Can Podcast Be Copyrighted? How to Protect Your Podcast Content

can podcast be copyrighted

Copyright refers to protecting original works of creators that are fixed in an intangible form of expressions, such as a physical copy, film, cd, or mp3 file.

This copyright can help the creator of the work exclusive right to display, perform, distribute, or prepare derivative works of the original work.

Here, we’re going to break down one of the popular legal questions: can a podcast be copyrighted, and how to copyright a podcast?

Now, let’s get into the details!

Can Podcasts Be Copyrighted?

The answer is yes. U.S. copyright law protects both published and unpublished work, so your work is technically copyrighted after you place it “fixed in an intangible medium.” In the case of podcasts, it means right after you write content or record an episode.

There are several benefits of copyrighting podcasting. In particular, it is helpful if you have legal issues to deal with regarding your content. For example, if someone infringes your copyright, you need to send a cease and desist letter.

By filling and copyrighting your show, you’ll gain government backing should you need to take any further legal action. It also allows you to receive damages if your case becomes a lawsuit.

What Is a Copyright? 

It refers to the exclusive rights for the creator’s works to control their use. Any fixed, original work can be copyrighted, such as video, code, audio, writing, and more. However, ideas cannot be copyrighted.

How to Copyright Podcast?

Copyright your podcast is easy. You only need to meet two requirements:


Your work is original if you create it independently and execute it with a certain degree of creativity. In addition, it means the content of your podcast is not copied from that of another podcaster.

It is unnecessary to develop an original idea because ideas are not protected. Yet, your work should be an original expression of an idea.

In general, it’s an easy barrier to overcome.


It refers to putting one or more of your original ideas into any physical form.

In the case of podcasting, it means recording. You will get protection as soon as you record a podcast without having to post it online or make it public.

The recording will fix your ideas in a tangible medium of expression.

Do I Need to Copyright My Podcast?

As soon as your original podcast is recorded, your podcast officially receives U.S. protection. So while it’s not mandatory, it’s advisable to register a copyright with the US Copyright Office as it provides creators many benefits.

For example, an infringer will receive a cease and desist letter if they utilize copyrighted content.

In addition, it also allows creators to receive statutory damages should their case become a lawsuit. The fact is that having registered copyright gives them compensation if they go after someone for copyright infringement.

It is possible to group material into a folio of works, like podcast episodes or blog posts. Trying to protect your work without having it previously copyrighted will cost a lot unless you win.

What Is Fair Use? 

In some cases, you are allowed to utilize the copyrighted work without the owner’s permission, and it’s called fair use. Fair use refers to the use of copyrighted works for the following purposes:

  • News reporting
  • Comment, parody
  • Criticism
  • Research purposes

Yet, you need to remember that fair use laws only are available in the US.

The concept of “fair use” is easily misunderstood, and there are very strict limits on it. So it is therefore essential to consult an attorney before you utilize any copyrighted content.

Remember that it does not give you the right to use the copyrighted work and content whenever you want, including playing a short clip of a song, audio file, or sound recording to avoid copyright infringement.

You may not consider “fair use” as an exception to copyright law. It is just a measure of your protection if you are sued for copyright infringement. Unfortunately, it means podcasters still get sued, even if they claim fair use.

There are no clear rules that allow you to determine if your use is “fair use.” However, if your case becomes a lawsuit, the court may consider the following factors to determine if your use is “fair use”:

  • What do you use the copyrighted work for? For example, your use is commercial or for non-profit educational purposes.
  • The extent of copyrighted work is used in your work, such as using a novel chapter or a song quote.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work is relevant to the case, whether it is nonfiction or fiction. Is it published or unpublished,
  • Effect of the use on the potential market for this copyrighted work.


Can I copyright a topic?

You cannot copyright a topic. Instead, you can just do it with your unique approach to the topic.

For example, it’s impossible to do it with the topic “eating healthy,” even if you make it more specific, like “Paleo recipes for males in their 50s.”

You can just copyright your unique way of communicating a topic or idea. It ensures that no one can get ideas directly from your podcast without permission.

What’s the difference between a trademark and a copyright?

A trademark protects things like the podcast’s logo, slogan, and title. On the other hand, copyright is slightly broader.

It protects “original works of creator fixed in an intangible medium of expression.” It bao gồm mọi thứ from songs, and books to podcast episodes.

Does “30 Second Rule” work?

Many people assume that they will escape the law to utilize music using the “30-second rule.” But unfortunately, this rule does not exist.

Even if you utilize only 30 seconds of a YouTube video or podcast without the permission of the creator or author, it will still be considered copyright infringement.

So, it is best to utilize royalty-free songs or pay the author to use their work.


In general, if you want complete legal protection for the work you’re doing, you have to copyright it.

Don’t forget that fair use is only available to works created in the United States. Works created in another country will be subject to applicable laws in that country, and standards may differ from those of the United States.

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