06 Aug 2012 5 Comments
Guest post by Adam Hirsch, expert in bloggers insurance
Ok, so let’s say, you wake up the next morning after some serious deliberation on the subject of bloggers insurance, and decide that you need and want a liability policy for your blog. You’ve decided that you’re not in a position to afford legal defense, in case you are sued over your blogging activities (I’m tailoring this towards all of you who blog, either as a hobby, or as a part-time business. Those of you whose income is derived primarily from blogging, likely know the exposure you have, already.) You’ve weighed it out, and since you get enough pleasure and/or income from blogging, you’re not going to cease blogging. However, because of the risk of a potential lawsuit; you want to protect yourself, your family, and your home. You’ve crunched the numbers, and you realize that one lawsuit for an exposure like libel or copyright infringement could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars without insurance; and, because you read part I of my series (which can be reviewed again here) …you realize that the attorney’s fees, alone, could be exorbitant…..so, what’s the next step? It’s not to rush out and buy the first liability policy that you find (and, very few insurance companies offer coverage designed for bloggers.) The key, in my opinion, is to understand exactly what you’re buying. You need to understand what is covered by whatever policy you purchase. Keep in mind, every policy is different, and your needs may be different from the next blogger. Please check with your agent or insurance company, and ask them to review with you the coverage you’ll be receiving. In particular, ask him or her whether the policy he or she is offering , provides coverage for the following (these are critical coverages for a blogger:)
This includes, but, is not limited to libel, slander, and product disparagement. Product disparagement is very important coverage for bloggers, because many of you review products, in the course of your blogging. With this coverage you can review that digital camera or children’s game, give your honest opinion, and sleep well, knowing that if you are sued, not only are you covered up to the policy limits (from $100,000 to $2,000,000…or more,) but also, you’re provided with free legal defense. What if you blog about a bad experience you had at a major department store. Let’s say they gave you really bad service, and you tell the world about it. You blog about how awful your experience was, and anyone would be crazy to shop there. You’re probably not going to get sued over it. But, what if you are? Can you afford the legal costs to defend yourself? Defamation coverage is crucial for all bloggers to have.
Intellectual Property Rights
This sounds complicated, but, it’s really very simple. This coverage protects you, if you inadvertently infringe on anyone’s copyright, trademark, service mark, or (what’s becoming more and more relevant) domain name rights. Think about it, do you check with an attorney, each time you blog, to make sure you’re not infringing on someone’s copyrighted photograph? Or, slogan? Are you 100% sure that phrase you used, innocently, isn’t copyrighted by the author? Right, most people don’t. Maybe, large corporations can afford an in-house staff of attorneys, but there’s a good chance you and I can’t. What about if you fail to provide credit to another source? What if you forget to attribute authorship? Again, Intellectual property rights coverage is crucial for bloggers.
Invasion of Privacy
Is it conceivable that through your blogging you invade someone else’s privacy? What if you accidentally disclose facts through your blogging that were meant to be kept private? Let’s say a neighbor sues you, because you mentioned in your blog that he is getting divorced. You’re thinking at the time you write it that’s no big deal, because everyone in the community knows. Unfortunately, your neighbor has deep pockets to hire an attorney, and he sues you? Here’s the thing…what if you’re in the right, and he has no case against you? Without liability insurance, you will still have to pay for an attorney to defend yourself.
Errors & Omissions
If, in the course of your blogging, you misrepresent something. Omit something you shouldn’t have. Let’s say you’re negligent in some way through your blogging. I’m not an attorney, and there’s a good chance you aren’t, also. Again, it’s about sleeping well at night.
The list, above, doesn’t include every coverage provided by a blogger’s liability policy-it just gives you an overview; however, as I mentioned in Part I of my articles (seen if you click here) , the most important reason to carry a blogger’s liability policy is that it covers you for all legal costs. That, alone, is worth the premium you pay.
If you would like to discuss this with me, you are more than welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 517-230-6468. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.