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Topic: Insurance: Do composers need it?

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  1. #1

    Insurance: Do composers need it?

    I was wondering, how many of you guys bother with some form of professional indemnity insurance?

    Has a client ever threatened to sue for late delivery of music or something?

    I know insurance to cover your gear is fairly obvious and sensible, Im wondering more about insuring yourself or your business.

    Thanks.
    ---------------------------
    - SCA - Sound Studios -
    www.sca-soundstudios.com
    ---------------------------

  2. #2

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Cairns
    I was wondering, how many of you guys bother with some form of professional indemnity insurance?

    Has a client ever threatened to sue for late delivery of music or something?

    I know insurance to cover your gear is fairly obvious and sensible, Im wondering more about insuring yourself or your business.

    Thanks.
    I have never thought about this, however I would recommend that all contracts specify as to what constitutes delivery. I have been asked to change things, often because of a re-cut, and people have still expected me to "deliver" on time. I tend to put the boot on the other foot; make sure that the production company abide by my deadlines, and then if I am asked to change anything then I have the money to hire extras helpers if necessary.

    Daryl

  3. #3

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Cairns
    I was wondering, how many of you guys bother with some form of professional indemnity insurance?

    Has a client ever threatened to sue for late delivery of music or something?

    I know insurance to cover your gear is fairly obvious and sensible, Im wondering more about insuring yourself or your business.

    Thanks.
    Are you having some trouble on a current project?

    If so it just sounds like an underhanded ploy on their part to get you to cave in and accept less money from the gig.

    I don't know if a client can sue you for late delivery of music. What would it benefit them to sue you?

    I personally never put a delivery date or even promise one in writing. do you do that and is this common?

    Just curious. The only thing that I can think of if a client is trying to sue you is that they're just trying to scare you into giving up some money that they owe you.

    Jose

  4. #4

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Hi, no Im not having trouble with any current clients, more being cautious and planning ahead.

    As for delivery dates, yes I have to put them, particularly for games as certain stages of development may require music at certain times for implementation along the way.
    ---------------------------
    - SCA - Sound Studios -
    www.sca-soundstudios.com
    ---------------------------

  5. #5

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Hi,

    Another type of insurance that many people do not think of when they get into this kind of business is disability. Because you are not working directly for a company that may have this as part of their benefits package, what do you do if you suddenly become ill? A guy I know recently had a stroke (he was young too - in his 30's) and was unable to work for several months. He had no disability insurance and is struggling quite a bit financially as a result. Depending on the coverage and your health, it can be expensive or reasonable.

    FWIW, I think that Paul hit the nail on the head wrt delivery. I would figure that something like disability insurance would be more important. Just a thought.

    FV

  6. #6

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    Also, the rates get really high if you don't have a set time before the payments kick in (anywhere from one to several months). Chances are, if your friend was out for only a few months, disability insurance might not have helped him.
    That's true, Lee. Age is a large factor if you've never had this kind of insurance. If you've got a policy from an earlier age and have kept it up, it is usually no problem. If you can be disciplined enough to have a few months' worth of income set aside, it softens the blow of having to wait a few months for disability cheques to come in.

    It could have been worse for my friend. He was paralyzed on his entire right side and was very close to losing his right hand (doctors were afraid of gangrene setting in). He was lucky that he bounced back so quickly. As it is, he is still unable to work a full day and has difficulty speaking. Any one of us can be hit by a bus or someone in a stolen car quite easily and left in a state where we have huge medical costs combined with a lack of income. While the odds are against this, it can still happen.

    I'm not necessarily saying that it is for everyone. It may look like a waste of money until you actually need it, which, at that point, you'll be extremely glad that you had it. To keep costs down, you can also look at what you could live off of, even if it may not match your current income. When I looked into it, I could have gotten into a policy where I would only have to pay approx. 1.25% of my income.

    The best thing to do is to plan for it, assess your risk, and look at what best fits your situation.

    FV

  7. #7

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Thanks for your replies everyone. Its weird cause Ive been handed a contract recently that actually demands that you have insurance in it.

    Ill have to chat with them about that one.

    Cheers,

    Scott.
    ---------------------------
    - SCA - Sound Studios -
    www.sca-soundstudios.com
    ---------------------------

  8. #8

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    My lawyer makes sure that there is an indemnity clause in my contracts now. Make sure there is one for you in the project you are working on. If the film (or whatever) gets sued for plaigerism, they will usually just sue everyone directly associated with the film as well. The clause insures that you are not liable for the production company's liabilities, even though you were hired to help them make part of the the project in question.

    The best way to cover your behind really is to get an entertainment lawyer to go over your contracts and make sure you are covered in all aspects. In our case, a lawyer specializing in the music side of entertainment law. A lot of this can be taken care of simply by adding specifically worded clauses to the contract. A lawyer will know which ones are vital. It is their job to know.
    Regards,
    Brian W. Ralston

    Check out my new FREE iPhone App! Click Here!

  9. #9

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Scott:

    Not to open a can of worms here, but some clients not only require that they are indemnified against a lawsuit for any music you produce, but also some require that you have something called E&O (Errors and Omissions) insurance -- as it's called here in the 'states.

    Basically, it's a policy that covers publishers should they accidentally (and I mean accidentally -- should it be discovered that the music in question was specifically patterned after an existing cut of music, the policy's useless) produce something that sounds like an existing piece of music.

    The policy is EXPENSIVE. And it provides crappy coverage -- for about $10,000 per year you get about 1 million worth of damages covered. BUT, in this litigious world, there are some psychotic people out there.

    The policy is geared towards self-publishing composers, but mostly for jingle houses, commercial-houses and production music library people.

    Just thought I'd add yet another piece of useless info.

    Stew

  10. #10

    Re: Insurance: Do composers need it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Videohlper
    . . .
    The policy is EXPENSIVE. And it provides crappy coverage -- for about $10,000 per year you get about 1 million worth of damages covered. BUT, in this litigious world, there are some psychotic people out there.
    . . .
    That's cheaper than I thought it would be. Not that ten grand is mere chump change, but I asked my insurance agent about this a long time ago and it seemed more expensive at the time.

    I've always had worries in the back of my mind about some cue I wrote maybe being the same as something I'd heard on the radio the day before. In fact, the better the song I've written, the more I worry, "This must be from some other song."

    The trouble is, with film, television and especially commercials, you can get sued for a LOT. A guy I know got hit a couple years ago for about $200,000 for copyright infringement in a commercial! They wanted even more, but that's what they settled for.

    That one scared the heck out of me. I may just look into this errors and ommisions insurance again.

    - Mike Greene

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