Many podcasters give huge attention to which guest to invite and topics to explore for each episode. While these are essential elements, one important factor in production must never be neglected: podcast IP. Joining Tracy Hazzard is Media Intellectual Property Attorney Alexia Bedat to discuss how podcasters can protect and take full ownership of their work, particularly the audio. Alexia explains the importance of the term “work for hire” in outsourcing contracts, securing partnerships with other shows or organizations, the power of RSS feeds, and shaping your show to become an excellent candidate for adaptations. She also talks about the best approach to the “Fair Use” of other people’s work, guiding podcasts in avoiding any potential legal problem.
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Why Podcast IP Is So Valuable, And How To Make Even More Value With Media Intellectual Property Attorney Alexia Bedat
I am bringing you something slightly different. We’re not bringing you a podcaster. We’re bringing you a woman who works with a lot of podcasters and their intellectual property. I’m bringing you Alexia Bedat. Alexia is a Legal Associate at Klaris Law, which is a boutique media, entertainment, technology, and intellectual property firm, and a Management Consultant for KlarisIP, a boutique consulting and managed services firm focusing on IP rights, royalties, digital asset management, and metadata. She focuses her media and entertainment practice on pre-publication and pre-broadcast review, content, Fair Use review and IP licensing matters, negotiation, and drafting of development, production, and distribution agreements in the film, television and podcast industries. She generally advises clients on the legal implications of developing technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality.
Prior to joining Klaris Law, Alexia worked as a Law Clerk at BuzzFeed, where she supported the news team. She has also worked with law firms specializing in Media Law in both London and Paris, and earned her Law Degree from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Alexia continues to TA at the Columbia Journalism School where she received a degree and is a member of several Media Law Resource Center Committees. She is also an AR&VR enthusiast, frequently addressing legal challenges in this area. Tom and I are big fans of intellectual property because we designed and developed so many products over the years that royalty stream supported our ability to start Podetize, our podcasting business. It is a part of what came out of our initial show.
When we did our first show, WTFFF?! 3D Printing, many times the intellectual property topics were some of the most popular topics in our show and it shocked us that many people were interested in that. I think that’s the case here. Too often, we’re not thinking of intellectual property when we’re creating our show or asset values. I thought having Alexia on would be a great way for us to talk about that idea that you’re creating something that has a longer-term and asset-based value for you and your business. Let’s talk to Alexia Bedat about intellectual property and podcasting.
Alexia Bedat is a Legal Associate at Klaris Law, a boutique media, entertainment, technology and intellectual property law firm, and a Management Consultant for KlarisIP, a boutique consulting and managed services firm focusing on IP rights & royalties, digital asset management and metadata.
Alexia focuses her media and entertainment practice on pre-publication and pre-broadcast review of print and audiovisual content; fair use review and IP licensing matters; negotiation and drafting of development, production and distribution agreements in the film, television and podcast industries; and, generally advising clients on the legal implications of developing technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality.
Prior to joining Klaris Law, Alexia worked as a law clerk at BuzzFeed, where she supported the news team. She has also worked with law firms specializing in media law in both London and Paris, and earned her law degree from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Alexia continues to TA at the Columbia Journalism School (where she received her LL.M.) and is a member of several Media Law Resource Center Committees (currently serving as co-chair of the MLRC Pre-Publication/Pre- Broadcast Committee). Alexia is also an AR&VR enthusiast, frequently addressing legal challenges in this area. Recently, she co-authored a chapter on data collection practices for VR/AR companies in Siegel on Entertainment Law.
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Alexia, I’m glad you’re here talking with me. We’ve been trying to schedule this for months here and I’m glad it’s happening because there have been lots of great and interesting news about copyright, podcast, and all of those things. Before we get to that, I got to ask you the question. Are you a podcast listener?
I am. Tracy, it’s so great to be here. Thank you for having me.
What kind of shows do you like to listen to?
I have found Vergecast. It’s very helpful for diving into things that you’re hearing about every day but has no idea what it’s about like NFTs at the start.
Everybody wants to know what that’s about.
We’ve seen NFT, WTF, and all those acronyms used many times.
Do you listen to shows in a particular place?Whenever there's great value, there's responsibility. Click To Tweet
In commutes, when those things were happening, but otherwise, I like listening to shows on a walk.
