policy is that if a claim arises relating to incidents which occurred before the policy start date, the claim may be covered. Another reason why this type of E&O policy is purchased is because it is less expensive than occurrence based policies. Typically the premium increases over the first five years of coverage in increments proportional to the claims reporting for that experience.

Con’s of a Claims Made E&O Policy

Once a “claims-made” policy has expired, purchasing insurance for past events will become difficult, expensive and perhaps not possible. Once coverage has expired, claims can no longer be submitted, even if the claim occurred during the policy term.

 

OCCURRENCE BASED E&O POLICIES

Occurrence Based E&O Policies cover losses that occur during the policy term as long as the project/film is released or broadcast during the dates at which an incident causing damage occurs. Although the loss can be reported years later, it must have “occurred” during the policy term. This type of E&O policy may not cover occurrences that happened prior to the policy being in force.

Pro’s of an Occurrence Based E&O Policy

A benefit of this type of policy is that there is no need to renew the policy to maintain coverage. Also, years after this type of policy has lapsed, a claim can be made for incidents that occurred while the policy was in force.

Con’s of an Occurrence Based E&O Policy

This type of E&O policy is typically more expensive than claims based policies because the insured is prepaying for tail costs whether the tail gets used or not. Another disadvantage is that if a claim arises before delivery to the broadcaster or distributor, any defense costs associated with the claim may not be covered. It’s important to speak with your broker about whether Prior Acts coverage is included on your Occurrence Based Policy.

 

WHY E&O POLICIES ARE NEEDED?

  1. I.e, The script of your movie/show is slightly similar to another production, therefore a claim for plagiarism could arise.
  2. Covers the insured against defamation, libel and slander suits.
  3. Covers against intellectual property rights.
  4. Typically, most distributors and broadcasters will not distribute or air any production without it.
  5. It protects a company or individual from financial loss.

TYPICAL E&O CLAIM SCENARIOS

  • An action brought against a production company for the production of a movie which is similar to events depicted in a novel.
  • A defamation/slander suit brought against a production company based on a recognizable likeness between a fictional character in a TV series and an actual person.
  • A production company is sued for unauthorized use of Titles and/or Music/Stock Footage, for not acknowledging underlying works such as books, scripts of screenplays or for not requesting permission to acquire rights.

WHAT CAN AFFECT THE COST OF AN E&O POLICY?

  • Whether an attorney’s services were used to secure clearances and licenses
  • The coverage limits
  • Coverage Territory
  • Type of distribution
  • Type of production i.e., Documentary, TV Series
  • Subject matter of production
  • Production Budget

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Multimedia Risk Insurance, Film Insurance claims, Title reports, film insurance premium, DICE Insurance

How a Specialized Film Insurance Broker can help your Production

Posted by David Hamilton on Apr 10, 2012 5:54:00 PM

How a film insurance broker helps

Film InsuranceA broker will help identify the risks associated with a production. Once the risks are identified, the risk can be transferred to an insurance company for a fee or premium. The film insurance broker negotiates the lowest possible premium and the broadest coverage available in the market place. In Canada, there are four film insurance companies: Chubb, Fireman’s Fund, Premiere and Travelers. Front Row is able to provide you with a quote from each of these companies in an easy to understand comparison format.

Unlike insurance agents - who work for the insurance company -  Insurance Brokers work for the client. Insurance brokers are recognized by law as experts in insurance. Insurance Brokers in Canada must pass a series of exams in order to be licensed and there is annual continuing education to maintain a license. Make sure your broker is licensed in the province that you are shooting your production or the production could be fined or subject to a surtax.

Insurance Brokers owe a higher duty of care to their clients than an Insurance Agent. Brokers represent the interests of their clients, not the insurance companies. They offer professional advice in arranging insurance on behalf of their clients.

Since insurance brokers are considered under the law as professionals, they are responsible for their actions and can be sued for professional negligence if their advice is deemed to be faulty. All licensed brokers therefore need to carry professional Errors and Omissions coverage. You should ask your broker the limit of E&O insurance that they cover:  $1,000,000 may not be enough once defense costs are deducted from the limit.

