Denise Howell on Legal Podcasting


Denise Howell
Denise Howell
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Denise Howell (who hosts Sound Policy on IT Conversations is speaking on the legal consideration in Podcasting. She mentions Collette Vogele (who Denise interviewed recently on Sound Policy). Collete's the force behind the Podcasting Legal Guide which Denise recommends every podcaster follow.

The basic problem is the podcasters need to comply with intellectual property laws and that's not easy task. Issues include the name, the URL, the hosts, the guests, the text, music, images, video, and voice.

Denise recommends not even trying to negotiate the waters surrounding commercial music licensing. You don't have enough money or lawyers. There are lots of other resources available.

The fair use doctrine in US copyright law. The most relevant parts of fair use for podcasters are criticism, comment, news reporting, and teaching. There are additional factors in fair use including the character of the use (commercial, etc.) the nature of work used, the amount used, and the effect on the market value of the work used. The problem is there are no rules. Every case is a court case. ultimately fair use is a mine field.

To avoid fair use problems, use material that's specifically licensed for use in podcasts or get permission from every person and entity who's work will be used in the podcast.

It's very difficult in today's environment to determine what the character of a podcast is. If you have a fun and frivolous podcast, but run Google ads on the side, have you turned it into a commercial venture? No one knows, but the answer is crucial to determining how a podcast can use IP.

Practice Safe Syndication...

  • Be trademark wise in how you name your podcast and what URLs you use.
  • Document agreements with partners, guests, and others. You can only count on people's goodwill for so long. People change their minds.
  • Read license terms closely and critically. Just because something is "creative commons" for example, doesn't imply that it's free to use in any situation.
  • Get permission for 3rd party material, releases from guests, and so on.
  • Communicate license terms clearly and consistently.
  • On the Web, nothing is certain by defamation and taxes (and privacy too). You may have to comply with privacy laws, for example, if you're having people register on your site.

Of course, these are just exactly the things people don't want to do.

The bottom line: adopt a businesslike attitude.