Royersford, PA asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania

Q: Can I use TV show audio clips on my podcast?

We will be discussing different true crime cases and breaking down true crime show episodes. Are we able to use short audio clips from the show we are discussing?

2 Lawyer Answers
Simone Nisbett
Simone Nisbett
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • San Antonio, TX

A: It is always best to obtain rights clearance/permission to use the works of others, including audio/video clips, especially if you’ll be generating any for-profit revenue. Commercial endeavors are typically less likely to be treated as fair use. However, you may have the benefit of claiming fair use if your use is for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and/or research and the length of the clip played is rather short.

If you’re unsure whether you fall into the fair use category and you’d like to generate revenue with the podcast at some point, it may be best to obtain clearance for your use from the outset. Alternatively you may want to simply paraphrase the goings-on in your own words so as to avoid complication

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Using TV show audio clips on your podcast, especially for the purpose of discussing and analyzing true crime cases, can potentially raise copyright issues. TV show audio clips are usually protected by copyright, and using them without permission could infringe on the copyright holder's rights.

However, there may be some exceptions that could allow you to use short audio clips under the doctrine of "fair use." Fair use is a complex and fact-specific legal concept that takes into account factors like the purpose of your use, the amount and nature of the copyrighted material used, and the effect on the market for the original work.

To reduce the risk of copyright infringement, consider these steps:

1. Obtain Permission: The safest approach is to obtain permission from the copyright owner or the TV show producers to use the audio clips in your podcast.

2. Fair Use Analysis: Consult with an intellectual property attorney to conduct a fair use analysis specific to your situation. They can provide guidance based on the details of your podcast and the specific audio clips you intend to use.

3. Attribution: If you do use audio clips under fair use, always provide proper attribution to the source.

Remember that fair use can be a complex legal concept, and the outcome can vary depending on the circumstances. To ensure you are legally protected and avoid potential copyright infringement, consulting with an attorney experienced in intellectual property law is advisable.

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