Before you can purchase errors and omissions insurance for your film project, you will need to conduct a title search, draft a title report, and obtain an attorney title opinion letter. These are necessary steps for every film project with hopes of distribution. The Clearance Lab provides affordable, efficient, and professional title searches, reports, and opinions so that you can obtain your E&O insurance and move to the next stage in your film project. The process is made up of three steps: the Title Search, Title Report, and Title Opinion. LEARN MORE
A Film or Television Title Report is the final compilation and detailing of the history of the use of the title you have chosen for your production in all types of media – film, television, publishing, music, etc. It summarizes the Title Search and identifies any potential legal hazards for your title. It is necessary that your chosen title does not infringe on any previously existing trademarks or copyrights, and that the title you have chosen will not be mistakenly associated with another well-known film titles. The Title Report also provides information about any other previous and current projects being produced with the same title. Although titles are not subject to copyright, they can fall under trademark protection if they have become so ubiquitous that they are indelibly linked to the film. The Title Report documents the fact that your use of a particular title is not likely to raise any legal issues, which is what allows you to obtain Errors and Omissions Coverage. LEARN MORE
The title search involves a comprehensive search of U.S. and Canadian trademark and copyright databases, along with exhaustive searches of various film, music, and print catalogs. We are looking for prior uses of your title in any media, as well as any similar titles which may raise legal issues. The compiled information will be used to develop the Title Report. Often, the term “title search” or “title clearance” are used in place of “title report” when they are all describing the same thing. LEARN MORE
A title opinion letter is a document drafted by an attorney who has reviewed a title report prepared for the producer. In the letter, the attorney will express his or her opinion regarding the level of risk involved in the use of the title, and declare whether or not the attorney thinks it is wise to proceed with the given title. Many E&O carriers and distributors require an attorney to review your title report and draft an opinion. LEARN MORE
A script clearance report provides information needed to satisfy your E&O carrier and also alerts the producer to areas of possible legal exposure in the script. Not only will this smooth your E&O application process, but the utilization of a script clearance report will prevent costly mistakes that can slow down or even end the distribution process. LEARN MORE
A script clearance report breaks down your script to identify any elements that could cause legal conflict including business names, character names, product names, organizations, locations, defamatory references, racial slurs, artwork, music, film clips, dialogue, props, identifiable personalities and the use of protected material in the form of copyrights or trademarks. LEARN MORE
Chain of title
In the motion picture industry, the chain of title involves a series of documents which establishes proprietary rights in a film. The chain also applies to compilations in other fields, where many people have contributed to the project, thus acquiring authorship rights, or where materials were culled from many sources. Chain of title is extremely important to film purchasers and to film distributors, as it establishes the veracity of the owner’s proprietary rights (or rights under license) in the intellectual property in a film, book or encyclopedia.
Chain of title documentation can include:
clearances for music and footage;
talent agreements, which should incorporate a legal release from the talent, be they actors (including crowds), directors, cinematographers, choreographers, or others, to use their works, images, likeness and other personality rights in the film;
proof of errors and omission insurance (a special form of insurance for motion picture producers which covers omissions in obtaining adequate chain of title).
Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance offers specialized coverage for a variety of media risks and is a prerequisite for establishing a distribution network for your project. E&O Coverage indemnifies producers from lawsuits that may arise including but not limited to:
- infringement of copyright
- infringement of trademark, title or slogan
- libel or slander
- invasion of privacy
- plagiarism or unjust competition due to alleged use of titles or ideas
- defamation or degrading of products (trade libel)
- Breach of contract resulting from the alleged submission, acquisition or use of program, musical or literary material used by the Insured in the insured productions.
Film and Television Clearance
Clearance is the process of securing all of the rights required to distribute a motion picture or television project. This process has two major components: obtaining the rights to utilize protected works, appearances, locations, etc. and ensuring that none of your original work infringes upon the rights of another through comprehensive searches conducted by legal clearance experts. The reasons for conducting proper clearance on your project are also twofold. You want to minimize your risk for lawsuits, and E&O carriers and distributors require these steps be taken in order to insure and distribute your project.