Script Clearance and Title Search Report Cost

Posted by Anne Marie Murphy on Jan 20, 2020 8:31:01 AM

SCRIPT CLEARANCE and TITLE SEARCH REPORT COST

SCRIPT CLEARANCE REPORT COST

SCRIPT CLEARANCE REPORT COST

Script clearance reports give you a detailed list of all the story elements in your project that might cause problems in any of these categories:

A "clearance" or "script clearance" company will read the script and make a list ("clearance report") of all the places in it where there could be legal trouble. Then, they'll research all those items and present you with notes on what looks safe ("clear") to use and what might get you into some problems ("not clear"). Look for a company that will suggest solutions as well, among them providing contact information for rights holders and presenting you with "clear" alternatives for scripted items that are problematic.

As in most industries, the faster you need the work done, the more it will cost. Most script clearance companies have a range of turnaround options for a feature film report, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 to $3000 (Canadian dollars) for the first full report on a feature film script, depending on the turnaround you need and the company you hire. [U.S. title search prices range from $275-$1250.]

Additional billing often follows when more requests come from both the art department (names to use on signage and props) and the story department (revised drafts and/or one-off name changes to be checked).  Script clearance companies bill in different ways for that follow-up work (by the hour, by the item), so consult with them regarding procedures to find the best way forward for the way you work. 

A theatrical feature that is heavy on art department requests + has many rewrites that need review can run up a bill of well over $5000 for clearance work.

Clearance reports for a TV series are not typically prepared in the same short time period as they are for a feature film report (during a weeks-long shoot).  A television series can have a production schedule that stretches for many months and the script clearance reports will be generated when each episode goes into production. Here too, there can be many sets of revisions and many art department requests.  The art department clearances for episodic series work can be much heavier in the first season of the show when set dressing is going up for the first time.

The cost for these series reports is usually billed per episode (rather than for a full season) and vary depending on the length of the script. You might pay $100 for a report on a short 10-page web series or kids' animated show, but on the other end of the spectrum, a one-hour episode script might run you closer to $1000. Another added cost for series work is if you need your reports done faster than the usual promised turnaround times; that can add 50% to the price. This sometimes comes into play with web series projects that might not be aware of the E&O requirement for script clearance reports until just before they start shooting.

There are several script clearance companies based in Canada and plenty in the U.S., where the reports were first developed in the early 1950s. You'll have plenty of options for finding a company that offers what you need. Most clearance companies have a rate sheet they'll share upon request while others  will only quote on a per-project basis. You'll obviously want a company that has a good track record over a long period of time and probably one that has its own E&O coverage.

Another thing to ask for if your project will be on a streaming service is, "have you worked already for [Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, etc.]?" Some of those companies have a long-ish vetting process for service providers with whom they are unfamiliar. That's something to keep in mind.

Sometimes a project doesn't need an entire script "cleared" but instead has just a few names that need to be researched. Depending on the company, this type of request is billed at either an hourly or a per-item rate. This approach can work well for a cash-strapped project that has experienced production personnel who can read the script and send the notes needed for the clearance house to do their work. Assuming that the art department personnel are well aware of the intellectual property issues involved in dressing a set, sending only a short list of character names out for clearances can be an excellent low-budget solution.

TITLE SEARCH REPORT COST

Pricing on title search reports is a lot less complicated than for script clearances. Simply stated: for any given title, you'll need to select the turnaround time and the geographic scope of the report. Again, the faster you need the work done, the more it will cost. Unlike a script clearance report – in which the scope of the search is determined by the geographic setting of the story – the production's distribution plan dictates the scope of the title search.

If production counsel feels strongly that the broadest possible scope is needed, then that will add to the cost of the report. The broader the scope, the more sources are consulted and the cost increases with additional research time involved. 

A title search report of limited scope at a longer turnaround time might come in at less than $300. However, once you add in a speedier delivery and your lawyer or broker's insistence on a more robust geographic scope, a title search report can cost upward of $3000.