When I do my makeup in the morning or do my hair, I listen to shows and then when I’m walking. Usually, it’s research in the morning. If you had a show, I would be researching it in the morning to get ready for our talk. The thing is that there are so many different reasons people listen to shows that I don’t think that the show hosts themselves realize the value of what they’ve created. Can you talk about some of the value that is inherent in creating a show?
There are different ways to look at it. There’s value to you and there’s value in what you’re putting out there. They both ultimately get down to the intellectual property and the content that you’re creating. There’s huge value starting in the first one in what you’re creating the IP because you have this asset that you have created that you can put out into the world, monetize, distribute and there’s huge value in what you’re imparting. Podcasts are often very educational. As I said, one of my favorite shows is a place where I go to get information about things I don’t quite understand. There’s huge value in the content you’re putting out there, which ties to responsibly creating that content. Whenever there’s great value, there’s responsibility.
I don’t think people think of what they do because they’re just talking. Do I think of it as intellectual property? Why do we discount that so much?
We tend to think of intellectual property as something that’s fixed. You think about it in a book and article. Because of the transient nature of dialogue, some people perhaps don’t realize that what they’re putting together, even if it’s audio, back and forth, it’s fixed and there. It’s something that can be repurposed, adapted, and sold that a TV show can be based on. Think about it as a pie that has all kinds of slices and you are in the driver’s seat to decide what you do with each slice of that IP pie.
The audience pretty much knows that I have a background where we’ve made a lot of money in residuals off of our products. It’s off of our intellectual property over the years. When we approached podcasting from the beginning, we reduced it to the written word anyway. We would take them and go from video, audio, to blog. It ended up copyrighted in the blog. You would see that, of course. You would be inherent. It would be obvious that is a copyrighted item. Our dialogue was always copyrighted, but are we inherently protected just by talking on our show?
Copyright talks about this thing, which is being fixed in a tangible medium of expression. What that legal lingo means in basic terms is as soon as you create something that’s fixed, it’s protected by copyright. Our conversation as it’s recorded is fixed. It’s a piece of IP. When you are recording your show, as soon as it’s fixed and before you’ve written a script, it’s a piece of IP that’s protected by copyright. That’s a different question from the kinds of protections you get if you register, which we can get to. From the moment you record your show, you are sitting on a very valuable IP.
It’s easy. You’re creating IP, talking, and interviewing. You’re doing all those things. You talked about responsibility. Let’s get into that. We have a responsibility when we’re speaking. What legal responsibilities do we have?
Your legal responsibilities depend on the content of your show. Are you giving advice? Are you giving health advice? Are you giving medical advice? You have a certain responsibility to your audience to let them know that you’re not a doctor, you are a doctor, or not to take the advice on your show as a given and to consult your doctor if you have specific questions. There are all kinds of disclaimers that come up when you’re talking about health and wellness more-advice shows.
A different category is, “Are you doing more a reporting type, investigative journalism type narrative podcasting?” There, where you’re telling a story, you’ve done investigations, and you’re talking about real people, what are you saying about those real individuals? Is your content true and accurate? Are you potentially defaming someone? Are you revealing a private fact about someone? Have you interviewed a source that you promise to keep confidential or not identify and are you identifying them? It depends on the content and that will help inform your understanding of your responsibilities.
A lot of us are not journalistically trained. We don’t have a sense of that. Do you have resources and other things that show hosts might be able to use to help find some of these things that would be important for them? Maybe some blogs that you’ve written?
We have written some things on our website, but I would point as an excellent resource for those who are reporting and have shows that dive into journalism is the Reporters Committee. If you look online, they have fantastic resources about all kinds of issues that come up in your reporting, interviewing sources, defamation, privilege, how to report on official proceedings, core documents, what happens if you go to interview someone at a protest, and what happens if you are filming an arrest. If you are reporting in that space, it’s a very useful resource.
We’ve seen quite a few controversial podcasters get into some trouble. We’ve seen this happen over whether or not they were defaming someone, accurately reporting something, or they were just straight out reporting what was known to be a lie. We’ve seen people like Joe Rogan and other people get into trouble. We have responsibilities in a way as influencers. That’s what this is looking at. Whether you’re not doing journalistic things, you still have a responsibility to report the truth if you’re referring to something. Is that correct?
