How to Protect Your Podcast

Murray’s Law is our live question and answer session for our MARKEDlegal community members. Join us live next time and invite a friend at https://markedlegal.com

In the meanwhile, watch the replay or listen below.

Podcasts are increasingly growing in popularity. According to nealschaufer.com 33% of Americans listen to podcast and 45% of podcast listeners have a household medium income of $250,000 or more. This explains why more businesses are choosing this medium to share their content. 

If you are starting a podcast or already have one, don’t miss this month’s episode of Murray’s Law. Attorney Murray will give you the inside scope on what you should know about podcasting from a legal standpoint.

3 Legal Points to Consider When Launching Your Podcast: 

1. Trademarks- Just because you don’t see your podcast name doesn’t mean it’s available.

2. Contracts-  Successful podcasters work with other people to make the magic happen. From guests, sponsors, and co-hosts, make sure you have the proper rights and releases to launch worry-free.

3. Copyrights- Do you really own the rights to your cover art, logo, and intro music? 

Download the full checklist below.


Boom. Here are my notes. So today’s subject is so needed. Everyone. I know either has a podcast or is starting a podcast is very, very popular. And that’s mainly because I think, especially depending on which audience you’re looking for, like, I know my audience doesn’t have a lot of time. They can’t sit still and watch a video or necessarily read a blog post where they can pop in their AirPods and they can listen to the information while they’re cleaning the house, or while they’re taking a walk or going to work or something of that nature. But so it’s more convenient. And also with podcast statistics show that the average listener has an, an average household income. I’ve seen a couple of different numbers between 75,200 $50,000. And most of ’em are college graduates. So depending on your, who your audience is, podcasting is perfect.

But what a lot of people do when it comes to podcasting is like, okay, I wanna start a podcast. What do I need to do? You know, what kind of microphone do I need? And speaking of microphone y’all can hear me. Can’t y’all hear me, let me know in the chat. If you all can hear me, I believe you all can hear me, but what kind of microphone are, are you using things of that nature? You know, what, what type of software editing do you need? Like what platform do you need to use, which are really great questions, really legitimate question when it comes to podcasts, but what oftentimes is forgotten, they don’t even think about the legal part of it. And that’s really true. What most aspects of business that the legal part is out of sight outta mind. I don’t know, but I wanna make sure that you all know what’s needed and what’s necessary in order for you to start a podcast from a legal standpoint.

So, first thing, when you’re considering that legal part, you gotta realize that there are several different types of podcast. You have like the monologue podcast, which is what I normally do when I’m there. And I’m talking, I’m giving you the information. It’s just me talking most of the time, those, those subject matter experts doing that. You have an interview style podcast, and we do a little bit of that too, with our journey podcast, where you, you have the main podcast host that invites the guest stone to talk about something or be interviewed on a certain subject. And then you also have the co-host where you have two hosts. So the co-hosting and they just talk back and forth. So with each one of those podcasts, there is something from a legal standpoint that you should know. And so we’re just going to talk about some of those things tonight during our, during our Murray’s law and for every anyone that’s new, this is your first time joining us for Murray’s law.

Welcome. So glad you’re here. It is our live Q and a session. So tonight’s topic is how to protect your podcast from a legal standpoint, I’m gonna go through everything. And then if you have questions, you can definitely drop your questions in the chat and we’ll go from there. But when it comes to podcast, most people, the first thing they, they do after deciding what style a podcast they’re gonna have and say, oh, what am I gonna name my podcast? And they come up with some creative name. Well, right there, right there from the very beginning, you need to be considering trademarks. Remember trademarks will take the brand identifier. So your name is identifying your podcast. And when people see that name, they can understand, and they’ll real realize, or there’ll no from experience or from word of mouth, what type of content to, to expect. Now, one of the things you have to realize with podcasts and, you know, one thing the quick, a quick way to do it is to go through the podcast platforms and see if that name is taken or something similar to it. But what you have to keep in mind, especially nowadays, because a lot of business owners are choosing to use podcasting as their content platform. So what you have are a lot of service businesses, or even a lot of product based businesses that now have podcasts of the same brand name.

So even if certain businesses don’t have those podcasts, because it’s so common. Now, if you have a podcast I’m just gonna use us. For example, that talks about law and there is a law firm or another bus business that offers legal services are the same name. You might receive an office action because they may say there’s a likelihood of confusion because so many people in this industry that provides this service also has podcasts. And so it’s naturally natural that consumers would identify or connect the podcast to this service. So those are just things that you want to think about, which is why. And that’s what we do. You wanna make sure that you have a proper trademark clearance search before you commit to that name. Make sure when you come up with a name, come up with like a list of three or four. That way, if the first name is taken, you won’t be heartbroken and we can go onto the next name.

