Last Updated January 2022 by Crystallace
How to Protect Your Podcast…Tips From a Lawyer
Starting a podcast can be exciting but there is also this fear of “How am I going to protect all of my hard work?” This fear is normal and common amongst entrepreneurs and content creators alike.
Here are tips from on lawyer on…..
How to Legally Protect Your Podcast and Yourself
Form an Entity
If you have not already done so you’re going to want to form an entity for your podcast. This can be done in the form of a LLC, Corporation, or Partnership. This should be the first step for every content creator because in addition to the tax implications you want to separate yourself from your business. This is important when it comes to liability and lawsuits.
A lot of content creators choose to go the route of forming an LLC. An LLC can limit your liability and exposure and It can also be great for keeping track of expenses and tax planning.
Starting an LLC can be a very simple process. Each state typically has a Secretary of State or Business Department online where you can go and fill out the necessary paperwork and pay a small fee.
Here is a state by state guide of resources so you can get started with your entity formation today.
If you choose to form a LLC then you must have a LLC Operating Agreement
Once you start an LLC you must have an operating agreement. An operating agreement outlines your business’ financial and functional decisions including rules, regulations, and provisions. The main reason to have an operating agreement is to help ensure that courts will respect your limited personal liability.
This is needed especially in a one-person LLC where, without the formality of an agreement, the LLC will look a lot like a sole proprietorship. Having a formal written operating agreement will lend credibility to your LLC’s separate existence.
Basically, without an operating agreement the work you’ve done in forming an entity may be nullified.
How to Protect Your Podcast With Copyrights and Trademarks
I explained how copyrights work in this blog post. While your work is copyrighted at the time of production you need to register the copyright with the USPTO. This will offer your podcast copyright protection and be helpful if you decide to move into another media platform.
A lot of podcasts are so trendy that they have a dedicated fan following. I have even seen some selling merchandise such as T-shirts and coffee mugs with their official logo. If that is the case for your podcast you should apply for a Trademark with the USPTO. Trademark registration gives you protection and rights when it comes to people infringing on your “mark,” or trying to use your logo and make money from it.
Both of these processes are costly and complicated. I highly recommend that you seek the assistance of attorney to ensure that they are done correctly.
How to Protect Your Podcast When You Have a Co-Host
When you have decide to start a podcast with someone or bring on a co-host you expose yourself to potential business and legal problems.
How will you be splitting the revenue? 60/40? 50/50?
Are you going to have separate responsibilities?
Who is legally able to contract on behalf of the podcast?
How to Protect Your Podcast When You Have a Guest On The Show
Probably the most exciting thing about having a podcast is having guest speakers. Whatever your podcast may be about, having a who’s who appear on it can be a big score with your listeners. But what about the legal side of it all?
What if your guest want’s to take that podcast episode and edit it or share it on another medium?
What if you disagree on when it should air?
Having well written contracts in place firmly establishes your ownership of your podcast as well as any content you produce in connection with that podcast. It also lets guests know that as owner of the content and the podcast, you have the right to do whatever you want with your content and podcast with or without their consent and they have to play by your rules.
How to Protect Your Podcast When Working With Sponsors
If you’re looking to monetize your podcast then you will be looking for sponsors. To legally protect yourself and your podcast you are going to want to outline the details of the sponsorship in a written contract.
Things like how many times will the advertisement be made?
Will the advertisements be made pre-roll or mid roll?
Formalizing the details of payment and airing is key when working with other brands. These are things that should be addressed in writing, in a contract, signed by both parties.
Invest in Media Insurance
Media insurance is becoming more popular amongst podcasts and is even becoming required by distributors. Media insurance is a good investment because it helps you in the event you (or your podcast) is hit with a lawsuit.
Podcasts can find often themselves being sued for defamation or copyright infringement. Saying the wrong thing can land you in deep water. Unless you’re ready to pay for the legal fees for defending a lawsuit, you’re going to want to have media insurance.
All of these things are critical when it comes to how to protect your podcast
So you’re probably thinking “Let me find a lawyer to take care of this.” You’re thinking right but once you get done with attorney’s fees and billing hours these legal contracts can cost you well over $1000.00 !
When you’re an entrepreneur it seems like there is always something else to pay for. Trust me, I understand. That’s why I created these easy to use legal contracts to help you protect your podcast. So that you can focus on growing your audience and not the boring and complicated legal stuff.
Have you taken care of the legal stuff for your podcast yet? Let me know in the comments.