Absolutely. You want to be able to stand by your reporting. You want to have taken steps to verify the allegations or the facts that you’re including in your show. Nobody is expecting you to be a New York Times level quality fact-checker or The New Yorker fact-checker, but you want to be able, if ever asked, to point to, “Here are the steps I took in good faith to the best of my abilities as an independent writer to research and verify the information that I’m putting out there into the world.”The moment you record your podcast, you are sitting on a very valuable IP. Click To Tweet
That’s always a good thing. I always keep the track of the people who I interview as well. I know where they came from and what their website is. I have certain minimum criteria where I won’t allow someone if they don’t have traction in the digital community. They don’t have a website and social profiles because that’s too risky for me.
You want to think also not only keeping track of the people you interviewed, but can they point you to other people who could support their version of the story and account? Can they point you to other people who can corroborate and add additional color? You can also keep a note of anything that they told you that might point you in a different direction. You might want to go down that road and should go down that road, depending on the subject matter of what you’re reporting.
We have some responsibilities also if we’re promoting products or talking about them. What are some of those things that podcasters should do to ensure that they’re doing the right things by any kind of promotions or advertisements that they’re doing?
That’s a very important thing to think about for people who don’t have enough listeners yet to be looking at advertising, but they may be looking at sponsorship where they refer to a product at the beginning of their posts or episode. Maybe they’ve even made an episode in collaboration with either a company or an organization. Those are all things that are great to do. The important thing in those cases is you want to disclose to your audience that you have that relationship with an organization or with the company. You want to tell them at the beginning, “This episode is brought to you in collaboration with organization X, whose mission we’re excited about because of Y.” You want to make it clear to your audience so they understand, they can then listen to your show, and take away what to them make sense in light of the fact that even if their reporting is independent, it’s in collaboration with another entity other than just you.
I want to give you an example because I know you all have heard this before. Tom and I did an episode on our WTFFF?! show, which is fused filament fabrication 3D printing. We did a collaboration of 25 episodes with Hewlett Packard. We pre-agreed to these things with Hewlett Packard. They were paying us to produce a 25-episode series. Of those twelve interviews were going to happen of various people that they were giving us access to that no one had ever interviewed before. We got this agreement that we were going to get access to people no one had heard from before. That would be an insider track. That was the appeal of it.
In return, the intellectual property and the copyright for all of those shows was ours. Anytime they wanted to have audiograms, produce a little video clip, or any of those things, they had to get our permission. The reality was we were going to produce them for them to use anyway so it was easy enough. They told us which clips they wanted and we would make it for them. In our case, that was the simpler thing. We had set in advance that we weren’t going to edit. We would only edit out something that was inaccurate or not in keeping with the legal agreements that they have. If someone mentioned a client that they weren’t allowed to mention, that would be the only editing we would do.
We did something that we’ve never done before, which was allow them to review the recordings, but we would allow them to review the final only to make those minor changes that was it and we only had one single change in all 25 episodes. I thought they were going to be a lot more difficult and they weren’t. It was a fabulous partnership because they were clear. They wanted us to be authentic. They wanted us to give the most value to the audience and do it in a way that was true to the show before, but they wanted to get the value of being associated with us. It worked out well for everyone. That’s a good example of trying to keep it at that higher level but also remembering that you have some intellectual property there. You got to keep your rights to that.
It’s a good example of having the discussions beforehand. It sounds like you were clear on, “You’re going to be able to review these segments, but only for factual accuracy and you should give us feedback within X number of days. If we don’t hear back from you in X number of days, we’ll consider it approved.” Anything you can do to make your relationship with any partner, brand, or entity that’s working with you clear is important. Another thing that’s important to think about is, “What are you agreeing to in terms of the promotion for them?” If they say, “We’ll give you X amount of dollars for promotion in your show,” What does that mean? Is it a promotion in every episode of your show? Is it a promotion in one episode of your show? Having a clear agreement, even if it’s just email exchanges where the expectations are clear, will save you potentially a lot of hassle down the road.
We were clear. It took us almost four months just to get the setup of what we were going to do and how it was going to work. There was a lot of pre-work than the actual work. That makes a lot of sense to be clear. I appreciate that. What are other things might podcasters do to both protect their intellectual property rights for long-term ideas, things that they didn’t even imagine like
“Hollywood might want to pick up your show?” Is there anything that they need to do to protect themselves from the beginning?
