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 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, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Title reports, Film Production Companies

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, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Title reports

E&O Insurance Protects Against Invasion of Privacy and False Light

Posted by Casey Budden on Oct 26, 2018 7:10:24 AM

E&O Film Insurance & False Light Accusations

False light accusations

You’ve made it! After much hard work, your film is finished and being widely screened in theatres. Audiences love it, and very positive reviews have appeared in several notable publications. Pride and excitement are the order of the day as everyone involved enjoys the fruits of their labor. Extreme care was taken in the production, so you’re shocked when you’re informed that a lawsuit has been brought against you for invasion of privacy.

Invasion of privacy is a serious risk to which filmmakers are exposed, and it’s difficult to anticipate all possible sources of legal action.

Imagine this scenario:

Your movie is an adaptation of a well-known book—let’s say, a roman a clef about a Canadian rail disaster. Due to the length of the book and the demands of the feature film format, some artistic license necessarily had to be taken and the book was heavily adapted from the original. This is not unusual, but unfortunately an actual person recognized himself in one of your characters and took serious issue with the way he was depicted.

Claims of this sort are fairly common and fall under the rubric of “false light” accusations. The typical argument is that a specific characterization is unflattering and transparent enough that the average member of the public can easily deduce who it is based upon. In other words, the party in question has been presented “in a false light.”

Let’s also consider a second scenario:

Your film is a documentary about the Canadian boxing world. You’re very careful about securing releases from all parties discussed in your film and all recognizable persons who appear in the background. You’re confident that you’ve taken all necessary precautions, but you still receive notice that one of the fighters discussed has initiated a lawsuit against you for public disclosure of embarrassing facts. While your depiction was accurate, your film included some discussion of the fighter’s life after the boxing world and went into detail about a failed business venture. The party concerned considers this information embarrassing and not relevant to the subject of the documentary.

What can be done?

Generally, claims of invasion of privacy are more successful if the plaintiff can argue that:

  • The subject matter would be highly offensive to a reasonable person
  • The information is not of legitimate concern to the public (i.e., the information is not newsworthy).

It’s obvious that these terms are highly subjective. What constitutes “highly offensive?” Who is this fabled “reasonable person?” And what exactly is of “legitimate concern” to the public? Even when extreme care has been used, a lawsuit is sometimes unavoidable.

A Producers’ Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance Policy Is The Best Protection.

The last thing you want is to face a costly lawsuit after your film has already been released. An Errors & Omissions policy protects the entire lifespan of your project against situations such as the above, by helping arrange a legal defense against:

  • Allegations of unauthorized use of titles, formats, ideas, characters, plots, plagiarism
  • Allegations of libel, slander, and defamation of character
  • Allegations of invasion of privacy

Contact us for more information.

 

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, Multimedia Risk Insurance, Title reports

Producers E&O: Avatar Producer Receives Credit Where Credit Is Earned

Posted by David Hamilton on May 26, 2015 11:53:00 AM

James Cameron's Avatar and E&O Insurance

Producers E&O and AvatarShutterstock: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 698349049

TV and Film Producers E&O protects producers from unfounded claims ALLEGING misappropriation of film story ideas.

Avatar is a movie that was released in 2009. Most people think James Cameron came up with it, including James Cameron. Until one day a man spoke out and claimed that he pitched this multi-award winning movie to Cameron. Sounds like a case where Producer’s Errors & Omissions insurance might come into play.

Apparently the two had a meeting in the early nineties, and it was at this meeting that Cameron, also known as the director of TERMINATOR decided to start getting movie ideas from someone he barely knew. Not likely! As the Judge put it: Cameron’s ideas before 1991 included “transporting consciousness to another form, evil mercenaries attempting to exploit resources in a jungle-ike setting, a jungle containing bioluminescent plants and unusual animals, a protagonist fighting alongside natives against a superior fighting force and a sentient planet.”

Since the plaintiffs claims appear to be somewhat frivolous, let’s take a look at producer’s errors & omissions insurance and see how it would help in this situation. Producers Errors and Omissions Insurance covers legal liability and defense for the production company against lawsuits alleging unauthorized use of titles, formats, ideas, characters, plots, plagiarism, unfair competition or privacy, breach of contract (implied-in-fact). It also protects against alleged libel, slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy. This coverage will usually be required by a distributor, broadcaster or financier prior to the release of any theatrical or television production.

Production financing will usually not flow until Producers E&O coverage is in force. When quoting Producer’s Errors and Omissions insurance on a film project, we always ask if the producers have “Title Clearance” and if they have done their legal due diligence to make sure they aren’t engaging in copyright infringement. In the case of Avatar, Cameron would have had to represent on the Producers E&O application that to the best of his knowledge he was not willfully copying someone else’s work. In the event of a lawsuit, the insurance carrier will cover defense costs associated with the suit.

In addition, the Producers E&O will even pay for rulings against the E&O policy holder. If, however, the client has misrepresented a fact or committed a crime, the Producer’s Errors and Omissions policy becomes void. Film and TV Producers Errors and Omissions insurance is a worthwhile investment if you're a film producer.

Topics: Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Title 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

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 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
Contact Front Row Insurance Brokers to learn more about Film Errors & Omissions Insurance coverage. 
 
 
 
 

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

Film E&O Insurance Clearance Procedures for Producers - Part 1 of 3

Posted by David Hamilton on May 24, 2010 12:13:00 PM

E&O FILM INSURANCE CLEARANCE PROCEDURES

Good film E&O insurance - otherwise known as multimedia E&O - clearance procedures will result in the lowest possible premium and the simplest claims settlement in the event of a loss.


Producers E&O insurance covers: invasion of privacy, infringement of copyright, libel, slander, defamation, plagiarism.

The Clearance Procedures below should not be construed as exhaustive and they do not cover all situations which may arise in any particular circumstance or any particular production.

  1. Applicant and its counsel should continually monitor the production at all stages, from inception through final cut, with a view to eliminating material which could give rise to a claim.
  2. The script should be read prior to commencement of production to eliminate matter which is defamatory, invades privacy or is otherwise potentially actionable.
  3. Unless the work is an unpublished original not based on any other work, a copyright report must be obtained. Both domestic and foreign copyrights and renewal rights should be checked. If a completed film is being acquired, a similar review should be made of copyright and renewals on any copyrighted underlying property.
  4. If the script is an unpublished original, the origins of the work should be ascertained - basic idea, sequence of events and characters. It should be ascertained if submissions of any similar properties have been received by the applicant and, if so, the circumstances as to why the submitting party may not claim theft or infringement should be described in detail.
  5. Prior to final title selection, a Title Report must be obtained.
Part 2
 
Part 3
 
 
Producers' Errors and Omissions Insurance  Learn More
 

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 Producer's E&O Insurance, Title reports