This one word cost a podcaster BIG! Don't let it happen to you
How a simple definition — just one word — could’ve saved giant headaches,and literally tens of thousands of dollars!
Hi, I’m Gordon Firemark, The Podcast Lawyer™ , and I help creatives and business people in the podcasting industry cover their legal bases and protect themselves and the things they create.
Today, I’m going to tell you a story about something that has now happened often enough that I think it’s a real problem… especially for you do-it-yourselfers out there who write your own contracts.
It’s all about the word “podcast”.
That’s right… who’d have thought leaving the word “podcast” undefined could cause big headaches.
I mean everyone knows what a podcast is, right?
Well, not so fast. “Podcast” is not a precise term. Especially when it’s thrown around in the monetization context.
Here’s what happened:
Podcast producer and host connects with an advertiser and things are looking great. The advertiser is excited to get its message in front of the podcaster’s audience. So they write up a deal memo that says, “Advertiser shall pay $1000 per podcast for one year”. They sign it, advertiser gives the producer a credit card, and off they go. The producer charges the card $1000 every week as it publishes the show.
That’s when the other shoe drops. The year comes around, and the deal expires.
Another couple months go by, and then comes an irate phone call from the advertiser. “You said $1000 to advertise in the podcast for a year!” You overcharged me! You owe me $51,000.
The podcaster, of course sees it differently, “I said $1000 per podcast”. There’ve been 52 podcasts in the past year.
So, what happens? A chargeback. The advertiser contacts the credit card company and disputes the charges. Credit card company pulls the entire $52,000 out of the podcasters’ bank accounts.. only it’s not IN the accounts.. it’s been spent. So now the podcaster has a bank coming after him…
There’s a he-said, she-said pissing match, and ultimately a lawsuit that cost everybody way more than just the $50,000 in dispute.
Ultimately, they settle the case, and everybody winds up really unhappy.
All because they used the ambiguous term, “podcast” and didn’t give it a precise definition.
It could happen with any other undefined term you use. “Ad”. “Campaign”. Season.
Don’t let this happen to you. Be as precise as you can in your negotiations and contracts. .
The good news is, you don’t have to wing it or guess at how to write things up.
If you need contracts for your Podcast, have no fear! You can find a treasure trove of affordable lawyer-drafted forms and templates over at at
Or, if you’re looking for a deeper dive into the legal stuff, but still a do it yourselfer, check out http://easylegalforpodcasters.com
And Don’t forget… like, share, comment
I’ll see you again soon!
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