You want to think about what Hollywood, and I’m using Hollywood to mean a large studio, producer, network, or platform. What are they going to look for when they approach you and look at your shows? They want a clean, neat piece of intellectual property where they can get it all from one person. What that means for you is you want to control all of your IP, step one. How do you achieve that? Part of that is having agreements with everybody you work with. People might not realize that all of the people who are working on your show like the editors, producers, person who designed your art cover, and the person who composed the music for the intro and your outro, unless you have an agreement with those people if they’re not your employees, they own their contributions to your shows. They could, technically down the line when you decide to sell your shows, come back and say, “I don’t want you to do that. I get a piece of that financial pie.” How do you avoid that? You avoid that by having agreements with them that contain the magic words that are work for hire.
I’m glad you said that and I want to highlight that. There are a lot of production companies that don’t have those magic words built in. Sometimes, it’s not even clear on Fiverr if you’ve got your cover art from there that it was a work for hire. You have to make that clear, especially if you’re going to use intro music, cover art, and any graphics that you might use on infographics or other things that you might use as a part of your blog posts or other things. Those are the big areas that we see most people go wrong.
That covers the people who are working on the show with you, contributing the content, art, or music. Another thing to think about is, “What are you putting in your shows? What third-party content are you including in your audio? Are you using third-party audio from interviews? Are you using music? Are you using somebody who’s reading out a poem?” All of that content belongs to someone else. Somebody else controls that IP. To include that in your show, you’ve got a couple of options. You can reach out to someone and license it or you can Fair Use it, which we can talk about a bit more. That’s another thing to think about. All of the third-party materials in my show there for a good reason. Do I have a good legal basis for it so that when I hand over season one to someone who’s either interested in distributing it or adapting it, they know and I can say, “I have all rights to hand and sell this to you?”
Here’s an interesting thing that had come across my desk. I had an author who wanted to come on my show and then couldn’t check the box to say that they gave us permission to utilize any pieces or any little parts of it if they talked about their book. She came to me and said, “I don’t have the right to my book.” I thought, “You got paid to write this book. You wrote it. It was yours. Somehow, in your contract with the publishing company, you lost the rights to promote your book because now you can’t use any excerpts from it.” I was like, “That was alarming to me.”
I started to ask around to Juliet Clark, who’s got the show, Promote, Profit, Publish. She said, “This is common in the publishing world that you don’t end up with the audio rights to your own books so that means you can’t say an excerpt from your own book.”Fair Use is supposed to help creators and should be able to use it as a concept easily, but we're really not there. Click To Tweet
We’re seeing that in the podcast space, too. It was a huge point of contention that people started talking about and people are still actively discussing now. What to do and how do we, in the podcast space, give creators more control over the content that they’re creating? How do we get to a position where hosts actually own the IP of the shows they’re hosting? Otherwise, back to your example, you could invite a host from a show onto Feed Your Brand and ask them to play a clip of the show and turns out, the host is not the right person to give you that permission. It’s the company. How have we got there? What can we do about it? What are the next steps? Those are questions that are hugely important in the space.
Let’s talk about Fair Use that you mentioned because that has been in the news. There has been a Supreme Court case on Fair Use of Google, which surprised some people. I don’t think it surprised people in the legal industry but people on the outside. What does Fair Use mean?
That is a question that lawyers and judges are still trying to answer, but I will tell you what the official party line is and what it means. Fair Use is a concept that recognizes that we have copyright, but we have to balance that against the First Amendment, the right to use, and put information out there. Fair Use is what allows you to use somebody else’s content in a new way without paying them for it because the law and our society considers it a Fair Use. What it comes down to is, “Are you using content in a way that transforms the original content, repurposes it, and gives it a new meaning that’s different from the original?”
This is an amorphous concept that’s best understood with examples. Let’s say there’s a news clip that is on CNN one night. You have a show episode that’s talking about what happened in the news and the way that the news has been covering this specific event. You play a short clip from CNN, ABC, Fox News, and you’re talking about the different ways that all of these news platforms reported the news. That’s a very good example of transformative use because the people who are listening to your show are not listening to those snippets to get the news. They’re listening to those snippets to better understand the point you’re making about how these different news outlets covered a certain point. That’s a good example of Fair Use.
If you had only used one, it wouldn’t be as transformative as it is once you use all the multiples.
