What is media perils insurance?

Generally speaking, a media perils insurance policy protects the policyholder from lawsuits for libel and various intellectual property infringement claims.

If the holder of the policy is sued for a covered claim, the insurance company would pay legal expenses to defend against the lawsuit and also pay any monetary damages or settlements related to the claim.

Often, contracts for writers will push liability for these claims onto the writer, even requiring the writer to indemnify (pay the expenses for) the other party to the contract. Writers should push back on these requirements, especially where the recipient of the work (whether a publisher, magazine or any other outlet) is going to be doing some editing. The original writer cannot control the editing, and shouldn’t be solely responsible for the final product.

If the writer cannot avoid these provisions in an agreement, the writer should consider getting a media perils policy to protect itself.

A savvy author looking at a publishing agreement should look closely at the allocation of these risks. The author should push for a provision in the publishing agreement that requires the publisher, not the author, to carry a media perils policy and to add the author as an additional insured on that policy.