What to do about podcast copying, including the one question that you really, really need to ask yourself before you even figure out what you’re going to do about it.
So here’s the thing. If somebody’s copying you, there are a few things that you can do. But there’s one question that you really need to ask yourself before you figure out which of those things is the best for you. I’ll tell you about it in one second. But first, here are some of the options when you are a victim of podcast copying.
Contact the infringer directly.
Number one, you can contact the infringer directly. You’d be so surprised at the lack of copyright or any IP knowledge that people have. Some people just don’t know that what they did was wrong. So a lot of times this option works if you are comfortable reaching out to the person directly and telling them hey, here’s what you did, here’s what I own, please stop or take it down.
DMCA takedown request.
You can also submit a DMCA takedown request. You see a DMCA takedown on sites like Facebook (here’s a link to its reporting tool) and YouTube (and here’s YouTube’s.). But basically, it’s like a copyright infringement takedown, where you fill out a form and say what was copied. But it’s that form that allows you to report copyright infringement.
You can always lawyer up!
The next option is consulting with a lawyer to maybe send a cease-and-desist letter, or maybe if it’s a really intense situation, depending on what’s going on, file a lawsuit.
And then you might do nothing. If you think you might do nothing, I would say at least talk to a lawyer to make sure you’re not giving up your rights to anything if you really want to do nothing.
The one question you need to ask yourself before taking action when podcast copying strikes.
Okay, so I told you, there’s one thing that you need to figure out before you take any of these steps. That thing? Figure out what was copied?
Was it your podcast, general theme? Guess what? That might not be infringement. Same thing with a theme of an episode or subject matter of an episode. But essentially, think about the number of television shows about doctors. A general idea, or a general topic as it might apply to podcasts, is not really protectable under copyright law. Now, did they take your script? Did they take your words and just basically repeat them? That’s a little bit different.
Did they use the same guest that you use? Again, that’s probably not a situation where there is infringement going on unless you had some kind of exclusivity agreement with a guest, where the guest agreed that they would be, you know, your exclusive guest, maybe for a certain amount of time. Then your issue is with the guest, maybe not so much the podcast.
Podcast art? Totally legit. U.S. copyright law absolutely protects things like art, graphic design, and photography. So if someone copies your podcast art, that’s a situation you might want to handle.
Intro music. Again, it’s only an issue if you own that music, or if you licensed it under an exclusive license. “Exclusive license” just means you’re supposed to be the only one with permission to use that specific piece of music. And again, it might be an issue for the licensor — the person that you got the music or the company that you got the music from — maybe not so much the podcast.
Bottom line? If you’re a victim of podcast copying, the first thing you have to do is figure out WHAT was copied. That will dictate your next steps. (Especially if it’s something like an episode theme, which may or may not be protectable.)
So I hope that that helps you to understand some options and some things to ask yourself when you are a victim of podcast copying and I’ll see you next time.