You could just use one. It’s a strong Fair Use in that case because it’s comparative, but you could use one clip from one source and it will be transformed as you could be having a show, which reviews and comments on movies. You have a movie clip. You’re talking about all the different acting techniques and impressive moments in the film. You play little snippets here and there. Depending on how you do it, that can be a Fair Use. Again, it’s a very amorphous concept. It’s definitely something to talk through people around you who know to get counsel on because it’s unfortunately, amorphous concept. It’s quite sad because Fair Use is supposed to help creators and creators should be able to use Fair Use as a concept easily, and were not there. In that way, it’s not serving the purpose it’s meant to.
I had issues before where people came to me and asked me, “Can I use this? Is it Fair Use?” I said, “If you’re nervous about this and you’re worried because whoever you’re sharing it from is litigious, then let’s do it differently.” What I typically recommend they then do is paraphrase what was said rather than playing a clip and then link to a clip, which you can do more easily in the blog. Refer people to the blog to get to the video clip. That video clip because it came out of the original video or it is a part of the original video, you’re referring to the original source. That eliminates that if you’re worried about it. Is that a good way to go?
It is a good way to go because you’re not actually including the content in your program. If you are including it, you always want to include to know more than you need to make your point. Part of it goes to what you’re saying. When you feel uncomfortable about it, part of Fair Use, I often say a good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the shoes of the person whose content you want to use. If somebody was going to use your content in that way, how would you feel? If you feel, “Fair game is for educational purposes. They’re commenting on it. I feel like this is the kind of thing this person should not have to pay me for,” that’s probably a good indication that you’re on the right track, though it’s very difficult to know.
Thank you so much for defining that for us. It helps and starts to thinking about what show you’re creating when this is a commentary, opinion, you start to understand, and how you can use other things as jumping-off points. That’s a very Fair Use example. Sometimes we want to create something that’s original. It might be a totally scripted show or completely different style of something that we’re creating and we have long-term plans for that like maybe Hollywood plans. How do we navigate that? How do we negotiate that model? What do you recommend that we preserve so that we can have the options later?
The keyword that comes to mind there is derivatives. A derivative is exactly that. It’s something that derives from your show. One thing you want to look at as a creator is any deal you’re entering into whether you’re creating the show on your own, you have a cohost, you’re ultimately delivering your content to a platform, at any point, if you are giving over your IP and specifically your right to participate in derivatives, that should be a big red flag to you if you’re thinking long-term.
In my world of product development, we had done 250 products for mass-market retail over a decade. If we had not had derivatives in our contract, someone could merely change the color of the design that we did. It would be a new SKU, a new product, and we wouldn’t get paid for it. I can tell you that even in that example, derivatives are clearly important. I’m glad you mentioned that because it’s a hard concept to like, “How do I define that? What would become a derivative?” It’s hard to define, but think of spinoff shows. They work.
That’s why you should never shy away from asking someone when they give you a contract, “What does this mean? Am I able to go on and write a book? Am I able to go and license this format? Can I make a TV show based on it? Am I allowed to do merch?” If you are working with somebody who’s honest on the other side, they should be willing to engage in this discussion with you. If they’re not and you don’t have someone looking at that agreement for you, at that point, you should go and think about that. You should always have somebody look at your agreements if you’re not sure.
Let’s be clear. You should definitely have a lawyer involved.
I didn’t want to suggest that you should. If you’re working with a nice person, all is good because who knows?Put yourself in the shoes of the person whose content you want to use. Click To Tweet
I’m going to have it said from my experience. You should have an attorney look at that, please.
You don’t know what you’re going to want to do with your show. You might want to do merchandise. We’ve seen a lot of shows out there where merchandise is a great form of revenue. For a lot of people who are putting their shows on Patreon, merch is a great way to supplement and attract people to pay that little extra subscription because they’re getting that benefit. They’re getting merch at a cheaper discount. If you ever signed something that took away that right, you can’t control, and make merchandise, that’s a whole revenue stream that’s lost.