There are even more options for providers of title search reports in North America than there are for script clearance reports, so shopping around would be wise. When in doubt, the wisest route is often picking the company that comes best recommended to you. As with any professional service provider, a referral from a company that has a long and solid track record with another company is invaluable.

Another difference between title search reports and script clearance reports is the opinion factor. Good clearance reports offer plenty of opinions about what is and is not "clear." Title searches, on the other hand, have "just the facts, ma'am." The research company is not authorized to provide you an opinion on whether the title is clear for use. That has to come from a lawyer.

SCRIPT CLEARANCE RESEARCHER / TITLE SEARCH COMPANY

Eastern Script specializes in providing research services for the entertainment industry, including script clearances and title searches. Visit their website here: https://www.easternscript.com/

Guest post by Anne Marie Murphy
amm@easternscript.com
(844) 842-3999

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Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Title reports, Script Clearance reports

Why Does a Film Producer Need E&O Insurance?

Posted by Remy Khouzam on Jan 3, 2020 6:35:17 AM

Why does a film producer need Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance?

Why is E&O necessary from a legal perspective?

E&O insurance film | errors and omissions insurance film:


Remy Khouzam (Lawyer)
: The reality of the North American market, at the very least, is that E&O insurance is required and producers must obtain it because broadcasters, distributors, public sector financiers, etc. will require it.

So, why is it a good idea for a producer to get E&O insurance apart from the fact that they have to? It protects them in case of a claim under trademark infringement, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, defamation issues and these claims can be very expensive and costs can rise quickly. Having the E&O insurance in place will allow you to cover those costs.

Related:

About: Lussier & Khouzam is a Canadian law firm specialized in Arts and Entertainment law. Visit their website at https://lussierkhouzam.com/.

Topics: Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Script Clearance reports, defamation insurance, Trademark, legal expense

E&O: Are There Different Things Needed for a Documentary vs. a Drama?

Posted by Remy Khouzam on Dec 16, 2019 11:43:55 AM

E&O: Are There Different Things Needed for a Documentary vs. a Drama?


Remy Khouzam (Lawyer)
: From an errors and omissions (E&O) perspective, you have to look at the project based on what challenges it presents. So, a documentary will have different legal concerns than a drama.

E&O Insurance and Documentaries

For documentary, we’ll mostly be looking at privacy issues, potential defamation issues and – more and more now – just because budgets are being cut and the price of archives is going up – filmmakers are using the copyright exception of fair use (fair dealing under Canadian law) to use clips, lawfully, without having to clear them with rights holders. So, obviously, this brings some challenges from a legal perspective that are not exclusive to documentary but clearly appear more in documentary settings than they do in fiction.

E&O Insurance and Fiction Films

For fiction, most of it will be based on copyright issues, trademark and consideration as to what the characters are saying because you could cross that line into defamation. Those would be the major differences – you cover all legal bases but the emphasis is put on different areas, depending on the nature of the project.

Related:

About: Lussier & Khouzam is a Canadian law firm specialized in Arts and Entertainment law. Visit their website at https://lussierkhouzam.com/.

Topics: Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Documentary Insurance, Script Clearance reports, defamation insurance, Trademark, Fair Use Doctrine

Copyright Reports: Use Them to Minimize the Potential of an E&O Claim

Posted by David Hamilton on Jul 22, 2015 3:31:00 PM

Copyright Reports

Office_Contents_Insurance

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.

If you would like a no obligation Producers E&O insurance quote, please click here.

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.

 

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 Producer's E&O Insurance, Script Clearance reports

Distributor's Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance

Posted by David Hamilton on Sep 26, 2012 6:33:00 PM

Distributor's E&O Insurance

Distributor's E&O insurance

Much like the producer's E&O insurance, the distributor's E&O insurance covers distributors from lawsuits that may arise due to the content of the material they are distributing.