The many roles of a broker include: 

  • Negotiate with the insurance companies on behalf of clients. There are four insurance companies in Canada: an Insurance broker must be familiar with what these companies offer so that the best price and coverage is procured for the producer.
  • Brokers facilitate claims - Because the broker works on behalf of the client, it is their duty to ensure that insurance companies pay the full amount of the claim that the client is entitled to.
  • The broker acts as a conduit for communication between the insurance company and the client. This includes providing certificates for banks, bonding companies and locations to evidence coverage allowing banks to release funds to the client, locations to be locked by the location manager and equipment to be rented.
  • Advise clients on ways to limit potential liabilities during production.
  • Review scope of the client's existing insurance policies to reveal gaps or deficiencies in the coverage.
  • Comprehensive examination of the clients production to assess the amount and type of insurance required. A broker will also help the client understand what coverage they have and do not have and they can explain any limits to the coverage.

It is important to deal with a broker that understands the specific language shown on Film Production Policies. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that you seek out a specialized Film Insurance Broker when you need insurance for your production.

Related post: How to choose the right film insurance broker

Topics: Film equipment insurance, Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Multimedia Risk Insurance, Film Insurance claims, Film production offices, Commercial Production Insurance, Documentary Insurance, film insurance premium, DICE Insurance, Film Production Companies, Cast Insurance, Educational Film Insurance

E&O: Acquire permission before you eat at McD****** or drink a C***

Posted by Doran Chandler on Mar 20, 2012 3:02:00 PM

E&O Insurance: copyright infringements

Copyright infringements

It happens more often than you might expect: a producer completes a film, locks picture, makes a sale, and then drops by our law office to inquire about “clearing” the film for Errors & Omissions insurance coverage. In reviewing the film, we note that the producer filmed copyrighted and trademarked material, but failed to get the necessary permission to include it in the film.

E&O insurance policies insure against claims arising from accidentally infringing a copyright or trademark, invading someone’s privacy or otherwise getting tripped up on someone else’s rights. In order to qualify for E&O coverage, the film in question must be fully cleared and the producer must acquire all necessary permissions from third parties whose rights might otherwise be infringed. If a film includes material that potentially infringes a third party’s copyright and permission has not been acquired, there are a number of options to consider.

First, the film could be edited to remove the offending material. This is only a viable option if time, finances and/or creative willingness permit. Second, there may be an exception allowing the inclusion of certain copyrighted material in the film without permission.

Likely the most popular excuse for copyright infringements is the concept of “fair use”. Although referred to regularly in industry reference materials available here in Canada, fair use is a US principle based on the belief that it is not “fair” to find every copying to be a violation of copyright law if such copying was for certain purposes, including criticism or review. (For example, the concept of “parody” falls under fair use in the US and has provided many a filmmaker with substantial sources of otherwise protected material. Thank you Mel Brooks and Mike Myers!)

Fair use does not exist in Canada and is often used interchangeably, and often confusingly, with “fair dealing”, the concept found in the Canadian Copyright Act. Other than in very clear-cut cases, extreme caution must be used in relying on fair dealing, which is a very limited defense as the use of the material must be for “private study, research, criticism, review or newspaper summary”. Unfortunately, because there are no hard and fast rules available, it is impossible to define what is and is not fair dealing.

Other than fair dealing, in Canada, the concept of “incidental inclusion” may provide another possible exception to copyright infringement. If the use of copyrighted material is very minor and is incidentally and not deliberately included, (for example, a pre-existing credit card door sticker at a retail location), it is likely that the use will fall within incidental inclusion and will not be considered an infringement. It can become prohibitively expensive and time consuming to clear every protected item in a film, no matter how small the use.

If E&O insurance is required, and if none of the above options is feasible, in some cases it may be possible to “exclude” the offending material from the E&O insurance policy and effectively assume the risk yourself. (Be aware, however, that these types of exclusions may not be acceptable to broadcasters and distributors.)

The bottom line? Always, always, always ensure that you acquire all necessary permission to include any protected material in your film before you start shooting.

