So you’ve started a podcast and you couldn’t be more excited about it!
You’ve got a coveted Blue Yeti Microphone, your guests are lined up, and you’re ready to hit record.
All is good, right?
Hang on just a second.
Podcasting is an amazing connection tool BUT there are some legal essentials for your podcast that you need to consider before you get too far into all of this.
As with everything else in our topsy-turvy entrepreneurial world, I want you to be as prepared and protected as possible, so let’s talk about how you can make that happen.
Quick heads-up: everything I share is legal education and information. It’s not business, financial, or legal advice, and it doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship between us. You should chat with an attorney in your area to make sure you’re protecting your business, okay?
Even podcasts require legal agreements
My number one piece of legal podcast advice is to get a guest agreement.
Yes, I mean in writing before that guest makes an appearance.
No, friends and family aren’t exempt, sorry.
Here are all the reasons why:
1. There are copyright issues at play.
Your guest owns the copyright rights to their verbatim responses unless they release or license them to you.
And if you want to use the content beyond your podcast — such as in your courses — getting that agreement in writing will give you expansive release rights.
2. You need permission to use everything.
Promoting your podcast is half the battle of getting it heard!
That means you need explicit permission to use your guest’s name, voice, image, and likeness in your marketing and advertising channels.
3. You get to decide whether or not to hit publish.
What if your guest decides they don’t want the episode to go live?
That could happen unless you have a signed podcast release that gives you the final say about whether to publish or not.
Of course, you may still decide not to publish it, but it’s a lot less likely that will ever be an issue if you have a solid agreement in place, beforehand.
4. You need to address payments.
You’ll want your agreement to include notes that a guest can’t come after you for compensation after the fact.
This is especially important if the recording will be incorporated into other products and not just used for your podcast.
Legal podcast considerations beyond your guests
What if you don’t plan to have guests on your podcasts?
You’re not off the hook just yet.
Here are a few other legal essentials to consider for your podcast:
- Don’t get into a legal battle over music.
Choose royalty-free music for your intros and outros to avoid potential copyright issues.
You may absolutely love Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, but just ask the Stranger Things production team how much the rights to that song cost. And that was agreed on BEFORE they started.
You can find royalty-free music through Audio Jungle, Premium Beat, or get a music membership.
- Consider trademark registration for your podcast name.
Trademark registration goes beyond your business name and logo.
If you want to protect your podcast name, you’ll need to register it as a trademark, too. That way, no one else can use it without your permission or send you a cease-and-desist to stop using it yourself.
- Check the rules for using other people’s content.
If you want to quote someone or play a clip from another podcast episode, make sure you have the legal right to do so.
That generally means getting permission from the content creator, which could be a whole other process depending on who owns the copyright.
- Know the legal requirements of sponsorship.
If you’re able to secure sponsorship for your podcast, first of all, congrats!
But you definitely need a contract in place for this as well. I highly suggest you chat with an attorney to set it up.
Phew! Are you still with me?
I know this might sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth it to protect yourself and your business. A little bit of legwork now can save you a lot of heartache (and money) down the road!