August 17, 2022
E22 Top 5 Avoidable Legal Issues for Podcasters with Emma Heuston
If you have a podcast, there are possible legal implications to consider. Things like will the guests change their mind about allowing you to publish what you’ve published?
Will they want it taken down at a later date?
Will somebody put a claim on your podcast name?
Will there be a dispute with the sponsor over the terms you’ve struck with them?
Make sure you understand these issues and cover yourself.
In this episode, you will learn so much today from our guest, Emma Houston, who is a lawyer who runs The Remote Expert.
Remember, all advice is general in nature, and you should consult a professional directly for your situation.
In this episode we discuss:
- Naming your podcast
- Guest Release Forms and why they matter
- Disputes with listeners
- Protecting your content
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Note: this transcript was generated automatically. It’s accuracy may vary.
[00:00:00] If you have a podcast, there are possible legal implications to consider things like will the guests change their mind about allowing you to publish what you’ve published? Will they want it taken down at a later date? Will somebody put a claim on your podcast name? Will there be a dispute with the sponsor over the terms you’ve struck with them?
[00:00:18] Make sure you understand these issues and cover yourself. So stick around to the end. You will learn so much today from our guest, Emma Houston. Who’s a lawyer who runs the remote expert, but of course, remember [00:00:30] all advice is general in nature, and you should consult a professional directly for your situation.
[00:00:35] Welcome to magnetic pod. If you are looking to attract your sole clients while doing the work you love, this show is for you hack. I’m gonna leave you to. I’m a podcast manager and content repurposing specialist. The magnetic pod show is about attracting your sole pod of clients through podcasting. It will also include things that can be applied to other areas of your marketing strategy, too.
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[00:01:19] Hey friend, before we dive into today’s episode, remember to hit subscribe. So you don’t miss any of the tips we share in magnetic. On podcasting, lead generation and business boosting ideas. And [00:01:30] remember if you have, or you are thinking about starting a podcast, head over to my website at living music, media.com/freebees.
[00:01:38] I have loads and loads of free resources and templates that will help you get started. The link is in my show notes. Now here’s your show. Hello, Emma. Welcome to magnetic pod. Hi, lovely to be here. Pleasure. I have seen you around. I have been quietly stalking, you know, I’ve heard, I’ve seen you on the socials and you often come up as a recommendation, which is lovely.[00:02:00]
[00:02:00] And so it’s great to have you here. Yeah, it’s lovely to be here. I’m thinking of starting a pod next year, so it’s good to get dive in with it. You would have so much to talk about. Um, sure. So I’ll, I’ll just introduce you. So Emma owns the remote expert. It’s a virtual law form for online businesses. So she helps clients with two in two main ways with legal information.
[00:02:26] So I’ve seen that you have these templates, which [00:02:30] is brilliant because if people need something and they. A more affordable option. There’s amazing templates on your website. Uh, but sometimes also people will need a specialized, personalized, uh, solution for them. So you also do that as well. Uh, so can I ask you how you got into doing what you do now?
[00:02:53] So I have been a lawyer for 22 years, but after having my son, he’s 10, [00:03:00] now it the nine to five, just wasn’t working for me. And I took a remote role. We left Sydney where my son was quite young. I took a remote role as a partner, but it was still a bit challenging and I could see lots of other moms and parents struggling with that same push and pull.
[00:03:21] And I started this. I first of all, wrote a book called the tracksuit economy about working from home, which led me to start this business around [00:03:30] remote work. And when I got all these sort of remote work people, I realized most of them have started their own business because. Wasn’t necessarily flexible to always work in other businesses.
[00:03:43] And there’s a whole lot of there’s this whole online business community out there. And this was actually before COVID. So I started this business in 2019. And of course, since COVID it’s even more online, so there is there’s this [00:04:00] whole online community now, and we really focus on the areas in business. So I’m a commercial lawyer.
[00:04:07] But, um, we really focus in on people who have podcasts and online courses and, um, eCommerce businesses. So who sometimes work from home, not always, but who do have that online element to their business. And that’s actually most businesses now. Um, it is, yeah, it’s certainly a huge, I [00:04:30] mean, it was already happening, but.
