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.


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.


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

What Is A Trademark? Trademarks Explained

Posted by Tarek Elneweihi on Jun 26, 2015 2:45:00 PM

Trademark logoWHAT IS A TRADEMARK?

A trademark is a word, a symbol, a design (or a combination of these features), used to distinguish the wares or services of one person or organization from those of others in the marketplace. In other words, it is legal and business tool that allows you to have a unique identity in the marketplace.

Trademarks come to represent not only actual wares and services, but also the reputation of the producer. As such, they are considered valuable intellectual property. A registered trademark can be protected through legal proceedings from misuse and imitation.

A trademark can be any special element used to promote and distinguish your business and the services and products you sell. This means that a trademark could be a logo, a name, a slogan, colours, packaging or sounds.

You can also trademark a description that is not typically associated with a product or service so along as the description is not misleading and original coined terms that don’t have a dictionary definition.

Business and company names that are too descriptive, using words or practices that are commonly used do not usually qualify and make for weaker marks in any event.

Examples of well-known trademarks include the CBC logo, Molson’s “I am Canadian” slogan, and the Vancouver Canucks logo and name that appears in the player’s jerseys. As you know, these logos, names and slogans are synonymous with a brand's identity.

Who can register a trademark?

Companies, individuals, partnerships, trade unions and lawful associations may obtain registration of their marks of identification for wares or services, provided they meet the requirements of the Trademarks Act and Regulations.

Should you register a trademark?

Just as a marriage can be registered officially or remain common-law, so can a trademark. That means a trademark exists and you have legal rights around it as soon as you start using it. But, a common law trademark does not offer the same legal protection as a registered trademark and so it is highly recommended that you register your trademark to ensure that you have the greatest legal protection and avoid legal issues down the road.

Registration of your trademark gives you the exclusive right to use the mark across Canada for 15 years, renewable every 15 years thereafter. If you wish to apply for a trademark in other countries, you must apply to those countries.

Registration is prima facie, or “at first sight” evidence of your ownership. In a dispute, the registered trademark owner does not have to prove ownership of the trademark as it is initially assumed that the registered trademark is indeed the owner. It is the responsibility of the person or entity challenging your use of the trademark to prove that it is in fact the owner, which is difficult to do if the person or entity is not the registered owner. Use of an unregistered trademark can lead to a lengthy, expensive legal dispute over who has the right to use it.

Consider this scenario: For the past five years, you have been operating a highly successful ice cream emporium under the word “Northpole” in your home town of Nova Scotia. You have never heard of another Northpole and you have never bothered with trademark registration. Meanwhile, an Ontario firm has registered the trademark “Northpole” to identify its growing chain of spaghetti diners and home brand tomato sauce. While conducting research for a Maritime expansion plan, the Ontario firm discovers your store and serves you with a lawsuit. Depending on the facts established with the Court, this may result in a court order preventing you from using the word “Northpole.” This development couldn’t come at a worse time, since you were just planning to expand your own business. The situation could have been avoided if you had solidified your clear rights to the trademark through registration.

Keep in mind also that a registered trademark is a valuable asset for business expansion through licensing franchises. Note as well that if you fail to use the mark for an extended period, your registration may be cancelled.

How to file an application to register a trademark

To apply for a trademark registration, an application is filed together with the appropriate documentation and fee to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The application undergoes stringent examination to ensure it meets the requirements of the Trademarks Act

TradeMark agents

Preparing a trademark application and following through on it can be a complex task, particularly if a third party challenges your right to the mark. You may file on your own, but it is highly recommended that you hire a trademark agent to do so on your behalf.

In order to become a trademark agent, a Canadian resident must have worked in the field of trademarks for at least 24 months, and have passed the qualifying examination. A resident of Canada who is a barrister or solicitor, or a notary in the Province of Quebec, may become a trade- mark agent by passing the qualifying examination or working in the area of trademark law for at least 24 months.

An experienced, competent trademark agent who is well-briefed can save you problems caused by such obstacles as a poorly-prepared application or inadequate research. If you intend to register marks in other countries, the use of a trademark agent is even more strongly recommended.

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Tarek Elneweihi headshotTarek Elneweihi

    • Associate
    • Musician and music producer handling litigation files and entertainment contract
    • Called in BC (2013)
    • tarek@arenaltman.com

ALTMAN & COMPANY | Business and Entertainment Law Suite #202 – 2245 West Broadway Ave., Vancouver BC V6K 2E4 | 604-563-1191 | info@arenaaltman.com

Topics: Altman & Company, Trademark