 

RELATED LINKS:

E&O Insurance 101 & How to Protect Your Film Project

E&O: What You Need to Know

E&O: Cost

Are you paying for the coverage you need?

Steps to Obtain

Producer Errors and Omissions

E&O: Reviewing Scripts

Distributor Errors and Omissions

Documentary E&O Insurance

Copyright Reports

How much of your film is copyright-able?

Copyright Infringements

Title Reports

Script Clearance Reports

Clearance Procedures

Claims Made vs. Occurrence

Fair Use

False Light Accusations

The value of a lawyer

To get or not get permission: The Social Network

A production lawyer's guide to obtaining E&O insurance and preventing litigation

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Multimedia Risk Insurance, Film Insurance claims, Film Producers, film insurance premium

E&O Insurance - How much of your production's format is copyright-able

Posted by Doran Chandler on Feb 27, 2012 2:19:00 PM

By: Doran S. Chandler - Roberts & Stahl, Entertainment Lawyers

How much of your film or TV show is copyright-able?

DORAN CHANDLER LawyerWhenever a producer or writer dreams up a new idea for a television show, it doesn't take long for them to start worrying about someone pinching it and beating them to the punch. This is especially true in the case of news programs, game shows, and other reality based productions. Such productions are relatively inexpensive to produce and consist mainly of material with a questionable footing in copyright. This makes it accessible to a large number of producers and difficult to pitch and develop without tipping off competitors about a potential new trend.

A somewhat odd corollary to this is that the value of television formats has grown exponentially in recent years with the widespread licensing of formats to broadcasters or production companies in foreign markets. As a result, many producers want to know what they can borrow from existing programs, and whether they can protect what they have created. Only one notable Canadian case, Hutton v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, sheds some light on the issue. 

In Hutton, the Alberta courts considered whether the format of a music video magazine show could be copyrighted. The courts held that concepts and devices generally present in shows of the same genre were not protect-able, such as the mood of the hosts, the presentation of biographical materials, interviews, and the use of TV monitors in the set design. The courts also considered the use of infinity shots, bumpers and teasers to commercials, the use of montages, and the use of transitions like dissolves and back-to-back video playbacks, finding that these elements could not in themselves be protected. One characteristic the trial court found protect-able at trial were elements of "dramatic conceit" in the programs, or the entertainment fictions used to create drama in each program. The trial judge ultimately found that the plaintiff's show, Star Chart, was not a dramatic work within s.2 of the Copyright Act and thus not capable of being copyrighted. On Appeal, the Alberta court de-emphasized the idea that dramatic conceit was protect-table and held simply that the works were not qualitatively similar and did not have any causal connection between them.

The end result of Hutton is that, while we have some idea about what Canadian courts will consider when evaluating a format, we don't really have a clear guideline for what is required to achieve a protect-able format. Adding to the uncertainty is that different standards of protection have emerged in other jurisdictions. In one case considering the copyright-ability of the format for Opportunity Knocks, a prominent UK copyright judge held that the elements of a "dramatic format" were too uncertain for copyright protection.

Meanwhile, courts in Holland and Brazil have granted protection to the Survivor and Big Brother formats, respectively, finding that copyright can subsist in the meticulous combination of individually unprotect-able elements in a format. Together, these decisions leave producers intending to rely on a specific format on shaky ground. Given that the legal right to use or to keep others from using a given format is unpredictable at best, it is a good idea to take some precautions when developing a show. One important security measure is to pitch your concept formally in conference using confidentiality agreements. Another useful precaution is to document and distinguish your concept with as much detail as possible, including the use of specific music, timing, camera angles and set design.

Registering distinctive slogans and catch phrases with the trademark office can offer protection, as can registering your detailed synopsis with the copyright office. Lastly, advertise your production as aggressively as possible because a strong market presence will always attract more copyright protection than anonymity. 

 

RELATED LINKS:

E&O Insurance 101 & How to Protect Your Film Project

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E&O: Cost

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Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Film Insurance claims, Film Producers, Documentary Insurance