What do you get when you mix podcasting with the law? Joining us on this episode is Gordon Firemark, an attorney in Los Angeles with a background in entertainment and podcasting law, and a podcaster himself. Find out how you can use podcasting to ethically market your firm, and how to protect yourself legally in this space.

The growth of podcasting

It’s developed as a really remarkable communications tool, but is still underutilized in many ways. It’s very exciting and a great opportunity for lawyers and businesses that are looking to reach their audiences in a different yet very powerful and effective way.

Legally, the issues are similar to the media law area: intellectual property, ownership, business entities, partnerships that happened by accident. There was once a major case where somebody filed a patent on podcasting technology, but now it’s been resolved. Hopefully that opens things up for people to start using it as a medium.

A marketing tool

Because Gordon does the show every month, that means SEO is fantastic and their website is easily discoverable. Audiences also get to hear your voice, get a sense of who you are, and can hear that you are knowledgeable and an expert in your field. This leads to a lot of international referrals — and not to mention, it’s a lot of fun and a great way to get the word out.

Objections and answers

Gordon takes on a few common questions would-be podcasters have:

“When does podcasting become attorney advertising that’s subject to regulation in my state?”

“It takes too much time.”

“What if I make a mistake on air?”

“I’m nervous about being on the microphone.”

Short form podcasts

People love short form content. It’s great customer outreach, and it’s a great opportunity for companies to reach their employees with updates, as well. People can listen at their desk, or, since it’s mobile, they can listen on their phone from wherever they are. For example, a CEO could become an even bigger celebrity in his company by doing a five-minute morning podcast!

The future of podcasting

Gordon sees more disputes on the horizon, especially as it concerns the use of third party content. Unlicensed music has become a big issue. Many podcasters don’t understand the legalities of using music for digital streaming, and Gordon is hoping to develop a streamlined approach to licensing music for podcasters to use in their shows.

Another thing coming up is ownership disputes. Podcasting is maturing to the point where people are breaking up fighting over the podcasts they started together. We’re going to start seeing cases involving the right of a person to control the use of their name, likeness, and persona.

Podfest teaser

Gordon is speaking at Podfest on a panel with two other lawyers. They’ve broken up the subject matter into different legal issues (e.g. intellectual property, copyright, trademarks and patents, ownership), with a lot of time for Q&A. They’ll also be talking about branding — with a lot of podcasts about things like TV shows and movies, it’s potentially a lot of hot water to fall into.

Resources

Gordon Firemark (Website)

Entertainment Law Update (Podcast)

Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark (Website)

The Podcast, Blog & New Media Producer’s Legal Survival Guide: An essential resource for content creators (Amazon)

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