Protecting your work - Copyright

Covering creative and expressive work once it is shared

“As a podcaster you have spent hours developing your show, finding topics, locating people to interview, writing show notes, putting together intros and outros, recording and editing. Your show is uniquely yours with topics that are dear to you and the show is produced with a style your listeners love. Your potential listeners are drawn to listen to your show through your show’s title, logos and artwork. Your current listeners identify with your show through your show’s title, logo and artwork. This is your branding and your trademark. What if another podcaster decides to create a show and brands his new show with a show name and logo that is similar to your show’s title and logo?” [1]

Generally

Copyright covers things like scripts, and sound-recordings[2]. “You cannot copyright ideas. You can only copyright your original work” [3]. In some countries, a lot of the creative work you do is already protected by copyright even if you haven’t registered your creativity. This copyright exists as soon as you turn it into something tangible. Countries with this sort of protection include:

  • Australia

  • New Zealand

  • United Kingdom

  • United States

This type of automatic copyright however doesn’t cover everything. It generally covers the actual content and maybe the artwork related to your show but it doesn’t necessarily even the title of your podcast.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property includes patents, trademarks, copyright, domain names, trade secrets as well as other intangible items. While few blogs or podcasts contain all of these types of intellectual property, nearly every blog and podcast contains some intellectual property. The problem is that some types of intellectual property protection attach instantly, while others require steps to be taken to prevent the intellectual property from being lost into the public domain. [4]

Trademark law

The best way to receive trademark protection is by registering your podcast name. This is the best way to secure the name for yourself but it isn’t always necessary. Trademark over offers broad protection including names that are similar or could be confused with…

You may want to consider registering your trademark if you are growing your audience with hard work and scarce resources. Why let someone confuse and dilute your audience by branding their show with something similar to your branding? [1]

Alternative actions: It’s a good idea to do a trademark search before you launch your name onto the internet.

Licensing

A creative commons licence may be for you. You can apply for this without encountering a charge and you have options in stipulating how your material can be used. This licence encourages people to share your work easily which can be a definite perk. If you go with this option, make sure you clearly state the licence connected to your work.

Interviews

Generally speaking you, as the host, own the question that you design and ask during an interview. Your guest however owns their answers. This means it is important to choose your guests wisely as there is the potential that they can “…invoke copyright to try and get you to pull the episode.”

Solution: think about having your talent sign a talent release form.

Broadcasting live

If your podcast transpires in real time, “copyright won’t kick in until the work is ‘fixed’”. This means you won’t receive copyright protection until you have posted your work somewhere in a saved format.


Conversation starter

  • How will you protect your own work?

References

  1. Powerpresspodcast.com. (2018). What’s In A Name (And Logo?) How To Register And Protect Your Podcast Trademark - PowerPress Podcast. [online] Available: PowerPress Podcast (web link). [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

  2. Wiki.creativecommons.org. (2018). Podcasting Legal Guide - Creative Commons. [online] Available: Podcasting Legal Guide (web link). [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

  3. Keller, K. (2018). How Do I Protect My Content with a Copyright Notice? [online]. She Owns It. Available: She Owns It (web link). [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

  4. Blawgit.com. (2018). Protecting Your Blog and Podcast Intellectual Property, BlawgIT. [online] Available: BlawgIT (web link) [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

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This article is from the free online course:

The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling

University of Wollongong