Episode 27

Published on:

23rd Dec 2022

Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents for Podcasters

Do you need a trademark? A copyright? A patent? There's a lot to learn when it comes to legally protecting your intellectual property. On this episode, we talk about the differences between the three and which of them might be right for you. And also which ones you might not need to worry about.

Let me just state for the record that I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and if you're looking to go further down this journey, you should seek actual legal counsel.

Links to the things we discussed this episode:

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Fuzz Martin 0:00

Good Morning Podcasters Do you know the difference between copyrights, patents, and trademarks? Let's talk about them.

Fuzz Martin 0:12

I'm Fuzz Martin and this is Good Morning Podcasters. I host this show thrice weekly, with the aim to teach you some things about marketing, social media, public relations and advertising as they relate to podcasting and content creation. And this week, I want to talk about the differences between copyrights, trademarks and patents, and whether or not you need one, or multiple of them for your show.

Fuzz Martin 0:39

Now, this is a good time for me to say a few things. I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. Consider it a starting point in your journey to understanding copyrights, and trademarks to this episode is very us focused because that's where I am. And that's what I know. Copyright law and trademark law vary greatly around the world. And three, if you're interested in learning more or conducting any of these, do your research or better yet, consider hiring a copyright patent or trademark lawyer to do it for you.

Fuzz Martin 1:15

So what are the differences between copyrights, trademarks and patents? Well, copyrights protect original works like art, literature, music, podcasts. In other words, content. Trademarks protect things like names, taglines, logos, in other words, brand. And Patents protect things like new inventions. You process is compositions. So things like putting chemicals together to make a medicine or pharmaceutical, basically any physical or conceptual invention.

Fuzz Martin 1:54

Do you need any of these for your podcast? Probably not. But maybe. So let's talk about each of them.

Fuzz Martin 2:03

We'll get patents out of the way. First, the only time you would need a patent for a podcast is if you invented something totally new, like some sort of podcast delivery system or a process or something like that. The patent is the hardest and most expensive of the three to come by. Again, patents are for new inventions, processes compositions, you likely won't have a use for one, unless you're making a podcast pill that makes your voice sound great.

Fuzz Martin 2:33

Now let's talk trademarks, you might have a need for a trademark, you can trademark things like the name of your show, not one episode of your show, you wouldn't want to trademark and they want to give you a trademark for the name of one episode, but a collection of episodes would constitute a show and you could trademark the name of the show. In fact, the US patent trademark office gives this example. And I'm quoting here, your trademark won't register if it's only used as the title of a single creative work. However, if your trademark is the name or title of a series of creative works, it may register you need to provide evidence that shows the title is being used for the entire series, not just one creative work in the series. Still quoting for example, the book title The Tipping Point identifies a single book and the film title The Manchurian Candidate identifies a single movie however, CS Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia books, and PRs, all things considered radio programs, and the Twilight saga films are each a series because they identify more than one creative work under that name. End of the quote.

Fuzz Martin 3:44

One thing with any of these is that you have to be prepared to defend them. That means if you register a trademark and somebody starts using your trademark, you must enforce it, otherwise, you risk losing it. And if you're paying 250 to $350 per class, to register a trademark, and that's if you file it yourself and don't use the lawyer, then you're throwing away your money and your intellectual property if you don't defend it. So if you're gonna get a trademark, you gotta defend it. I've registered a number of trademarks in my career. I've also had a few nasty times where I've had to defend a trademark, and it never feels good when you find out that some small business or startup is unknowingly using a name that you have registered in your class, and you have to go and shut them down. But if you feel your trademarks worth filing, that it's worth defending, and then you need to go ahead and make sure you shut down any infringing use.

Fuzz Martin 4:44

And then finally, there's copyright. So copyright is a funny thing. According to the US government. looking at copyright.gov. "Your work is under copyright protection the moment is created and fixed in a tangible form that Is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." In other words, once you've created a podcast episode, and it's out there for the public, it's technically copyrighted. But there is a process to officially copyright your work. Again, according to copyright.gov, you don't have to register your copyright. But in general, copy registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment your work is created, you will have to register however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a US work. So, registering a copyright creates an official public record of your copyright that you can use to defend your copyright if somebody's stealing your stuff.

Fuzz Martin 5:48

I have personally not registered copyrights on any podcast episodes. So I'm not certain of the cost for it. If you have a large podcast or perhaps a very highly produced podcast, or maybe one that's likely to get stolen, you may consider registering a copyright for each episode or for the collection of episodes. But a lawyer will be able to tell you the best direction and what that is going to cost you. I tried to look it up, there's not really a straight answer that I could find in all of the legal mumbo jumbo again. That's what lawyers are for.

Fuzz Martin 6:23

So let's recap this one more time. A copyright covers your content, a trademark covers things related to your brand and a patent is for inventions.

Fuzz Martin 6:36

That'll do it for today's edition of Good Morning Podcasters. If you find this show helpful, please give me a five star rating in your podcast player. And then once you've got that finished, please tap the little Follow button. Then you get this show every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when it comes out because that's when the show comes out. Okay. Great. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend. And I will talk to you Monday right here on Good Morning Podcasters.

Santa Claus 7:18

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About the Podcast

Good Morning Podcasters!
Marketing, Advertising, PR and Social Media Tips for Podcasters
Good Morning Podcasters explores marketing, advertising, public relations, and social media topics as they relate to podcasting and content creation. The show is hosted by Fuzz Martin—an agency owner and former broadcaster. The show is published on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with regular bonus episodes of "Podcasting Sucks!" with co-host Jeff Townsend on Saturday mornings.

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Fuzz Martin

Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.