As our contemporary society gets more and more litigious, should Rock Stars – scapegoats du jour since Ronald Reagan ruled the free world – have professional indemnity insurance?
By: Ringo Bones
For those of us old enough to remember the PMRC Rock Music censorship debacle and the “frivolous” wrongful death lawsuit against Judas Priest, We – the music loving public - managed to reach a consensus back then that Tipper Gore’s PMRC is nothing more than a US Government scheme to misdirect the American public’s ire against Sen. John McCain, Charles Keating and the rest of the folks that brought us the Lincoln Savings & Loan Scandal of 1989. But does the “Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics” warning label still hold enough political clout to protect Rock Stars against any liability pertaining to professional indemnity related lawsuits? After all, as professional singers / musicians they do fall under the legalese purview of professional indemnity, right?
Professional indemnity insurance is usually used to protect you – the practitioner of your chosen profession – from legal action taken for losses incurred as a result of your professional advice – i.e. what you say regardless of whether it is based on opinion or fact. Under existing law, professional indemnity insurance provides indemnity cover if your client (do fans and audience members count?) suffers a loss - either - material, financial or physical – directly attributed to negligent acts. Frivolous lawsuit or not, does this mean that Rock stars should be held accountable for what they say / preach?
But this does raise problems – especially when it comes to the fidelity of the playback medium that the artistic works of these so-called Rock Stars are delivered. Did Lady Gaga really said “F-F-F_ Her Face” when heard through a lo-fi audio playback system – especially when the medium is a highly compressed and somewhat not-so-pristine MP3 download? This is probably the reason why an overwhelming majority of record label executives are not so gaga when it comes to sound quality. Maybe it is all down to liability? – enough said.