[00:04:32] Wow. It certainly, uh, went on steroids, I guess, the whole trans the whole transition over to, uh, online and working from home actually, before we get into all your tips and advice and all the stuff you do, I saw something that was really interesting. So it’s up to you if you wanna talk about it, but you’ve mentioned on your website about, uh, Cause I can cut out anything.
[00:04:55] Um, the near death experience. Do you wanna talk, do you wanna share that? Yeah. [00:05:00] So when I was pregnant and this is probably also part of the, you know, life’s too short start your own business. When I was pregnant, I had really bad morning sickness. Couldn’t keep anything down. I was in the emergency award.
[00:05:12] And given an anti nausea drug, and that caused a sudden cardiac arrest. So I spent some time in intensive care. I was 13 weeks pregnant. Fortunately, my son and I both survived. I had to be resuscitated and we, oh my goodness. Survive that. So we [00:05:30] have, uh, one child by choice after that. Cause we, we are not quite sure what, cause it, we think it was a reaction to the drug, but we just don’t know.
[00:05:39] Um, so yeah, so that sort of too, when I, you know, got back, um, it’s sort of triggered, I think some things in my body like fibromyalgia, which means that. I get really sore muscles if I do too much. Um, cause I haven’t been since I had my son, I haven’t been, I [00:06:00] suppose the same as I was before. And I put that down to some of that stress of the event.
[00:06:05] So I have to be really careful about energy and being really purposeful about what I do in business. Working from home allows me to have a, you know, a business that’s really challenging. Also allows me to, um, you know, structure my day in a way that’s, that’s better. But it also, I think is, well, if not now, when, when am I going [00:06:30] to do that thing, if I’ve been waiting or, you know, miserable working for someone else, or it’s not really aligned to my values, which is where I got to in the job before.
[00:06:43] I started this business. It just wasn’t lighting my fire, going to work every day it was paying the bills. The people were fine, but it just wasn’t right for me. And I kind of thought, well, why not? So that that’s sort of been, I think [00:07:00] now sort of a, life’s too short kind of message that I take with me day to day and not to stress over bigger.
[00:07:10] The small stuff I suppose. And just to do it and, and yeah. Get things done. Wow. So there’s nothing like being reminded of your mortality, I guess, to really put things into perspective. Okay. So how are you helping people these days? So [00:07:30] we have, as you mentioned in the intro, we have two ways. We help people at the remote expert.
[00:07:36] The first one, actually three ways. The first one is the online templates. And they’re really good for people starting out people with budget considerations, or if it’s kind of a. Simple kind of arrangement and certainly templates are no substitute for customized legal advice and documents, but they’re certainly better than not having anything or grabbing some free thing or [00:08:00] copying your friends thing.
[00:08:01] and we know they’re drafted well, they’re drafted by by lawyers. So that’s a great option. And for some people. Perfectly, you know, just what they need for others. If you’ve got a really complex deal that you’re putting together, then you probably do need, um, yeah. Which so we help with legal services and as myself, um, my lawyer, Leanne as well, works with me with that.
[00:08:28] And then the third thing we do, because we [00:08:30] do a lot of digital. We have our templates and digital products. And we do a lot of services around other digital products, like digital courses, podcasts, that kind of thing. I do some digital product strategy work. So working out what’s right for you. So in a lot of service based industry’s templates work really well.
[00:08:50] Like we have other industries, PE courses work really well. Other things, you know, podcasts work really well. Um, [00:09:00] just working out well, what’s going to be the best, the best fit mm-hmm . And then what do you need to do to protect yourself? If you’re putting a course or a podcast at what sort of legal framework do you need underneath that to protect yourself rather than going out there, then six months later, having a problem and then getting, calling someone like me going help.
[00:09:23] This has happened. Um, you better sort of having that at the start. So having that [00:09:30] really clear strategy at the start works really well in terms of, well, I need, when I do this thing, when I get my podcast out, when I get my course out, then I need these documents to go with it, these templates or these documents.
