Risk Management for Private Podcasting in 2023

 January 22, 2023

By  Kyrie Mattos

Like other online media content, existing copyright laws also apply to private podcasts. Podcasting copyright infringement is sanctionable by the law. Many people agree with this but can’t determine if internal podcast content is copyrighted or how to use excerpts from such. 

There is also the aspect of securing your online content using a hosting platform with secured private podcast features

Whether you want to protect your podcasts from copyright infringements or learn how to avoid breaking copyright laws, this guide is for you. 

How to protect your private podcasts 

This section explains two risk management techniques for protecting your private podcast content.

1. Use a private podcasting app

Distributing your internal podcasts through a company-owned platform is one way to secure your private communications from getting to the general public. Leading podcasting hosting sites use secured RSS feeds to make sure the audio podcast is accessible only by admitted listeners. 

But there is an issue. Some users can log in, and download the podcast, after which you can’t control who they decide to share it with. Some more secured hosting networks like Podbean offer your organization complete control over who can access the podcasts, how they do so, and how the content is distributed. 

You could even assign access restrictions based on a more specific audience segmentation basis, like hierarchy or location. 

2. Acquire copyright for the private podcasts

Copyrighting your internal company podcasts or other private podcast content protects them from being stolen, fabricated, or reused without your consent. It also implies you cannot freely use every sound, music, or content you find online.

By the way, obtaining a copyright is not difficult. The simple requirement is having original content or an idea you expressed as tangible media – either recorded or written. Enforcing the copyright law on your produced content would require filing with the Copyright Office for your jurisdiction. 

It is a reference should you take up a case regarding copyrighted material. However, you can’t copyright an idea. Let’s say an idea of a fictional lifestyle podcast. No! It is only recognized under copyright laws when you must have presented the idea in your words- complete writing or voice recording. 

Any other person could also create their expression of the initial idea, but it must be unique and not an explanation or reproduction of your expression of the basic idea. 

Understanding the fair use policy

The fair use policy is an important term everyone looking to start a private podcast should learn. Fortunately, it is usually a defense rule against allegations of copyright infringement. Someone must have reported to a court before it’s decided if you broke the fair use policy or not. 

That being said, the fair use policy interprets the right to reuse content without permission if the terms of reuse are considered transformative. The word “transformative” could be interpreted differently, depending on the specific context. 

There are generally four ways to evaluate the fair use policy. 

1. The intention of use

Imagine replaying a portion of a fictional crime podcast. We will only term it fair use if your comments were about expressing your opinion about the podcast, how it helped you and why it could be useful to others. However, commenting or explaining your improvement to the podcast idea is likely a breach of copyright laws. 

2. Type of copyrighted material

There are more protective laws over creative private podcasts, like fictional storytelling or theatrical podcasts, than non-fictional podcasts based on facts or real-life happenings. 

3. Percentage of work used

The third approach to evaluating fair use is the percentage of reused work. Using a minute part like 10 seconds of a 10-minute show would probably be considered “fair use” over 3 minutes cut from the same 10-minute show.

4. The potential effect on the original’s content market 

The last consideration is how your version of the copyrighted material would affect the acceptability of the original private podcast. Causing a potential cut down on the expected use of the original content would likely be termed copyright infringement. 

How to avoid private podcast copyright infringement issues

Avoiding copyright infringement charges on other people’s private podcasts is possible when you understand the existing regulations and how to request permission to use them legally. 

  1. Seek a license from the copyright holder of the internal podcast. A podcast could have more than one copyright claim. For instance, copyright on the music and copyright on the podcast. Ensure proper findings.
  2. Check for open licenses or Creative Commons versions of the copyrighted material. This method does not involve meeting the copyright holder. You only have to follow the stated terms and conditions in the offered license.
  3. Confirm if the published works exist in public domains, in which case, you don’t need direct permission from the owner. However, there might be a few exceptions where copyright claims have expired. 

Common mistakes about private podcasts copyright laws

Check out common misconceptions that cause breaches of copyright laws or wrong interpretations of fair use policy. 

  1. The credit rule: giving credit to the copyright holder of a material is not the same as obtaining a license or official permission to reuse content.
  2. The 30-second rule: using only 30 seconds or a small portion of a copyrighted show does not invalidate existing copyright laws on the private podcast.
  3. The non-profit rule: the assumption that reusing content for a non-profit purpose is not copyright infringement is completely wrong. 


Managing copyright infringement risks for private podcasting is not that difficult. It starts with understanding the applicable laws and their interpretations and starting a podcast with proper copyright documentation. 

In addition, you need to be particularly careful while sourcing background music, intro, and outro jingles online since they could come with copyrighted claims. The best approach to doing that is finding websites that offer paid or free license sounds for your internal podcast ideas. 

Even though fair rule exists as a defense in court, it should be your last option since you could pay heavy fines if found guilty of copyrighted infringements. Besides, you also get to pay for a defense counsel. 

Kyrie Mattos


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