So after pondering on what you can do to creatively express yourself to a wider audience, you have finally decided to experiment with the idea of podcasting. Well, no one can blame you as Podcasting is probably the fastest growing medium that is being used to cover a wide range of topics by people all over the globe. From politics to celebrity gossip, there are probably thousands of podcasts that focus on a particular subject. I personally hopped on the podcasting bandwagon after I was introduced to Joe Rogan and his channel on YouTube, and although I too played with the idea of streaming, my plans eventually got derailed because of a lack of commitment. But, if you are not like me and if you are someone who is itching to sit in front of a mic and even willing to interview a few people, I think you should start right away. So, let me help you out here a bit with the fundamentals of naming and owning your content.
First things first, if you are serious about your podcasting dreams, I suggest you get creative and come up with a name that is unique and is relevant to the content that you are going to put out. Since you are on it, maybe you can also design a logo and add a tagline that goes with your title. It’s important that you find a suitable name for your podcast so that future listeners don’t have to beat their brains trying to remember it. If you are struggling to find a title, you can reach out to your family and friends. There are also various sites that generate names that you can use to come up with something catchy.
Once you are done with this, we are left with the most crucial step for starting your podcast. i.e. get your logo, title, etc trademarked and your content copyrighted. As a serious podcaster, you are probably going to spend the majority of your time researching, editing, and interviewing guests. Imagine someone appearing out of the blue claiming ownership of your work while using it for his own gain. Sounds ugly right? To make sure this doesn’t happen every country has its own department that handles trademarking and copyrighting. However, if you are yet to start streaming your content, it is still wise to file for a trademark before you face any possible complications.
Check the availability of the name :
Once you have come up with a name or logo, it is important to remember that someone might have used the same name and a similar logo and they might have even trademarked it. Even in cases when a trademark has not been filed, there will be laws that could prohibit you from using the name or logo. Thus, making sure the name is available is extremely crucial. To tackle this, here are a few tips that can come be useful.
• Be unique. While deciding, don’t settle for names that sound too familiar as it can be difficult to trademark and you might even end up at the receiving end of a trademark claim in the future.
• Do a simple google search or a trademark search to identify similar names that have been used.
• Creative and made-up words or phrases are unique and also easier to get trademarked, so come up with something catchy or quirky.
To make sure that you are not infringing on someone else’s trademark, you can do an online search on your country’s trademark database as well as visit the website for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Here you can find databases for more than 100 countries.
GETTING YOUR NAME TRADEMARKED AND CONTENT COPYRIGHTED :
Trademark as defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” whereas copyright is the protection of “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” So basically, a trademark is used to cover things like the name of the podcast, the logo, or the tagline. Copyright on the other hand covers the content that you are going to put out.
Although you don’t have to necessarily register your trademark to have a trademark since it becomes your intellectual property once you start publishing content under the name and logo. But many individuals use the letters ‘TM’ to indicate that they own the name and logo and this might be a good idea if in case you have planned to file for a trademark only after you have established a solid audience for your content. However, registering early as possible is wiser since it makes it easier to defend the trademark if in case you end up in any legal issues.
To keep things simple the entire process of registering for a trademark can be explained in a few points.
• Hire a lawyer. Although the application process is not very complicated, it does require that you carry some information regarding trademark protection. Also to avoid errors that can lead to your application getting rejected it is probably smarter to get a lawyer to do the job.
• Make sure you identify the correct trademark class for the podcast name. There are no limits to the number of classes you can choose for your podcast and usually a podcast name falls under class 9 goods (downloadable MP3 files) or class 41 services (entertainment services, specifically podcast content).
• To start the application process, you have to fill out a form that can be found online depending on the country you live in. Once you are done with the details required in the form you can make an online payment and track the status of your application as well.
Once you are done with the application process, it usually takes a few months for the trademark authority to decide whether to approve or reject the application.
OBTAINING A DOMAIN NAME AND A HOSTING SERVICE FOR YOUR PODCAST :
To obtain a domain name for your podcast make sure that the domain name and the name of your podcast are same or at the very least similar, so that followers can quickly and easily find your website. You can visit any legitimate domain registrar website and register the domain name for at least a year at a time, although you also have the option to opt for longer durations.
The next logical step would be to look for a hosting service that allows you to host your podcast without any complications. A good point is to make sure that the hosting service has good download speeds. WordPress is a good example of a hosting service and it is also very popular among podcasters because it automatically creates an RSS feed.
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YOUR FUTURE AS A PODCASTER :
Let’s say you have made it as a successful podcaster with a large following, don’t you think you should make the most out of it? Maybe you can expand to other business or services. The large following that you gained might pave the way for more future successes. Or maybe you are already running a successful business. If that is the case you can continue using the podcast as a means to reach out to more customer or clients for your business and vice versa. Overall, running a successful podcast although difficult,it will eventually create more avenues for income in the future.
Since you have already read this far, I’m sure the entire process and the legalities involved might sound discouraging for a future podcaster. My intention was to make sure that one doesn’t face any legal issues in the future with the name or the logo of the podcast. Finally, I would reiterate that you make sure the name of your podcast is unique and simple to remember and also research a bit into it by doing a trademark search online.