Dear future/ up and coming podcasters, many podcasters who are about to launch their first-ever episode in their new podcast are wondering if they should copyright their podcast. If they should do it, then how can they copyright their podcasts?
So, how can someone copyright their podcast? If you live in the United States, then your podcast is copyrighted as long as its content is original and is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
The second part basically means it should be recorded on some sort of a physical medium like an audiotape, for example. So if your original podcast is on a podcasting platform, on your site, or even just sitting pretty on your recorder, then it is copyrighted.
To understand the world of copyrighting when it comes to podcasts, then make sure you continue reading this blog post.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post was created for educational purposes only and is NOT legal advice. If you have any copyright problems, I highly recommend that you contact a licensed attorney
How to copyright your podcast?
Getting your podcast copyrighted is not as hard as it seems because technically, anything original that you upload to the internet is automatically copyrighted.
Going through the process of getting your podcast copyrighting by filing for it is a bit more complicated and very costly, but I will talk about that later on. For now, let us focus on how you get your podcast copyrighted the easy way!
In order to be able to copyright your podcast, there are two requirements that your content should meat. These two requirements are the following:
- Your content should be original; as in, you did not copy your work from someone else.
- Your podcast should be fixed in a tangible means of expression, which is a legal term that, in a nutshell, means that your content should be recorded or/and be available on a physical medium like an audiotape.
Your content should be original; as in, you did not copy your work from someone else
Let us start by talking about originality! What is it, does it even still exist, could it be a myth?
A lot of people get scared when they heard the term” Originality” because if we look at the big picture, all works have borrowed ideas.
But here is the thing, you can not copyright ideas, so two people could have the same idea, yet have different content. Before we talk about this in podcasts, let me give you a non-podcasting example.
If you are a huge fan of consuming fictional books, movies, or tv shows ( so things related to entertainment), then you must have noticed how a lot of books, movies, and tv shows often have a similar plotline, so how come are these works not copyrighted?
You see, they have similar ideas, but they are not identical. Both of the Hunger Games and Divergent are dystopian YA books and movies. They share similar ideas, but each book or movie as a whole is unique.
Another example would be retelling. There are a lot of retellings when it comes to fairytales like Cinderella and Snow White.
Because the writers are capable of taking a story and switch up, the new product is unique, and they can not get copyrighted. Not only that but also the copyrights of their projects go to them.
Going back to the podcasting world, as long as you have created your own content and you have added a dash of creativity, then your podcast should be considered original, and you will be able to get it copyrighted. As long as you are not copying someone else’s work, you should be fine.
Now, I am going to show you a podcasting example that showcases how you do not have to come up with an original idea for a podcast to be able to copyright it.
For example, you could run a fact of the day type of podcast and still be unique.
There are already other podcasts doing this, but as long as you talk about different facts or approach explaining these facts differently, that will be able to maintain you originality status and thus be able to copyright your podcast.
Your podcast should be fixed in a tangible means of expression
But what does that phrase even mean? I had to a bit of research to understand what this means. This phrase is basically a fixation requirement that enables you to copyright your podcast by transforming your original ideas to copyrighted work.
This fixation means that the creator transforms their creative idea into something that has any sorts of physical form. So, because we are talking about copyrighting podcasts, this would mean just recording it!
Yes, you have read that correctly! To meet the second and final copyrighting requirement, which is a fixation requirement, all you have to do is record your podcast! As long as a podcast’s episode is recorded, it is protected by copyright law because it fixed in a tangible means of expression!
Even if you did not upload your episode to your podcast hosting site and distribute it to different podcasting platforms, or even post it on a website, your recorded podcast is still copyrighted.
In a nutshell, once your podcast’s original episodes are recorded, they are officially under the Unites States copyright protection.
But what if I wanted to copyright my podcast by going through a process?
You are not required to do more steps to get your podcast copyrighted, but you can finish registering your podcast with the U.S. Copyright Office.
This is not essential, but having a copyright registration does come with a few extra perks. One of these perks is that any infringer will be more likely to take any cease and desist letter you sent them for copyright infringement more seriously.
A completed registration also gives the holder the legal right to get statutory damages in infringement lawsuits. In a nutshell, owning a registered copyright podcast gives you an advantage if you are ever in a situation where you want to pursue an infringer for copyright infringement.
You must be wondering why then am I recommending that you do not go through this process. I will admit that it comes with great perks; however, do you how much this is going to cost you?
It is no walk in the park; it is a hefty forty-five to fifty dollars per episode! You read that correctly, the amount of money that you are going to pay, if you have met all of the requirements, is going to about forty-five to fifty dollars ($45 to $50) per episode.
- So, if you are going to run a daily podcast where you never miss a single day of your upload schedule, then you will be paying between sixteen thousand four hundred and twenty-five dollars and eighteen thousand dollars two hundred and fifty dollars (16,425 -18,250 dollars).
