Stuckey & Co. Answers When Business is Liable for Blogs, Email, RSS Feeds

January 31, 2008

Nearly every company distributes electronic content over the Internet. There are 100 million daily video streams from alone, more than 60 million blogs being disseminated, more than 60 billion emails per day, and RSS feeds have reached nearly 275 million (so many that servers are experiencing denial of service attacks).

Many of the companies using these mechanisms to promote their products and services are unaware of the potential risks, according to Maggie Hammett, senior technology underwriter at Stuckey & Co. Insurance, a specialty insurance program manager based in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.

In fact, Hammett says these companies can be held liable for unwittingly publishing defamatory comments or content that infringes on copyrights or trademarks — even though they did not create the offending content. Technology companies like media companies, Internet service providers, technology companies, and even some general business companies are all at risk.

Some of these companies might be protected under a general liability policy. “However, most of the time underwriting guidelines for technology companies will force the insurance carrier to exclude personal injury claims,” says Hammett.

Stuckey & Co. offers a solution for technology companies. The firm’s Electronic Media Activity coverage goes beyond standard personal injury coverage. The new policy forms now offer protection for five main areas of protection:

1. Defamation: Any form of defamation or other tort related to the disparagement or harm to the reputation or character of any person or organization, including: libel, slander, product disparagement, trade libel, infliction of emotional distress, mental anguish, outrage, outrageous conduct.

2. Right to privacy: Invasion, infringement or interference with the right to privacy or publicity, including: false light, public disclosure of private facts, intrusion and commercial appropriation ofa name, persona or likeness.

3. Plagiarism/Piracy: Plagiarism, piracy or the misappropriation or unauthorized use of advertising ideas, advertising material, titles, literary or artistic formats, styles or performances.

4. Copyright Infringement: infringement of copyright, domain name, trademark, trade dress, title, slogan, service mark, service name.

5. Negligence: negligence with respect to the insured’s creation or
dissemination of electronic content.

Electronic Media Activities services are typically not described on professional liability insurance policies as a covered service. Stuckey’s policy gives coverage for electronic publishing, web casting, or other distribution of electronic content on the Internet. Coverage includes copyright, domain name, trademark, trade name, trade dress, service mark, service name, title and slogan. The new policy also allows the option to include first-party network operations security coverage. This coverage gives an insured protection against unauthorized access, unauthorized use or a denial of service attack to the insured’s computer system.

Stuckey is focused on small to mid-sized technology accounts and offers low minimum premiums like $1,000 for a $1,000,000 limit. New rating factors for individual risk characteristics are also available.

Source: Stuckey & Co.

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