When you’re excited to share stories, lessons, and conversations with your new podcast listeners, the last thing you want to deal with is podcast legal issues. The podcast industry is growing like wildfire! This means there are tons of potential to quickly boost brand awareness and revenue. But when legal disputes enter the picture, they’ll only slow you down.
Ready to get in on the podcast action…while avoiding legal issues? We got you, friend! 💛
Making sure our fellow entrepreneurs stay in the clear with all things legal is totally our thing. And podcasting is no different.
Read on to help your podcast soar to the top of the charts without having to deal with time-consuming and costly legal hiccups!
How Does the Law Affect My New Podcast?
Today, it’s easier than ever to launch a podcast and reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of listeners through a single episode. The ease of the internet is one of the most exciting parts of being an entrepreneur these days!
At the same time, we don’t want to forget there is some risk involved in putting yourself out there through a podcast.
The law requires you to properly name and promote your podcast in a way that doesn’t accidentally steal from another brand. It also requires the actual content within each episode to follow certain rules. Plus, when you move beyond solo episodes and welcome guests onto your podcast, you’re responsible for properly managing their expectations and respecting their professional boundaries.
Does this sound like a lot? Not to worry — we’re going to break it all down for you. ✨
Essential Ways to Avoid Podcast Legal Issues
You’ve got tons of creative ideas flowing — we just know it! So, now is the perfect time to follow these five guidelines:
- Name your podcast without infringing
- Use a detailed podcast guest agreement
- Disclose affiliate links clearly
- Create original content
- Protect your content among service providers
1. Name Your Podcast Without Infringing
What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to your podcast!
When you’re naming your podcast, you’re actually coming up with a trademark — as you’ll be providing services in connection with that brand name.
But the first, most critical legal consideration when it comes to naming your podcast is that you’re not infringing on someone else’s trademark.
It’s easy to get super excited about a catchy podcast name and want to run with it. 🏃♀️ But not so fast, sis.
You don’t want to step on someone else’s toes by forgetting to do the proper research.
How to make sure no one else has your podcast name:
- Search common podcast platforms for the name you want to use
- If this doesn’t bring up any relevant search results, head to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
- Use the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System to search for the name you want to use
- Search for variations of that name, to be extra cautious
If nothing is coming up from your searches, then you’re in the clear.
If on the other hand, someone else is already using your desired name (or something similar), consider that a red flag. 🚩 At this point, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and choose a new direction.
Remember, your podcast isn’t just some fun little project you’re starting. It’s a core pillar of your brand. Make sure you’re building that brand on steady ground. When you trademark your podcast name, you’re taking a key step to protecting your intellectual property.
2. Use a Detailed Podcast Guest Agreement
We bet you’ve already got a list of dream guests picked out for your new podcast. 😍
Before you go ahead and send over the collab invite, you’ll want to make sure you have a podcast guest contract template (this one’s got all the bells and whistles you’ll need).
By having both yourself and your guest sign an agreement, you’ll make sure you have the right to publish the episode, as well as the right to use their name, photo, and details to promote the episode.
Another great reason to use a podcast guest contract is so you can both agree on promotion requirements. If you have specific promotion requirements in place for guests — maybe you want them to promote the episode a certain way or a certain number of times — you can put that in writing ahead of time.
Producing a podcast can have a huge payoff, but it takes significant work. You’ll be pouring your precious time, creativity, mental energy, and financial resources into these episodes, so you want to make sure you’re protecting them!
3. Disclose Affiliate Links Clearly
We’re big fans of affiliate marketing here at Coaches & Co.
What could be better than sharing your fave products with your community and getting a little kickback in the process? 💰(Pssst…Did you know that we’ve got a pretty sweet affiliate program ourselves, with generous commissions? Apply to become a Preferred Partner here.)
While we 100% encourage you to use your affiliate links in your podcast marketing, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing it ethically.
All it takes is adding a small disclaimer in your show notes letting your audience know you’re using affiliate links.
Feel free to swipe this affiliate disclaimer template and add it to your podcast episode posts. 👇
Please note that the links below may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission should you choose to purchase any product or service using our link. We only recommend products we genuinely love and know would serve our community. We appreciate you!
Not only will the proper disclaimers help you avoid some major podcast legal issues, but they’ll also help you build trust with your audience!
4. Create Original Content
While we’re sure none of you would ever mean to copy someone else’s work, sometimes the line between inspiration and plagiarism can blur.
It can be all too easy to get inspired by someone else’s content, trainings, or teachings, and misrepresent them as your own.
This is why giving credit where credit is due is so important.
It’s best to focus on sharing your unique ideas and viewpoints when producing podcast content. However, if you want to stray from original content, just make sure you’re properly citing whoever’s ideas you’re discussing on your show!
And if for any reason, you actually want to play an audio clip of someone else or share their content on your podcast, be sure to get permission from the owner of that content first.
5. Protect Your Content Among Service Providers
A key part of avoiding podcast legal issues is to make sure you have the proper agreements in place with contractors and team members.
Producing a podcast is so.much.work. 😪
Editing, show notes, marketing…the list goes on.
We know you’re a boss entrepreneur who likes to operate in your zone of genius, so you’ve probably considered or already working with a podcast agency or freelancer.
In order to protect your content, you need a service agreement in place with them.
Many times, if you’re working with a professional, they’ll most likely have their own podcast production contract. But if they don’t, you can always be sure to grab an independent contractor agreement from our Contract Shop!
In this agreement, you can outline the project scope so each party is *crystal clear* on what’s expected of them.
Another key clause to have in the agreement is one that outlines the content usage rights. If your podcast producer is the one creating the podcast, under copyright law, they are the official owner of any content produced. This is they must transfer the ownership of the work product to you in their contract.
Be sure to keep an eye out for this part of the contract so you know you have full rights to everything created for your podcast.
This includes the episode itself, cover art, show notes…the whole shebang. And if you have multiple freelancers working on those deliverables, make sure you have an agreement in place with each and every one of them!
With these five steps, you can rest easy knowing you’re creating content that nurtures and provides value to your audience while simultaneously avoiding any potential podcast legal issues! 💪
What We Covered
While we’re super excited for you to get started with your podcast, there are a few legal considerations to keep in mind before you press that record button. Make sure you don’t:
- Infringe on someone else’s trademark when naming your podcast
- Invite guests onto your podcast without a signed contract
- Promote brands without explaining how you earn affiliate income
- Copy someone else’s content (written, video, or audio)
- Hire a team member or contractor without a signed contract
Now that you’ve got the legal stuff covered…you totally got this. We can’t wait to see your podcast go live!
Ready to feature some awesome guests on your new podcast? Get our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates, so you can upgrade your podcast guest contract while staying Protected & Profitable™✨
*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.