It’s like the woman who had the book who couldn’t do her own audible because she had lost the rights to that. Again, to tie back with what Alexia said earlier is that, you better make sure you own your cover art. That’s a work for hire because if you’re going to make merch later, you’ve got to have the rights to that or you’re going to owe somebody something on those. It’s all tied together there. I love that you’re looking at this from the beginning of saying, “Remember, we’re working hard to create value here. There’s a value chain in that proposition that might have an upside value in the future. We don’t even know what that’s going to be yet.” Let’s make sure we’re doing everything we can to preserve that in the beginning. Are there things that we can also do to make us more attractive for that in the future or to a Hollywood deal? Is there something that we can do ahead of time in our show?
Some people will say that certain types of shows are more attractive to Hollywood than others. For example, the more narrative forms are perhaps more attractive and easier to adapt into a TV show, a series, or a feature doc than a daily news show is. Podcasts that have very strong characters and plots where you can imagine these characters and these plots coming to life, chances are, somebody else too and some business affairs execs also. You can imagine your characters and this plot coming to life. It’s a very rich characters and interesting plotlines. Those are all things that are attractive and good candidates for adaptations.
Another thing you could think about as well is, as you’re building your team around you to create a show, maybe bring someone who has scriptwriting or screenplay writing experience. We’ve seen this with Campside Media and the team is interesting. It’s made up of three veteran journalists and one person with a lot of background experience in screenwriting and screenplays who comes with that. That’s interesting because you’re building in your day-to-day the pipeline that could lend itself to being adapted for Hollywood.
How you’re making up your team, the kind of people that you’re bringing on, having people who have different experiences, and who come from different spaces in the media industry could also help you put together content that doesn’t just serve audio, even though the primary purpose and goal should always be you’re making something for the ear. What can you do with a long-term view to position that content as attractive for adaptations?
From a business podcast standpoint, there’s a lot of value too that people don’t even realize at the beginning until they get 100 shows in and you realize, “I have a lot of things.” There might be things that you are going to do. You might put out a book from that. You might eventually put out Frequently Asked Questions on your website. There might be a whole bunch of residual value things that you even sell to your clients in the future. From a business standpoint, not just a Hollywood standpoint, there is a whole lot of information here that you’ve created. You can do that with a more purposeful plan from the beginning.
The big one that we may be saved the best for last is your RSS feed.
Tell us about that.
If there are two words that you want to focus on when you’re starting your show or developing it with a long-term view are those two words, RSS feed. It is the direct line of communication from you to your audience. As you develop your shows and drop episodes into your RSS feed and people follow it or subscribe to it, those listeners are there, unless they unsubscribe. What does that mean? That means that when you have a new show, you can drop it into that feed and it will automatically go to this established, loyal audience. If Hollywood approaches you and they’re interested in an adaptation, they’re going to be able to promote the TV show that’s based on your show into your show’s RSS feed. That is a beautiful form of IP wrapped in a bow of market testing that you’re handing over to whoever you’re collaborating with. To the extent you can, holding on to ownership and control of your RSS feed is key.
That is the most direct route to the listener.
Especially nowadays, we’re hearing a lot of talk about creator economies, the importance of a link, and the relationship directly from creators to their audiences. If RSS feeds weren’t already important, they’re only going to become more important.
Alexia, are you aware of some of the contractual issues that happen from podcast hosting services or places where you usually are creating the RSS feed? There are quite a few out there that are “free.” When they’re free, they have the rights to put ads on your show and if you’ve recorded it using their system to never give you the audio back. What’s your recommendation for that? Is that worth it?
It depends on what your goal is. What’s going to be worth it to one person might not. If the platform is offering good production services and what you need at this point in your podcasting career is production support, it might be worth it. If they’re offering good marketing support, it might be in the short-term. If you’re signing up for a platform that doesn’t have great terms, make sure that you have an easy exit from it. I wouldn’t want to sit here and tell you it’s not worth it because I don’t know what might be worth it to you now. What you do know is that, if at some point it’s not worth it to you anymore, you need to be able to get out.Never let anyone tell you that you're not sitting on something that's valuable. Click To Tweet
Read the fine print. What does it say when you terminate? What do they hold on to when you leave? Do they have to scrub any data? Is there anything about their ability to keep using references to your shows in their library and their archives? What can they continue to do? Those are important things. If they’re holding on to things once you leave, then it might not be worth it, to your point, Tracy. It depends on the fine print there, but you should be reading that because if you’re signing up with a platform, the whole benefit of that is they’re not holding onto your IP.