Now, another thing, when it comes to your trademark with your podcast, you might need multiple trademarks. And that’s because you might have a trademark for the podcast name itself, like the overall name, and then what we’ve done with several clients. They also have certain segments in their podcast and those segments, if they are a U unique name, then they can also be protected by trademark. And if the trade, if the, if the podcast is produced by a brand that is not the podcast name. So for instance, Nicole Walter’s podcast is produced by dear media. So dear, so the Nicole Walter’s podcast will be trademarked their, their media as the production company will be trademarked too. Even if you have your own in-house trademark, I mean, in-house company brand, that’s producing the podcast. If it’s not the same name as the podcast, then you want to consider getting a trademark for it, for those services.

Or if you already have a trademark or you following an application for your service based business or your product based business, and this, this business is also gonna produce the podcast, just add an additional class for that podcast. So legal issue, number one, number two, the music, you know, you can’t have a podcast without a good intro and outro B right? Make sure that you have a license to use that music. You can get use Royal to free music or may just make sure you have the proper license when you’re using other people’s music. You also wanna consider it. Sometimes people hire third parties to write and, and pro perform the intro and outro, make sure that the person that you hired is going to assign those rights to you so that you can own it, or at least license it to you depending on what your agreement is, but make sure you have some sort of right, if not ownership, to use that music and good since we’re talking about third, third parties, third, since we’re talking about third parties, a lot, the way that podcasts are monetized are through sponsorships.

And sometimes the host will record their voice, reading the copy, or they might wanna hire someone to do that. If you hire a third party to read the copy for your podcast, make sure you again, have the proper contracts in place so that you are protected, because what you don’t want to happen is you hired this person to produce, to record this for you. And then they hit you with the, oh, I don’t I’m, I don’t wanna do this anymore. I don’t want, I don’t wanna be associated with your podcast anymore or whatever the thing is, or I want more money. Your podcast is blown up since we first recorded this, I want more money. These are things that you talk about in the beginning. You can have them sign a talent release form, which essentially it is detail what you’re hiring them for gives you permission to use their likeness.

And then you can have them weigh the right to inspect the final work. So that way you have control creative control of the project sponsorships again. So let me know in the comments that this is all, this is making sense to everyone. Just let me know if you’re, if you’re getting it, but sponsorships agreements, since we’re talking about sponsorships, when you are monetizing your podcast, make sure that when you are allowing ad advertising on your platform, that you use a contract, a sponsorship agreement, it needs to have the terms is very important that the sponsorship agreement has to add type the ad placement and the link. What I mean by that is, is this, what type of ad is this? Is this an ad where I’m talking like, I, I, I have a script or are you giving me a script?

Are we replacing this ad in the beginning of the podcast, the middle or the end? Or do you wanna be in all three slots? How long are these ads? 15 seconds. 30 seconds. 60 seconds. Okay. Also, if I give you an ad, if you have an ad in the podcast, am I also supposed to promote this on social media when I, when I promote the podcast? So those are type of things that you wanna, so, and what I mean by that last part about promoting on social media. When you say that, Hey, we have new podcast released, am I also supposed to say, Hey, we have new podcast released and it’s sponsored by X, Y, Z. Those are conversations that you wanna have. And you wanna have clarity on when you’re working with sponsorships, you also wanna know is this exclusive? You want it, you know, most brands will want this to be exclusive, meaning that if I am advertising on your platform, as for my law firm, I don’t want like any other lawyers on that podcast, because then that defeats the purpose.

But that’s something that you guys can talk about, but you need to have that conversation because you don’t want anyone to have the expectations that it’s exclusive meaning that, and that doesn’t mean that they’re the only sponsor for that podcast, but it means that they’re the only in this case law firm, but maybe you have a law firm, maybe you have an accountant. Maybe you have an office supply company. So you can have several different sponsors, but will they be in different industries? I don’t know. Y’all talk about it, put it in the contract, see how it, how it ends up. And what’s the pay schedule. How are they going to pay you to be advertise, to advertise on your platform? That’s something that you wanna talk about. Is it upfront? And they run the, you run their ads for 30 days, or is it stay connected to that podcast forever? Like those are conversations that you wanna have and intellectual property. You need to make sure that you have a clause there that gives you permission to use their intellectual property as it relates to advertising their product. But

There’s no, you don’t have the right to use their intellectual property outside of that, but you will have that in the agreement. Thank you so much horseshoe for letting me know that this is making sense and you can hear me and that. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so many people, so many people invite third parties to their podcast without having them sign a podcast guest agreement. They’re like, come on over the water’s fine. No, we can’t have everybody on your podcast if they haven’t signed the proper paperwork. And when you think about a podcast agreement, like why do they, why does anyone have to sign a contract to be on my podcast, somewhat similar to the talent release agreement, right? Would you don’t want to interview that person and have them on your platform? And then you have the podcast playing and then they’re like, oh no, I don’t wanna be associated with you anymore. Or you don’t want it to be a situation where they say something in the, in the podcast that gets you in the middle of a lawsuit and you have no remedy. So if they want something in that contract that Indies you. So if you are re, if you end up in a lawsuit as a result of something they did, then they will cover you for that lawsuit.