Distributor's E&O insurance differs  from Producer's E&O in that distributors are insured for a list of titles they are distributing. In order to add a production to a distributors E&O policy a minimum of one year of E&O policy needs to have been in force. For each film that you distribute, you will need to ask for evidence of previous e&o coverage.

The premium is determined by the estimated annual revenue that is expect from the list of titles to be insured. A deposit premium is paid and then the deposit is adjusted at the end of the policy year based on actual distribution revenue. A distributors policy is typically much less expensive as compared to extending individual e&o policies. The adjustment rate is usually 10 cents per $1000 of revenue.

To get a quote, we will need to have an application completed and we will need a list of the titles to be covered. Would you like me to send you a copy of a blank application?

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.

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, Film insurance broker, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Film Insurance claims, Commercial Production Insurance, Documentary Insurance, Title reports, Script Clearance reports

Script Insurance Clearance Reports: Why are They Important?

Posted by Krista Johnston on Mar 13, 2010 1:29:00 PM

FILM SCRIPT INSURANCE CLEARANCE REPORTS

Film script clearance report

Script Insurance clearance reports provide important information for producers of films, documentaries and TV Series.

Script clearance research involves reading and breaking down a script and identifying all items that represent possible legal conflicts, if used as is. These items include:

  • character names,
  • business names,
  • locations (signage),
  • logos,
  • slogans and quotes,
  • product names,
  • schools,
  • organizations,
  • images and designs,
  • music,
  • defamatory references, and racial slurs,
  • and the use of protected material in the form of copyrights or trademarks.  

Additionally, the report includes information on photographs, artwork, books, music, film clips, dialogue, props, identifiable personalities and much more.

The report will be reviewed by your production lawyer who will determine if particular details may pose legal problems.  The report is also distributed to the director, producers, and any other production personnel who will be creating set dressing, props, signage, wardrobe or other elements from the script.

When should we start on our clearances?

If you intend to release your production to be viewed by an audience, you should have a script clearance report researched at the pre-production stage, prior to shooting the script.  Unless you already have a distribution deal in place, you'll need to find a distributor to release your production.  As the distributor isn't generally part of your creative process, they'll want a guarantee that it doesn't contain any materials which could cause an infringement, defamation of character, or other legal problems that would result in them being sued. 

Clearing the content of a script before beginning to shoot is highly recommended, since some elements can't be changed once the production is finished.  Failing to complete the necessary clearances could result in having to redo elements (expensive editing costs) or if that's not possible, the inability to screen or distribute the production at all.

Once you have a locked script, the first thing you should do is start your clearances.  The main reasons for that are:

  1. You want to know if your main character names are clear and if not, you may need to work on some alternates;
  2. The longer you wait, the greater the cost in having a report prepared (there are various turnaround times and rates for reports depending on how quickly you need it);
  3. Getting permission to use real brand names and products in your production can often take several weeks;
  4. A full script report can assist you in meeting the needs of your producers e&o insurance - otherwise known as film e&o insurance or multimedia e&o -  requirements.

Who are these clearance people?  Can anyone do a script clearance report?

Script research and script clearance workers must be very detail oriented and organized.  There are often many details and facts that need to be checked which means using a wide variety of specialized databases and resources, making phone calls and creative problem solving to obtain information.  Understanding legal issues, copyrights, trademarks and clearance issues are a must and in a specialized field, there are very few people who can accurately advise on this topic.

Producers' Errors and Omissions Insurance  Learn More

Guest post by Krista

Krista Johnston is the owner of The Research House Clearance Services Inc., a Canadian company that provides script clearance reports, title clearance reports, footage and stills consulting and permissions placements and has clients in Canada, the USA, Australia, France, Germany, the U.K. and South Africa.  For more information on clearances check out http://www.researchhouse.ca/.

 

RELATED LINKS:

Script Clearance/Title Search Cost

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, Film Producers, Documentary Insurance, Film Production Companies, Script Clearance reports