Disclaimer: This text is designed to be very useful, however please bear in mind that it’s common info and never authorized recommendation particular to you. Wesley Henderson recommends contacting an lawyer for custom-made recommendation however hopes this info helps you in your enterprise journey!
I used to be contemporary out of regulation college, working for an enormous regulation agency after I first began listening to the Sensible Passive Earnings podcast. I used to be instantly impressed as a result of, like me, the host was a enterprise skilled who went from a “regular job” to changing into a profitable entrepreneur. Each week I seemed ahead to listening to a brand new story, tip, or new mind-set about entrepreneurship. With out SPI, I’d possible have by no means even considered beginning my very own regulation agency, however it has modified my complete profession (and life).
Beginning my very own enterprise has allowed me to decide on staff who share my values and to comply with different pursuits, together with a non-profit, Driving for Downs, and a slew of different companies. The entrepreneurial mindset has helped me develop professionally and personally, and it’s all due to a easy podcast.
Combining my ardour for the regulation and my curiosity in podcasts, I’ve delved into the authorized facets of working a podcast, and I’ve discovered so much since opening my agency in 2014. This text outlines 5 steps that can assist you keep out of bother.
Distinctive Challenges of Podcast Regulation
Traditionally, property have been simply labeled into subsections like stock, gear, property, and so forth. Nevertheless, because the starting of the digital age, classifications have turn out to be more and more troublesome. This led to the rise in mental property regulation, which focuses on defending creators and their artistic works, which is what primarily covers podcasts.
Not like different property you may shield with door locks, safety cameras, and insurance coverage, podcasts ought to be protected by logos, copyrights, and contracts. This ensures creators are shielded from others stealing their concepts or infringing on their artistic rights. So, in case you personal a podcast, it’s essential to evaluate mental property regulation and different associated legal guidelines.
Step 1: Shield Your Podcast Identify with a Trademark
For months, you may have spent limitless hours in your podcast. Issues are lastly beginning to come collectively till you obtain a letter within the mail from a elaborate regulation agency in California that claims “CEASE AND DESIST” in utilizing your podcast identify.
Do you need to rebrand, do you want an lawyer, is your entire time for nothing?
This worst-case situation, sadly, occurs very often. For instance, you might wish to begin a podcast about crime scene cleanups and name it Crime Junkie, however that identify already belongs to a podcast that talks about felony circumstances from across the nation. This small mistake will be fairly expensive and even require you to rebrand and pay an lawyer
How do you stop this from taking place?
The excellent news is that it’s fairly straightforward to keep away from infringing. It’s best to begin by researching names on-line, hashtags, and so forth on the United States Patent and Trademark Workplace web site to make sure nobody is already utilizing your identify in the identical trade. To be taught extra about selecting your identify, watch this video.
For those who haven’t picked a reputation in your podcast but, then there are two facets it is best to contemplate:
- Make certain the identify you select is just not already getting used and/or trademarked. Your aim is to establish a reputation that may be yours and that has no confusion with some other podcast identify. The extra distinctive, the higher.
- You’ll ultimately wish to register your trademark so nobody else can use your identify. When to register your trademark is a judgment name primarily based in your price range, however the sooner, the higher.
Step 2: Shield Your Enterprise and your Private Property with an LLC
At any time when my spouse and I am going out to eat, we at all times scan the most recent Google critiques. Even with essentially the most well-liked eating places, you inevitably discover these two-star critiques that appear to at all times discover one thing incorrect and one thing to complain about. I consider that most individuals are good, however I additionally know all about these two-star reviewer personalities as a result of I find yourself coping with them many occasions in representing my shoppers (and they’re largely what conjures up this subsequent step).
These troublesome persons are the identical ones that write unwarranted unhealthy critiques, file lawsuits, and threaten your enterprise. So upon getting a reputation picked, you want an LLC or its equal to guard your enterprise and private property.
An LLC will separate you out of your firm and guard your private property. In case your LLC will get sued by a person for cash, damages, or the rest, it’s the LLC that might be sued and never you personally. That’s the magic of the LLC: it limits private publicity even within the worst of eventualities.
Beginning an LLC could sound like a frightening process however it may be a quite simple course of. There are two issues it is best to contemplate:
1. Create an Working Settlement
- Together with your LLC, it is best to create the governing doc for it referred to as an working settlement. This non-public doc establishes possession percentages, working guidelines, and different issues. (To be taught extra about working agreements, watch this video.)
2. Separate Financial institution Account
- I additionally suggest that you just get a separate checking account. This lets you maintain your enterprise completely separate. It’s an amazing enterprise follow in your bookkeeping and helps make sure you keep the legal responsibility safety you need out of your LLC.
- Necessary Authorized Tip — make sure to run all revenue and bills for the enterprise out of the LLC account, and do NOT use it for private bills!
When you’ve got any questions on how you can file an LLC, please go to our website, Drafted Authorized, to be taught extra and get the show you how to want.
Step 3: Use Contracts to Shield Your Cash, Time, and Enterprise
As an lawyer, I’ve acquired many telephone calls with tales just like this one:
Wesley, an individual I met at House Depot stated he wanted assist with an irrigation situation. Since I personal an irrigation enterprise, I provided to come back over and look. I went over and was capable of repair the issue. However then he had one other drawback that he thought I stated I’d repair. He additionally disputed the value we agreed upon. So, not solely does he need me to do extra work than I agreed to however he hasn’t even paid me. What can I do?
Issues get misplaced in communication. Whereas oral contracts will be enforceable, it’s at all times preferable to have a written contract as a result of then you may concretely show the phrases of the settlement.
