I recently got a notice from Travis Scott’s music label about copyright infringement.
Being someone who can't afford a lawsuit with a major brand, I did some research on how to protect myself and to my surprise, it's fairly easy.
If you're someone who puts content out online, you're putting your thoughts and opinions out into the world for anyone to consume them. While we don't always have certain intentions behind our words, some people can interpret them in ways that we didn't intend.
Media liability insurance can help protect creators from surprise lawsuits that come with creating content online.
Media liability insurance a specialized version of E&O insurance (errors & omissions) and while it's fairly unknown, it's a powerful thing for creators.
While the coverage you receive would depend on your policy, media insurance can cover several things including:
That doesn't mean you can freely do these things, but media insurance could help cover the legal costs and potential damages if you were to be sued.
For example, let's say you were making a YouTube video and you had several short clips from songs in the background. Then, one music producer sues for copyright infringement because you didn't have permission to use it.
This is kind of what happened to me with the Travis Scott situation - I made a 60 second intro/promo video when I started my company last year and had the STOP TRYING TO BE GOD instrumental playing in the background for the first 10 seconds. It was quiet, I faded it out, and never thought twice about it.
(I also thought I read somewhere that as long as it's under 10 seconds you can't get in trouble for using a song... who knows 🤷🏻)
Luckily, all that happened was Twitter deleted the media from the post. But depending on the insurance coverage you have, the insurance company could help cover legal expenses and any settlement charges in a situation like this.
The term "media" and "creator" is very broad so a few people that would fall into the media umbrella would include:
Basically, if you put any kind of content online regularly, you should consider having media insurance.
While costs vary depending on the desired coverage, the potential exposure, and the types of content among other things, media insurance policies can range from $500/year all the way up to $2,500+/year.
Another factor that plays a role in the cost is the size of your business.
For example, a large media publication that has 100+ writers and creators publishing content around politics would have a higher cost than a solo creator who creates content around how to use Notion.
Do you reallyyy need to purchase a media insurance policy?
Chances are, probably not.
There are millions of creators out there and the odds that you get involved in a lawsuit are pretty small. And as a solo creator, I know adding another monthly expense — that you may never even need to use — to your plate doesn't sound too appetizing.
However, a lawsuit can be devastating to a business - one misinterpreted piece of content or unlicensed use of a song could put a halt to a career.
Media liability insurance is designed to protect us creators and could save thousands of dollars and lots of headache in the event of a lawsuit. So while you may not think you need it, when it comes to insurance and legal protection, it's usually better to be safe than sorry.