You also wanna make sure that there’s no obligation to distribute, just because it’s a lot of podcasts are prerecorded. And just because we recorded, this does not mean that we are going to publish it that way. There’s no misunderstanding. And you wanna be able to use their likeness, not only in the podcast, but as you’re advertising the podcast. So you wanna things that you say that, oh, that’s just natural. That’s just, that’s just something that we will do. You wanna make sure you have written permission to do this so that if so, cuz you always, no one thinks about a relationship in the beginning about it going bad. No one does. That’s why people like contracts. Why do I need a contract? But you always wanna use a contract in case the relationship does go south. And not only because if it goes south, but also if you just wanna have that understanding between the parties, instead of everybody assuming something, cuz you never know what the other party’s assuming the other parties might be assuming that, Hey, we’re recorded this podcast when she’s finished editing it, she’s gonna send it over to me so I can hear it and make sure that I don’t have any changes that I need to make before she published it.

You know, they might be thinking that, but now they know that’s not the case because you’re gonna have this in your podcast, guest agreement. What else? Yeah. And then also responsibilities of both parties. What’s the host responsible for what’s the guest responsible for? Because the guest can’t get mad. If you don’t share the con their contact information, if the guests never share the contact information with you to put in the show notes, cuz that’s their responsibility to get that to you within, you know, 24 or 48 hours before you guys record just simple things like that to cut down confusion. Let’s see. I mean like there’s a lot of legal things. Don’t you sound like there’s a lot of legal issues or potential issues that you have to consider when you’re starting a podcast. It’s not just, Hey, let me get a name and a mic and some great guests lined up.

It’s let me protect myself and protect the brand that I’m building and the business that I’m, that I’m growing. Let me do that. So with that, if you choose and you know, before we talked about there being several different types of podcasts, you have the monologue, the interview and the co-host listen, listen, if you’re working with a third party on a regular basis on with a co-host, please have a contract. It’s just like when you go into business with someone and even it’s a partnership, you wanna make sure that there is a written agreement. And I say a partnership because you can enter into a partnership with someone without filing paperwork with the state. Next thing you know, you’re in a partnership just like you can start a business without an LLC because you can be a, a sole proprietor. So the same thing. But with you decide that you’re gonna, co-host a podcast with someone you need to have a conversation with this person.

And the conversation will be like, Hey, is this gonna be a business? Are we starting a business for this podcast? Or is this a joint venture between existing businesses? Would you be would you be interested in, you know, splitting the cost? Like how much, how are decisions gonna be made? How is money gonna be distributed? Like those type of things. Those are the type of conversations that you wanna have. And you wanna have in this agreement because maybe you want the podcast to go in one direction and then they want to go in another direction. Y’all need to have this agreement in the, this conversation in the forefront so that you can be on the same page and portion wants to know, will you consider creating a two kit for purchase? That includes the agreements you mentioned. Absolutely. That is something that that I’m gonna do. I already have most of them and we will have the rest of them by next week, but I’m gonna have it available for presale by the end of the week. So, great question.

And are you guys ready? Are you ready? Are you ready? Listen to this. When you create your podcast, you are creating intellectual property, not just the, the brand of the podcast, but the actual content that you are recording is protected by copyrights. So you wanna make sure that you protect your podcast through federal copyright registration. In case someone decides to use your content in a way that’s not authorized by you. And you want to be able to get damages for that. Not just cease and assist and stop, but if they’ve been monetizing it in any type of way, you wanna make sure that you’re able to get that off. You end up. I know Beyonce’s been sued a couple times. That’s why this album right here, she was like, make sure that we clear everything. You know, we get with all the social media people and get, get it right, because she’s been sued a couple times for using bits and pieces of other people’s like YouTube videos and, and just videos and general like sounds in her content without their permission. So if that happens to you, you wanna have some type of remedy against this. You wanna make sure that you’re protecting your copyright, your, your podcast episodes.

I have so many things to say. So the first thing I say on that is the thing to do is to put it in a schedule, excuse me. And what I mean by that is you don’t want to protect, you don’t wanna register each episode individually. I would say do it as a season and register them that way. So that’s why a lot of we podcast have, well, that’s not the only reason why we need a break when we podcast honey. But a lot of podcast hosts, they have, they do seasons, you know, season one, season two, season three. And then that way, when you’re finished with season one, you can get it to your attorney so you can get ready to register and protect those episodes. Be. And reason I say that is cuz your trait, your copyright protection, you are entitled to the full statutory damages.