The great thing about the contract is not only in making it straightforward to win a lawsuit but additionally it normally prevents the dispute from ever taking place. When the events take the time to place all their expectations on one doc, it turns into fairly clear what’s anticipated, so it avoids misunderstandings.
Contracts set expectations and make your life simpler down the highway. Listed here are some common suggestions when making a contract:
- Take a couple of minutes to make clear something which may not be apparent.
- Be sure you tackle issues like cash, deliverables, timeline, and so forth.
- Make the contract straightforward to grasp and so simple as it may be.
This behavior of clarifying expectations after which getting the settlement signed will dramatically cut back your probabilities of ending up in a dispute. You’ve already accomplished the arduous work to be sure to are on the identical web page (and also you’ll have the signed settlement to show it).
Within the huge world of contracts, listed here are a number of your podcast enterprise would profit from:
The visitor speaker indicators a visitor launch, permitting you to make use of it the way you see match and make derivatives of it, whether or not or not it’s shorts, reels, or YouTube content material. This ensures you gained’t have points sooner or later along with your friends, just like the visitor attempting to have you ever take away or try to manage the content material later.
For instance, if in case you have a chef in your podcast and his episode blows up in reputation due to his beef tenderloin recipe, he could later need you to take it down with the hopes that he can get all that site visitors to his web site or podcast as an alternative of yours. Nicely, in case you had him signal a visitor launch, he can not power you to take it down as a result of you may have a transparent settlement. The discharge provides you permission to do precisely what you’re doing (and it additionally releases you from any legal responsibility for doing so).
Worker and Unbiased Contractor
For those who use impartial contractors and/or staff, it’s necessary to put out the phrases of that relationship. This contains the whole lot from fee to timelines to deliverables. These all have to be outlined as clearly as you may.
When you’ve got impartial contractors creating mental property for the enterprise (corresponding to logos, ebooks, and so forth.), your contracts must state that the LLC owns this mental property. Inherently, an writer owns their artworks, so you might want to expressly state that it’s a work for rent and that the possession of such work is transferred to the LLC. In any other case, you might find yourself with a dispute over mental property possession down the highway.
You could have a written settlement if in case you have advertisers and/or sponsors. For instance, suppose you rent a social media guru to market and promote your enterprise, and so they overstep through the use of materials that infringes on one other firm’s trademark. You want the choice to terminate the contract or restrict legal responsibility. That is when a sponsorship settlement would come into play, as a result of it ought to embody termination phrases, fee phrases, supply dates, and so forth. This ensures your enterprise is protected.
I’m a lawyer, and I’m giving common info right here. It’s designed that can assist you do a greater job along with your authorized framework, however it’s not custom-made to you personally. It’s nonetheless good and useful. See what I did there? That is my disclaimer. My disclaimer is just not obnoxious; simply sincere and highlights my limitations.
Disclaimers are needed in your podcast to guard you from one thing stated on the podcast. What individuals say will be misinterpreted or misused. For instance, in case you are a health coach working a wholesome life-style podcast, it is best to use a disclaimer such because the one I take advantage of above clarifying that the knowledge and recommendation is common and never particular. Additionally, in case you’re not skilled as a doctor or nutritionist, then simply state that clearly. You’re attempting to obviously clarify any limitations your info could have. When drafting a disclaimer, it’s finest to not assume individuals know these limitations, so state them clearly.
To buy all of the templates you want in your podcast, Drafted Authorized has attorney-drafted templates right here.
Step 4: Personal Your Podcast Intro Music to Keep Out of Hassle
Though they are saying don’t choose a e book by its cowl, many choose a podcast by its intro. So whereas it might be tempting to play the theme track to Skyfall when speaking about overseas intelligence or use the brand new Taylor Swift track when speaking about her new album, this could be a harmful minefield.
Utilizing another person’s materials will be sophisticated and really costly. So as an alternative of happening the rabbit gap of how we will use these well-known songs, we suggest that podcasts use unique music or buy music you may have the rights to.
In case your price range is just not restricted and also you’ve recognized a must have track, go for it (and use an lawyer to assist with the method).
Nevertheless, in case you’re on a price range, save that cash and headache for an additional day and follow one thing you personal that you already know is not going to trigger you authorized issues.
Step 5: Keep Compliant with the FTC as You Monetize Your Podcast
The Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) doesn’t regulate podcasts as a result of they don’t seem to be “broadcast radio;” nonetheless, they do regulate podcast endorsement.
If you’re reviewing, endorsing, promoting for, or sponsored by a services or products, then you might want to disclose that below FTC laws. For instance, in case you function a podcast about cooking home equipment and an organization pays you and sends you a field of utensils to attempt to charge, it is best to disclose that you just didn’t pay for the merchandise. Typically, if somebody pays you to say one thing or promote one thing, disclose it.
A superb rule of thumb is to be upfront along with your viewers, whether or not it’s a sponsor or an affiliate hyperlink. Be taught extra right here from the FTC.
Let’s Simplify: A Authorized Guidelines for Podcasts
To summarize: in case you comply with these necessary authorized steps, your podcast might be off to an amazing begin with a correct basis:
- Choose a Podcast Identify (that you would be able to personal)
- Get an LLC (with an working settlement and checking account)
- Personal your intro music
- Use Contracts
- Adjust to the FTC
A lot of this may be accomplished on a price range with some analysis and know-how (however if in case you have the price range, you can too get a lawyer to assist) or with a good on-line authorized companies firm like Drafted Authorized. Attempt to use attorney-drafted templates and web sites with dependable info. You may at all times submit questions on Drafted Authorized’s web site too!
We hope this text clarifies what you might want to do legally so you may hit document. Better of luck!