[00:09:44] Okay. So let’s say that someone’s starting a podcast. Someone’s listening to this because they wanted to know about podcasts. They’ve either got a pod podcast or going to start to. To do them. What are some of the things they need to be aware of from a legal point of view? So I think [00:10:00] the first thing, and probably apart from putting it all together and thinking about what topic, the first thing people would come to would be the name.
[00:10:07] How do you name your podcast? And there’s a lot of podcasts out there. So making sure you have something unique that doesn’t get confused because you don’t wanna give your podcast a name that gets, you know, then people search and they find someone else’s podcast and listen to that instead. Mm-hmm um, you also don’t wanna have [00:10:30] a name that someone is using for a podcast that could cause trouble and it could land you in trouble.
[00:10:37] If you start using that and then you get a cease and desist letter. From them. So it’s really good to do that research. And if you think it’s going to be a really, you know, long lasting brand, it’s worth thinking about having a trademark for that podcast name as well, to really protect that brand and a trademark can, when it’s [00:11:00] registered, it lasts for 10 years in Australia.
[00:11:02] So it’s a pretty long term protection there provided you keep using it. But the protection is worldwide. No. So you can apply in Australia and then you have to make an app, an application either through the world intellectual property organization. Um, you can do something called the Madrid protocol, which goes in different countries.
[00:11:26] Or you can go to say, you also have a lot of [00:11:30] listeners in the. Um, you can go there and do a trademark there as well. So you would need to work out what your strategy is, but you would probably start say you’re based in Australia or whichever country you’re based in. You would start in the country. You’re based in.
[00:11:46] And then look at that strategy. Well, do I want to go worldwide or to certain other countries? And then you have this sort of a six month grace period to do that without a fresh application [00:12:00] to, to extend that. And. Use the Madrid protocol with, um, but I would recommend getting an experienced trademark lawyer for that.
[00:12:08] Cause it’s quite tricky. a lot of people start podcasts and they have all these good intentions, but then there’s pod fade where they maybe do a season and then that’s the end of that. So one of the things like I am aware of, uh, obviously searching the name and coming up with something. [00:12:30] Unique. If even aside from legal factors, you, if you want, like you said, if someone’s searching it, you are the one you want yours to be found.
[00:12:39] So sometimes, but there’s podcasts out there that exist that might have the name that you’re so in love with, but they haven’t made an episode for a couple of years. So what would you recommend then would just reaching out? Yeah, I would reach out and just say, look, I really like this name. Are you using it?
[00:12:56] Um, I suppose the danger with that is. They might be [00:13:00] leaving their podcast, their episodes up there. So you could still have that issue. They might not object to you using it. And if you have their consent, um, you less likely to get a cease and desist letter, for example, but you do into there. And I think, you know, be a, be a good person, reach out just.
[00:13:22] Have that communication rather than doing it, crossing your fingers, hoping they’re not going to get in touch. I think just tackle it head on and [00:13:30] if it’s not possible, Think of something, you probably think of something better. That’s right. uh, okay. What about problems with guests? If they, what kind of things can happen with that?
[00:13:41] So I suppose, and you would’ve had podcast guests in the past and you know where they’re like, oh, they’re just. Difficult or you don’t really gel and you, you might want to, for example, um, not publish an interview because it’s just not right. So you want the discretion to be able [00:14:00] to choose that, but you also have the flip side where the guest.
[00:14:05] You know, they might do a podcast and sometimes there can be a long, it might be a month or two before a podcast gets published. Depending how far ahead the schedule is for the podcaster and recordings. And they might wanna pull, pull the interview, or they might have said something that they then want to edit out.
[00:14:26] Um, or expect payment. So [00:14:30] which can, which can happen if they find out you’ve got a sponsor, they might kind of come back and want payment or, or to do something. So what you wanna do as the podcast series have complete control, who you talk to this guest, um, deal with any objections they might have. So you might need to put a disclaimer in.
