Fergus Cassidy mentions a firm in the UK offering libel/slander/copyright violation insurance to journalists and he inquired (no word back yet) as to whether they cover bloggers.
The one bit that caught my eye and made me say “can they really do that?” was this:
More and more publications are now requiring freelancers to indemnify against libel/slander/defamation as a condition of accepting the story
I would have thought the publications as the ones publishing were the ones liable, contract or no. What’s the point in writing for the big orgs if they are not going to protect you?
[…] Damien wonders: ‘I would have thought the publications as the ones publishing were the ones liable, contract or no’. […]
I’d imagine that ‘freelancers’ is the key word there. You’re essentially working for yourself and selling them a story, so you gotta cover your own ass.
Just a guess really. I’m not a journalist.
If they’re not naming names and mentioning which UK publications are engaging in a practice which’d get them blacklisted by the NUJ, I’d vote for ‘making shit up in order to sell policies’.
Even as a young staff journalist a libel writ could be a career-ending notice, or so our lecturers continue to tell us.
An indemnity doesn’t mean that Publication X is no longer liable to victim Y. Instead it means that Publication X, having paid off victim Y, can pursue hapless freelancer Z for the sum paid to Y. (Plus costs, of course. Let’s not forget the costs. You can be sure that us lawyers won’t.)
Have any bloggers taken out libel insurance, and if so, with whom? Do you reckon it’s a necessity?