If you file divorce within 90 days or before the infringement. So you can make a season like a little short of 90 days to give everybody time, to get everything together. That makes sense. And the other thing I just thought about when we’re talking about copyrights, your cover, art, your cover art, the graphic design that you hire to design your cover art for your podcast, make sure that you have you own the rights to that cover art for your podcast. If not because with copyrights, the person that brings it to life is the person that owns it. And if it’s not you, if you’re not the person that’s creating the, the art, the cover art, then you will not own it. So you wanna make sure that you own the rights to that cover art. So we’re going to recap, and then if you have any questions, those are, those are all the points that I wanted to make. And one of the things that I will do, cuz it was a lot, I’ll make a checklist, I’ll make a checklist that you all will be able to download. And then Porsche, I will have the podcast two kit agreement available for presale this week. And then, but if you are a genius insider, if you are a genius, insider do not purchase the two kit because you will have access to all of the templates as part of your membership.

But just to recap, legal issues to consider you ready trademarks for your name, for any segments you may have. And for the production company, if your production company is different from the brand podcast, brand name, the intro and outro music, make sure you have a license for it because you don’t want to be caught up in copyright and finished because you found this great song on YouTube or on the internet or you decide you wanna use a popular song, right? No, get a license for it. And if you hire someone to write and record and perform that for you, make sure that they assign the rights to that work to you and that they sign a talent release agreement for the performance of it.

And if you use someone to record your ads for you, make sure they also sign a talent release agreement, sponsorship agreement, because we gotta monetize these podcasts. Cause I mean, yes, we’re given the content out to the good people, to the good people, but you wanna monetize it. And I say that, but our podcast is not monetized. We have some, some older episodes that probably still have ads on them, but our newer ones don’t because they don’t at least not right now. That’s maybe something down the line. But right now I just, I’m really interested in making sure that people get this knowledge. So, you know, anyone that needs to get this knowledge, invite them into the mark legal community so they can get this knowledge. But so you want a sponsorship agreement. You also wanna make sure that anytime you have a guest on your platform, that they sign a podcast guest agreement to protect yourself from anything that you know, sometimes people go left, they go left.

You wanna make sure that you are right, that you are covered, that you are protected. And if you have a co-host make sure you and your co-host have not a verbal agreement, a written agreement, y’all have y’all sit down and talk with things out. So you can only be on the same page. Cause sometimes what happens is you start actually communicating and talk about the vision and the visions are different. And you realize that, Ooh, I love you like a sister, but maybe this is not the best thing for us to enter into. I already be like, man, yes, bet let’s do this. We were on the same page. And now everybody knows their role. So there’s no animosity cuz somebody’s not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but now everybody knows what they’re supposed to do. They do it. So have a co-host a written co-host agreement and make sure, make sure, make sure, make sure you register your podcast episodes at least quarterly.

All right. That is what I have for today. Let’s see what we have Porsche says I need to be an insider. Yes baby. You do. You do. You do. We have it’s it’s closed right now. Enrollment is closed right now to the beginning of the year. We are working with our lovely thing. We have about 25 between 25 and 30 insiders right now. But we will open it back up at the beginning of the year. So make sure you stay on the waitlist, but until then, just stay a part of our community. Stay a part of our community. That’s where you be the first to know when enrollment opens back up. Let’s see. Let’s see. Let’s see if you have any questions. We have four more minutes. Any questions? All right, Andrea, thank you so much for joining us and Sandra and Porsche. I really appreciate you all coming tonight.

We’ll do this every second, Monday at 7:00 PM from 7:00 PM central time to seven 30 and this replay will be available by Wednesday. Be available in the community by Wednesday. All right. And then when you watch the replay, I will have a link to the, I’ll make this a downloadable, the checklist. That way, you can download the checklist and just make sure you have all these things when you launch your podcast. And then when you do launch your podcast, when you do launch your podcast, make sure you let us know. So the community can support you. And I have a question. So we have made some changes and we’ll continue to make changes. And I’ll say improvements to the community. One of the things that I was thinking about doing is creating different groups based on interest.

So if you have people that are interested in podcasting, everybody in this group can talk about podcasting and what you’re using and this, that, and other. And if you’re thinking about doing a membership or if you’re a service-based business or you know, or maybe industry-specific, let me know if that would be useful. Cause I don’t wanna do anything. That’s gonna be complicated and not useful. If it’s not useful, we don’t need it. We believe here at mark league in education, support, and inspiration. So if it’s not supporting you in the way that you need to be supported, then we don’t need to do it. If it’s not beneficial in education, we’re not doing it. And it’s not inspiring you to be your best, then we’re not gonna do it. So let me know. Well, as they say, if all hearts and minds are clear, <laugh> that’s right. Have a good night. Yep. All hearts and minds are clear. I really appreciate your time tonight. This will be up Wednesday, and until next time y’all have a great night.


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