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The (Legal) Guide To Podcasting

Doug Caverly
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-10

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New guidelines have become available for podcasters with the intent of helping them avoid legal woes. The Podcasting Legal Guide specifically addresses issues related to remixing audio clips that may or may not be the legal property of the podcaster.

Sound, if obvious, advice is included, such as: "It is important to make sure all necessary rights and permissions are secured for the material included in your podcasts . . . . If you do not obtain the necessary rights and permissions, you may get into legal trouble for incorporating third party material into your podcast and for also authorizing others to use that material as part of your podcast."

The guide represents an explanation of the laws concerning podcasts, not a change in the laws themselves or how they are enforced. And so while it may help illuminate these issues for the unaware, it is unlikely to result in any real differences in podcast content. Users will have no new motivation or incentive to change their habits.

The guide includes a foreword written by Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig. Lessig reflects on the complicated tangle of rules that currently govern copyright law, and urges (nonspecific) changes towards a more modern system. Known as a particularly strong advocate of lessening copyright and trademark restrictions as applied to technological applications, Lessig argues that the guide demonstrates the overcomplicated nature of existing restraints.

The Podcasting Legal Guide is approachable from a layman's perspective, and should prove useful as a single repository of the mess of rules and laws that govern podcast content. However, it serves as more of a reference point than a behavior modifier-which may very well accomplish its authors' objective.

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About the Author:
Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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