365 ( number of episodes uploaded) x 45- 50 dollars ( registration fee)
- If you are going to run a weekly podcast, then you will be paying between two thousand one hundred and sixty dollars and two thousand four hundred dollars (2,160- 2,400 dollars).
48 ( number of episodes uploaded) x 45- 50 dollars ( registration fee)
If you are going to run a biweekly podcast, then you will be paying between one thousand and eighty dollars and one thousand and two hundred dollars (1,080- 1,200 dollars).
24 ( number of episodes uploaded) x 45- 50 dollars ( registration fee)
If you are going to run a monthly podcast, then you will be paying between five hundred and forty dollars and six hundred dollars ( 540- 600 dollars).
12 ( number of episodes uploaded) x 45- 50 dollars ( registration fee)
There is another cheaper alternative to file your registration, and that is by doing it on a seasonal basis. I highly recommend that you watch this interview that takes place between two podcasters, one of whom is also a lawyer.
So unless you are a public figure or you have a big audience, my opinion is similar to what they have mentioned in the video.
It is not really worth it because your podcast is already protected by copyright law. You can always add towards the end of your episode a reminder that this podcast is copyrighted.
What are copyright laws?
Copyright laws exist to protect your content from getting stolen. So a copyrighted podcast is protected by law, which prevents other people from taking your podcast’s unique content.
In a nutshell, copyright laws protect any writer’s, artist’s, musician’s, podcaster’s, or any content creator’s original content from being stolen or getting reproduced by someone else.
For example, this means that you can not use copyrighted music in your podcast. If you are interested in learning more and copyrights and music, then feel free to check out my Where to Legally Get Music for Your Podcast blog post.
Okay, so we have established how vital copyright law is, but what exactly is it? Well, the Unites States Copyright Act states that tangible expression of ideas is protected by copyright laws.
But what does that even mean?
Well, it means that if some take their ideas and work on it, whether that is writing down a movie script, typing a book’s manuscript, writing a song in a notebook, painting something on a canvas, or recording a song or a podcast, then piece of expression that exists in a physical format is protected by copyright law.
In a nutshell, yes, I realize I have overused this phrase a lot in this post, copyright laws protect actual works and not ideas, which I will also discuss in today’s post. Forms of art such as paintings, songs, books, movies, photos, and even podcasts are considered to different forms of art.
This means that the episodes you upload are considered to be forms of art or a piece of work, and thus it is protected by copyright laws as long as it is original with a dash of creativity.
In case you still have not grasped the importance of copyright laws, they basically reward your creativity via protecting it. This means that you have the exclusive right to do whatever you want with your original work, like monetizing it on different platforms.
What are some things that can’t be copyrighted?
You might have noticed how I have repetitively mentioned that you can n0t copyright ideas throughout this blog post. In fact, you can not even copyright systems or facts.
For example, you can not copyright the fact that whales are mammals and start suing everyone who talks about them in books and documentaries. However, you can copyright your podcast about whales where you talk about whales in a unique style.
Where to get music for a podcast?
There are a lot of sites that you can check out to get music that you can legally play in your episodes. If you are looking for some tunes that fall under the Creative Commons License, then you can check out (The Free Music Archive). This is a site that has music that can be used for free if you attribute the artist.
You can learn more about where you can get music for your podcast without getting copyrighted and understand how copyright laws work by reading my blog post on it here.
How long should the music in a podcast intro be?
There is not a wrong or right answer when it comes to how long a podcast intro music should be. However, a podcast’s intro is usually under thirty seconds and is sometimes just under a minute, so how long music you play in your intro depends on how long your intro is.
Read my How Long Should The Podcast Intro Music Be blog post if you want to understand this a bit better.
How often should I podcast?
It all depends on how much free time you have to record an episode, how long it takes you to record an episode, and what is the average episode length of your podcast. Depending on your answers, you might be able to podcast daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
You can learn more about the factors that play into the answer to this question by checking out my How Often Should I Podcast blog post.
That’s it for today’s post. You should now know that you do not have to go through the process of copyrighting your podcast if you live in the United States if you are not running a big podcast.
Like we have mentioned, you can still take legal action if someone steals your content, even if you did not pay to get it registered because the existence of original content in any physical form means that it is copyrighted.
If you still have any questions regarding how to copyright your podcast, then feel free to email me at email@example.com.
- Podcast Copyright Rules – Be a Pro in 5 Minutes!!!
- Copyright for Podcasters: How to Protect Your Podcast
- Why Your Podcast Needs a Trademark
- FIXED IN A TANGIBLE MEDIUM OF EXPRESSION
- I’mI’m Starting a Podcast. How Do I Protect My Copyright?
Till next time,