Intellectual Property Podcast Rights

By the end of 2021, podcasting is expected to be a $1 billion industry. While some people start podcasts with the goal of creating a full-time income, others start simply as a hobby. Whether your aim is to create a lucrative podcast or just to share your interests with the world, you have intellectual property podcast (IP) rights. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at common forms of IP associated with podcasts and ways to leverage your IP as you grow. Let’s start with a look at the types of IP you should consider protecting.  

What is Considered Intellectual Property in Podcasts? 

Many people associate IP with inventions, books, and televised media – but podcasts also contain significant IP assets. It is rare to have patentable assets for a podcast. Still, other forms of IP – like trademarks and copyrights – are intimately entwined with podcasting. 

Trademark Unique Names and Taglines

Even if you’re just starting a podcast and don’t have much of a following, you have IP that can be trademarked. Your domain name, podcast name, individual podcast titles, and live streaming events can be trademarked. It may be wise to trademark your domain name once you obtain it to prevent cybersquatting as your podcast grows. 

Copyright Creative Content

You can acquire copyright protection for podcast episodes, live streams, and any “jingles” or music associated with your podcast.

While copyright is automatic once a creative work is fixed in a tangible form (like an audio or video recording), you may want to register your most popular episodes—the Joe Rogan Podcast and its’ infamous Elon Musk episode for example. You will want a copyright registration to enforce your IP rights if you discover someone infringing on your content and registration is relatively affordable if you do it on your own. Eventually, you may register copyrights for each episode, but costs may be high if you are just starting out. To keep costs reasonable, you can start by registering your best and most popular content.

Trade Secrets

Although rare, podcasters might also be able to take advantage of trade secret protections. Email lists are probably the most common form of trade secrets for podcasts. Email lists are likely valuable to your brand and should be carefully protected. If you hire any employers, freelancers, or work with any third parties consider restricting access to your email list and using nondisclosure agreements. 

 

Intellectual Property Podcast Pitfalls One Should Consider

As a podcaster, you should respect the IP of others as much as you need to protect your own IP. If you get any content or material from third parties – like a logo design, song, or interview clip – you need to make sure you are not infringing upon anyone else’s IP. Even using a clip of a song, video, or interview could lead to infringement lawsuits unless it’s  fair use.

Whether you’re live streaming or pre-recording a podcast, you also want to ensure you have permission to feature anyone included. Guests should always sign releases authorizing you to publish their interviews or content. Likewise, you should avoid using anyone else’s tagline, logo, or brand unless you have explicit permission.

Finally, ensure that you’re honest and transparent about any advertising you do on your podcast. Even if you think you have permission to use a brand name or endorse a particular product – you need to consider both IP rights and Federal Trade Commission regulations

 

Leveraging IP to Enhance the Value of Your Podcast

As podcasts have grown substantially, some content creators are signing multi-million dollar deals with streaming services like Spotify. While most creators have to start small and grow their following, it’s still wise to think like an entrepreneur. Podcasters can leverage IP to enhance the value of their podcast and possibly even transition into other forms of media. Podcasts turned TV Shows like Lore and Homecoming were able to do just that.

Using trademarks, you can create a distinguishable, cohesive brand for your podcast with unique logos, titles, and taglines.

Once you protect your IP assets and ensure you are not infringing on the rights of anyone else, you may even consider expanding into other forms of media. IP ownership and registration could open the door to additional content like blogs, books, or even television series. 

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The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, an initiative of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, provides access to empowering IP education for budding inventors and entrepreneurs. Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson and Alya Michelson. To learn more, visit 20mm.org.