Copyright Infringement: How can musicians stay protected?

Tysers Insurance Brokers |


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Copyright claims against musicians are on the rise with many high profile cases recently hitting the headlines. Musicians not only have to contend with possible copyright claims from living musicians, but from the heirs of deceased artists and composers. After the 2015 ‘Blurred Lines’ copyright case, where Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were deemed to have plagiarised the “feel” of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give it up’, a precedent was set which opened up the possibility for many other musical copyright cases.

Copyright trials are a lengthy and expensive process regardless of the outcome, and the ruling can also be unpredictable, as a jury with no musical expertise is tasked with determining where the line is drawn between inspiration or coincidence and copyright infringement.

As a musician or artist, there is no way to guarantee you won’t face a copyright infringement claim at some point in your career, however you can protect yourself financially by taking out a Professional Indemnity Insurance policy tailored to the Media and Entertainment industry.

Professional Indemnity Insurance is a highly recommended cover across all sectors, however for those working in the music industry you should take care to ensure your policy provides the right protection for Media Liabilities including Intellectual Property Infringement and Defamation.


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Professional Indemnity Insurance: A Brief Summary

There are many sections within a Professional Indemnity policy that can provide financial protection for music industry professionals against civil liability claims.

A Professional Indemnity Insurance policy (sometimes known as Errors & Omissions Insurance) will cover legal defence costs and damages awarded to claimants due to civil claims arising from your business’ activities. For musicians and performers your business’ activities would typically include the writing, recording and production of music, the promotion of your music (e.g. social media, interviews and other promotions released by your team), live performances and touring.

A Professional Indemnity policy for musicians and performers would typically include the following clauses:

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Intellectual Property Infringement (copyright infringement)

If someone alleges a song you have released is lyrically or musically too similar to an existing copyrighted song you may find yourself subject to a claim. Copyright can also extend to music videos, album art and other associated assets.


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If an individual or organisation alleges you have made false statements against them which have damaged their reputation, caused harm to their career, caused mental anguish or emotional distress. Claims could arise from statements made in a song or music video, or in interviews or comments posted online.


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Right of Privacy

Disclosure of private facts about a person or organisation to an unauthorised third party, or to the general public. A of right of privacy breach could be unintentional, for instance, if you were unaware that certain information about another person you disclosed during an interview wasn’t public knowledge, or posting pictures of others to social media without permission which is deemed to infringe on their Right of Privacy.


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Other recommended covers

In addition to Professional Indemnity Insurance, there are other covers that we would advise for musicians and other music industry professionals. Touring musicians and performers will require public and employers liability insurance for live performances and touring, and cover for instruments and equipment is highly recommended, alongside travel insurance and medical insurance.


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Tysers can provide the following though our Band & Performer cover:

  • Public Liability & Employers Liability Insurance – Worldwide cover available
  • Musical Instrument and Equipment Insurance
  • Travel Insurance and Medical Cover – UK, EEA and Worldwide cover available
  • Cancellation/Non Appearance Insurance
  • Motor, Trailer & Truck Insurance
  • Loss of Touring Revenue & Cancellation Insurance



We also offer a range of covers for Music Industry Professionals including Event Organisers, Producers, Event Promoters and Freelancers.


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