Starting a new film project can be an exciting time. Unfortunately, this excitement can be short-lived when you receive a copyright infringement letter. Whether you are creating a film designed to go to DVD, want to show it at a film festival, or aim to broadcast it on TV, you need to know how copyright law works and how to avoid infringement lawsuits. Learn more below about how to protect your company from copyright infringement and how film production insurance is essential in the filmmaking industry.
Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
Copyright infringement is defined as the violation, theft, or piracy of a copyright holder’s exclusive rights by using his or her copyrighted work or material without authorization. Also known as infringement of copyright, this law is backed by the federal U.S. Copyright Act. To be considered an infringement, it must meet certain conditions. First, the owner must possess a valid copyright. Next, the alleged infringer has to be able to access the copyrighted work. Finally, the duplication of the copyrighted work must have occurred beyond exceptions. There are some common exceptions to copyright law, such as face-to-face instruction, fair use, and virtual instruction. These are often used by educators.
While you never expect someone to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against your company, it happens more often than you think. This can occur when an individual believes that you have used their work without prior authorization. In some instances, the infringer may be liable for actual damages that were suffered by the owner. If found guilty, the copyright owner may be entitled to recover damages suffered as a result of the infringement. This may include any profits made from the use of the work, as well as compensation for certain statutory damages.
Protect With Production Insurance
Production insurance is a must-have for businesses in the entertainment industry. It essentially acts as a safeguard for your films, no matter what size and how much the film is profiting. Production insurance can be used to cover a wide range of damages, such as broken equipment or onset injuries. Depending on where you live, the law may require that you have production insurance before you can even start filming. It is important to check with your local laws to determine if production insurance is a requirement for your company. However, even if it is not, it is still good to have.
Three Main Types of Production Insurance
When it comes to production insurance, there are three main types of policies: short-term, long-term, and annual. Short-term production insurance typically covers your productions on a project-to-project basis, meaning the policy can provide coverage for as little as one day. Long-term production insurance is best suited for production companies who work on multiple projects over a period of time. If you plan to have four or more projects going during the course of a single year, you may want to consider acquiring annual production insurance. If you have an established production company, having production insurance year round is ideal to ensure that you are protected from all possible scenarios
Facing Infringement Claims
If your business is facing a claim of infringement, you will want to act quickly. In some cases, your liability insurance will cover any losses related to the copyright infringement claims. Agencies will often settle smaller claims to avoid having to go to court. However, if the claim is substantial, legal defense may be required as the case will likely need to go to court. If this happens, having insurance can be invaluable as it will help cover all or some of the settlement amount.
Production Insurance & Additional Risk
Working in the entertainment industry puts your company at risk in a number of ways. All it takes is one small slip up and you could be facing a major lawsuit. While having production insurance can be useful when you are protecting against copyright infringement, it can also be useful for other purposes too. For example, a delay can result in a significant financial loss if a cast member becomes injured and unable to work. Having adequate insurance can help ensure that any loss income is covered. The same concept applies to sets, props, wardrobe, and equipment that is lost or damaged during the production process.
Contact an Entertainment Insurance Broker
Copyright infringement is a very serious matter that can have severe repercussions if a production company is found to be guilty in a court of law. Fortunately, having the right type of entertainment insurance can protect production companies from financial ruin. Finding the right policy for your company is not always easy. Trust an industry professional to help guide you in the right direction. To learn more about how production insurance can help protect your business or to apply for a policy, contact the entertainment insurance brokers at MFE Insurance today.