[00:14:49] You know, it’s general information, not advice. Um, but you wanna be able to then edit that and it could be putting it in a best of show. It could be. [00:15:00] Um, using part of it rather than all of it. And you, you wanna be able to do that in a way that gives you freedom, complete freedom to do that rather than having someone come to you and say, no, pull that.
[00:15:14] I only want those five minutes in, and I want you to mention my show, this and that. So I think get clear on what you do need to mention for your guest and then make sure once you do it, you’ve. A guest, [00:15:30] a podcast release form, which sort of lets you do that. Lets you have that creative and editorial freedom.
[00:15:37] That’s right. Well you do it to create content. So you don’t really want to be held back from that. I mean, generally I do say like if you, if we cover anything, if I ask a question that’s uh, personal, that I’ll. I will let people know that I can edited it out, but that’s within a timeframe. , you know, if they haven’t let me know and I’ve gone and published it, um, yeah, you wanna, you wanna make [00:16:00] sure everything like that is, is clear.
[00:16:03] Absolutely. You don’t want to be told after you’ve published it or the day before it needs to be just a, again, that communication piece is really important there as well. Uh, now I’m just having a look at some of the things you’ve got a blog actually that I should recommend, which is on your website, the remote.
[00:16:23] Com, uh, and one of the things you’re mentioning here is about the litigious listener. So really [00:16:30] listeners can cause a problem. Tell me about they can, and I, you think about someone listens, they, you know, a top fan. And if you look at people that maybe troll comments online, you, you get a little bit of a.
[00:16:46] Sort of an idea about the trouble people can lose, but, but people might be listening to this thinking, right? I need a guest release. I need a disclaimer. Um, and they were to take action. They just wrote their own or got a, or copied one of [00:17:00] someone else. And then they got in trouble. They might come back and say, well, you know, you told you and Emma told me to do this and it didn’t work.
[00:17:12] So I, I think, you know, it needs to be really clear because podcast is entertainment. It’s general information. Every single person listening to a podcast won’t have the same circumstances. And it’s really important, particularly when you’re talking about really sensitive things. So, [00:17:30] um, you know, I’ve had, I have friends who have family law podcasts.
[00:17:36] And they have guests on like psychologists and they give general advi general information about things that can happen, but that’s not necessarily going to translate to be the same. And, and same with having a doctor or a psychologist on a podcast is it’s going to be general circumstances. And because you’re the publisher of the [00:18:00] information you, you, as a podcast to protect yourself, to make it clear that it is information.
[00:18:07] And it’s a great idea to have a listener disclaimer, on your website where people listen to the interview saying, it’s, it’s the guest views only. And you could have a really controversial guest on who swears or who has some, a really controversial view that could come across as discriminatory in some way.
[00:18:28] and you need to then [00:18:30] protect yourself to say, look, it’s not the guest views. Aren’t necessarily our views. We’re bringing new content. And part of freedom of content is for people to express those views, but you don’t wanna break any laws doing that or get caught for, you know, sort of get in trouble for defamation because you’ve published something online, either as a transcript from your podcast.
[00:18:52] Or your podcast. So just having that disclaimer, and you might read out at the end or start of your podcast, that [00:19:00] guest views are, are their own, um, it’s information. You know, if you need professional advice, you should go and see that professional about your specific circumstances. And it’s also a really good idea to have a link where you, well, the platforms you list your.
[00:19:16] Podcast on. So say Spotify, apple, Google podcast, and your website as well. Just that disclaimer, that it’s it’s general. And you would say that for your, your own content [00:19:30] too. I’d imagine that this is general advice. Absolutely. What we’re talking about today is general advice. Someone who has a podcast about pig farming might be very different to, you know, a doctor , but if people follow that advice without.
[00:19:47] As advice, I suppose, rather than information, that could be a problem. So just to, and, and, you know, 95% of people are going to be understand that, and they’re not going to hold, [00:20:00] but, but it’s that 5% that, that are the danger zone there. So most of my clients that have podcasts do it because to promote their own business.
