Model Trade Book Contract



Publisher shall include Author as an "insured" in any publishing liability insurance that is in effect and that is applicable to the Work (the "Policy"). Publisher shall look to the proceeds of that insurance, subject to the terms and conditions of the Policy (which may or may not include defense costs) for payment of losses that may become due from Author by reason of third-party-covered claims alleging violations of the warranties in Section 13 (Representations and Warranties). The parties agree that:

    1. Author shall not be responsible for any premiums due under the Policy;

    1. Author shall be named as an insured only with respect to the Work that is the subject of this Agreement;

    1. insurance coverage is for amounts in excess of the deductible but not greater than the Policy limits;

    1. with respect to Author's obligation to indemnify Publisher for losses, Author shall be responsible for the deductible in an amount up to 50% of the total advance payable under this Agreement; provided, however that if a claim is successfully defended, Author's responsibility for the deductible shall be waived along with all defense costs;

    1. in the event a claim is brought against Author only, Author shall be solely responsible for the deductible.

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Section 16 of the Model Contract provides an example of an insurance clause. Publishers should provide insurance protection for their authors against claims of libel, invasion of privacy, and related risks. Most publishers extend coverage under their liability policies to their authors at no cost to them. If you believe that your work might offend a potential plaintiff, then it is especially important to raise this issue during contract negotiations. If the publisher agrees to insure you under its policy, then make sure that your contract explicitly guarantees it. Ask your publisher to state the deductible and whether it is a "claims-made" or "occurrence" policy. You, the author, also should be a named insured in the policy.


If the publisher will not provide libel insurance, or if it requires you to pay the entire deductible, try to cap your responsibility to indemnify the publisher up to the amount of the advance, as illustrated by Section 16(d). The Authors Guild recommends that this percentage should be capped to a portion of the amounts payable to you under the contract (such as 50% of the total advance in Section 16(d)). However, be aware that many publishers will object to these limits, or will accept only one of them, but this does not mean that you should not press for these changes as they can have major ramifications.


If you want to obtain your own coverage, the Authors Guild has a relationship with insurers that can give you beneficial pricing on media liability insurance policies.