Because otherwise, you would go to one of the bigger names. They would fund you. You would have a much easier production time and you would get out there but with that would come a loss of your IP. It’s a trade-off. If you are going to a platform that you’re using more as a hosting platform, then they shouldn’t be getting anything from you in terms of your IP. That’s for sure. What kind of rights they have to use your name to say that you’re on their service, but your IP should remain yours if you’re using a hosting platform?
If you have a long-term value that you’re trying to build here or a long-term business goal, it has always been in my opinion to say, “Let’s not do that. That sets you up for not having the value that you expect at the end of the day and you don’t have that direct conduit. Always get your access in terms of your RSS feed.” I agree with you. I thank you much for bringing all of these kinds of definitions and viewpoints to everything. Are there any other pieces of advice you would like to give podcasters out there? Even just from a listener experience, any pieces of advice for them?
Other than the ones we mentioned?
Yes, anything else you would like to add.
The biggest piece of advice would be not to underestimate the value of what you’re sitting on. Shows are interesting in the space. There are many different directions you can take it. There are audiobooks, TV shows, and events that are being made based on podcasts. We’re not thinking a lot about events because of the pandemic but before the pandemic, podcasts were a nice thing to tie into live events. Never underestimate and never let anyone tell you that you’re not sitting on something that’s valuable.
If ever you’re giving a piece away of your intellectual property, think about why you’re doing it. Is it helping you in the long run? Is it worth it to you? Are you giving it away to someone that you’re going to be happy to work with? Sometimes, you do have to give away your IP. If you are, make sure that you’re getting into bed with a good partner and you are making a deal that serves you as well. There’s nothing wrong with making a deal where everybody gets a good bargain, but you want to make sure, know the value of what you have, and make a deal that serves you in the long run.
Thank you, Alexia. I’m so glad you shared that. Creating value here as podcasters is what we’re all about. We’re trying to increase that value and figure out ways to grow, but sometimes it’s just perspective, like you pointed out. You are creating more value than you think. You are creating intellectual property. Thank you again for being on the show, Alexia.
Thank you so much, Tracy.
I hope that was eye-opening for you and starting to think about this long-term residual value. One of the things that Alexia was making me think about as I wanted to close this up for you and tie this around is that when she mentioned that value of your RSS feed, that’s another thing that you’re not thinking about. Not only is that RSS feed itself and the content that’s within it valuable, but the connection point. The point that it creates to all those subscribers that it’s the conduit to do it is valuable as well.
Giving up your show, shutting down your hosting, and giving up that RSS feed prematurely is not a great idea. It’s being penny-wise and pound-foolish. There are places where you can move your hosting where it’s free. I’m always hesitant about those, but there are certainly places that allow archived feeds where you can keep it archived until you want to use it, gives you an ability to have a lower monthly rate, and things like that because you’re not actively posting into it. We have that here at Podetize. It’s a good idea to keep your show RSS feed active, if not just for your website, but for continuity from all the different linkbacks and the other things you’ve done out there in the marketplace.
Finding a way to make that and continue to keep that residual value for you, that’s like keeping an email list. Even though you’re not emailing now, you have that email list and that’s a valuable asset to your business. Shutting down that asset is not a great idea. I’m glad she said that was important there. The other thing that I want to stress is too often and it has happened maybe 3 or 4 times out of the hundreds and hundreds of clients that we’ve served, is someone questioned us about whether or not we were doing work for hire, which we are. We put that in every contract. It’s in our terms and conditions. This is of big importance because Tom and I know what it’s like to be the designer and to make sure that we’re transferring the assets that we create or the intellectual property back to our clients. It’s always in our contract.
We were sensitive to that when we built this business, but so few people asked that question, “Is there a work-for-hire clause? What I’m doing with you having you create my cover art, is that a work for hire and do I own it at the end of the day?” We don’t ask photographers enough for the same thing. Being careful and thinking these things through, remembering that you’re creating this long-term asset value and you’re putting this much effort into it. Asking these questions upfront is a great idea. I’m glad that Alexia came on the show and gave us that perspective.
Thanks, everyone for reading this different type of episode. Let me know if there are other topics like intellectual property that you would like me to talk about here and you would like me to bring forward for you. I’m happy to do that. As always, you can reach me on social media @TheBingeFactor and at TheBingeFactor.com. Thanks again, everyone. I’ll be back next time with another episode of The Binge Factor.
- Klaris Law
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