[00:20:12] Uh, so as a bit of a lead generation and a branding tool, and for as a way to create relationships with people that they get to meet through podcast guesting and, and all of that. Uh, but there are some that also like, look for sponsors. So what are some of the things [00:20:30] that can come up if you have a sponsor for your podcast?
[00:20:33] So I, I think a sponsors a really great way, you know, if, if you are able to get a sponsor, that’s, that’s really great, but I suppose with money, nothing comes for free. So in return for being a sponsor, that sponsor wants exposure and you’ve just gotta be careful. How you it’s just gotta be documented because if you said to me, I’m gonna sponsor your [00:21:00] podcast.
[00:21:00] And I said, great. Okay, well give me $500 a month and you can be the gold sponsor. And you gave me the $500 and then I did my podcast and didn’t mention you and you’d be pretty angry. and then I, but then I, you might say, oh, you should mention me. And I say, oh, well, um, magnetic pod is sponsored us. and then that’s it.
[00:21:25] And I say right at the end, when nobody’s listening still, so it’s gotta be really [00:21:30] clear. what that sponsorship involves. Do you mention them in your social media posts, um, going your sponsor and I would go, we’ll mention you three times per episode. Um, we’ll tag you on social media and then they should also be sharing your podcast to their audience.
[00:21:49] Part of that is, well, we, we are proud to sponsor the magnetic pod. Here’s. Here’s a link to the podcast this week. This guest [00:22:00] is really great and it gives them content, but it also gives you exposure. And it’s important to think about, well, do they expect to come on as a guest every little while? Or what do they hope to get out of it?
[00:22:12] Is it a prerecorded mention at the front saying thank you. This podcast is brought to you by the magnetic pod and, and a little plug, or is it. Sometimes in the, and you do, you sort of hear in podcast different things. So sometimes someone [00:22:30] sponsors it it’s at the start, but then often you’ll have breaks in podcast where there are little ads and some people just put ads about their own pro you know, testimonials about their own thing and other people.
[00:22:43] sort of do do, um, ads from sponsors. So I think you’ve gotta be really clear about what that involves what you’ll say, what your expectations are around exposure, um, that it’s sort of a mutual sharing on [00:23:00] social platforms. It could be that you go in there or they go in your, your email list, sending out a new episode update.
[00:23:07] So. It’s yeah, all those things need to be clear and documented. So if there’s a problem, you know, you haven’t met that target and how to end it or what to do about it rather than just taking money. Um, And then not mentioning them or mentioning them. And then the money doesn’t come, you need to be really clear about, well, when the [00:23:30] money gets paid and if they don’t give you the money, then you’re probably gonna stop mentioning them.
[00:23:35] So as a podcaster, so it’s very much a two way relationship and it can be really fruitful relationship, but. You need the, that structure and the framework to make sure everyone’s happy and that document it, it’s almost like a safety net to do it. The sponsorship agreement is a really good idea with that.
[00:23:59] Yes. I think [00:24:00] sometimes people shy away from, from these legal things, thinking it’s uh, oh, It’s really not that complicated. And we, we have a good relationship and all of that, but really just being clear and knowing what the expectations are, just gives you a good basis for that relationship. It sounds that’s right.
[00:24:19] Its really being clear and. Open because when I say, oh, you could sponsor my pod, you might think, oh, well, that’s just me [00:24:30] telling a few people about it or giving you $50. And, but, but I might think it means you are giving me a thousand dollars and you’re going to share it on this platform and run a Facebook ad.
[00:24:40] And, you know, there’s very different expectations and just making sure everyone’s on the same page because that’s, that’s where a lot of business. Deals fall down when people aren’t on the same page. And it’s about the confidence just with saying, right. Let’s just make sure we’re, [00:25:00] we’ve got all these things covered and then we can go ahead and not worry about that.
[00:25:04] It’s sort of like making you will then not having to think about it again. Uh, uh, and well, I, I do know for example, that. That there is a different kind of price. Generally, when I’m keeping up with what’s happening with sponsorships. I know the ones at the beginning or Midroll are more valuable than mentioning at the end.
[00:25:25] So that, that does make a lot of sense. That’s right. And often I’ve seen [00:25:30] people’s podcast sponsorship structuring, and they offer say platinum gold, silver, bronze, you know, whatever level you want. And they have certain inclusions. And I think that’s a really great way to open that conversation. As well as a podcaster, when you’re looking for sponsors, just have it really clear what they’ll get as a sponsor, depending how much they’ll pay.
[00:25:55] Okay. I think we’ve covered most things, but you do have, uh, something that you mentioned here in your [00:26:00] blog about, about copycat. Is that what happens with that? Do you wanna just touch on that? Yeah. It’s a bit, it’s a bit tricky because you know, and we have a lot of. People in all types of business think, oh, I think this webpage or this social post looks like ours and copyrights a bit, a bit tricky.
[00:26:21] Um, you know, and, and then if you’ve got podcast audio, you might repurpose it to your website as, [00:26:30] as a transcript. And that’s really great for SEO on your website and for other people, you know, some people prefer reading rather than listening, or they’re hearing impaired. But it does mean that you run the risk then of people coming to your transcripts and copying out big slabs and using it, um, in some other way.
[00:27:58] They can consume [00:28:00] it, but they can’t just take it and copy it and use it for themselves. Especially if they don’t credit it, if they’re going to copy it, at least put a link back to your website. You mind if I link this to my blog and yeah, it’s again, it’s that communication, which is a really common thread through all of this.
[00:28:24] And podcasting is about communicating. So having conversations. Absolutely. [00:28:30] So my goodness, you are a wealth of information. I, I think we could talk about so many other things, but we are running out of time. So is there anything that we are left out that you would like to make sure is covered? Look I, no, I think we got the main, the main sort of five issue.
[00:28:46] The top five issues. I think probably the best way is to go to. The remote expert.com/blog. And even if you search podcast, if you are interested in podcast blogs, there’s I think three [00:29:00] different blog posts that deal exclusively with. With podcasts. So that’s probably the way to really deep dive in. As you said, we could be here all day and people would be going a bit cross on
[00:29:14] So it’s probably good to leave, you know, leave people with thinking things to think about and then to either reach out or come to our website or our blog and have a look at, to work out what they need. And even with, I [00:29:30] mean, besides bot podcasts, you help with all aspects of businesses. I reached out to you recently because my own client, because I also do social media management and she had a, a question about using, about using photos that she saw in the media of her products and whether she could or not.
[00:29:47] So. Whether it’s social media, you’re coach, you’re a coach. You’re a service based business. Any of those things, I’m sure you’ve got solutions for all of us. So thank you very much for being here. How can [00:30:00] people reach you? Um, the best way would be to go to the website, WW dot the remote expert.com, um, or I’m on Facebook and Instagram at the remote expert on.
[00:30:12] Both platforms. Um, and then all my email and other contact details are there as well. Thank you. All right. We’ll put all that in the show notes. I could probably hear my husband,
[00:30:27] but yeah, [00:30:30] because I do podcast and I’m podcast producer. I feel that. More pressure than everyone expects absolute profe perfection, but keeping it real people, um, these things happen. Other people in the house make noise and sometimes it just gets in there. Yeah. That’s unfortunately it’s right at the end.
[00:30:50] All. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Emma. All right. It’s been a pleasure. So what were your key takeaways from today? Did it raise any. What would you [00:31:00] like to know more about? Let me know you can contact me via social media or email or join my free Facebook community magnetic pod. I don’t care which way you use.
[00:31:09] Just reach out to me. I’d love to chat with you. And remember, you can get access to lots of free podcast resources. That’ll help you get started or help you improve your podcast at livey music, media.com/freebees. Hit subscribe, cuz I wanna see you. For now go forth. Be the awesome person. You are live the [00:31:30] life you want to live and have fun.
[00:31:32] You’ve got this. See you next time
[00:31:54] to reach my people.[00:32:00]