Being a podcaster: our rights (and duties) - Host your podcast for free on

Being a podcaster: our rights (and duties)

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Vodio is a French site, the following article is based on the rules in force in the French legislation.


We are podcasters, our association is active in the world of podcasting since 2010. This environment, which is regularly evolving, has seen an acceleration in its dynamics and new players have arrived in recent years. The latter, as well as their vision of the podcast world, have raised questions that concern all of us, as a producer or producer of podcast.


We propose to review your rights and duties in order to see more clearly.


Legal reminder


As an author of your podcast, your content is protected by the French Intellectual Property Code, Article L111-1 of the Penal Code:


"The author of a work of the mind enjoys, by the sole fact of its creation, an exclusive intangible property right enforceable against all."


This means that only you can decide how the content you produce can be used. This includes your podcast, its episodes, and the various texts and images you use in its production - if that creation is yours and yours alone. All these elements are subject to the Intellectual Property Code: everything you create belongs to you.


You can decide where your production is accessible, but also how it can be used.


To put it simply: as long as you have not given your consent to appear on a website, an application, or an aggregator - whatever its commercial policy - no one has the right to decide for you and to force you to do so, in any way whatsoever, without breaking the law. This includes little known applications, but also Spotify, Deezer, Apple Podcasts.


If you are ever confronted with this problem, we encourage you to:
- contact the persons responsible for this unauthorized distribution to request the immediate removal of your works
- contact the host of the site or application that redistributes your content without authorization
- file a complaint for the violation of your intellectual property rights if these actions have not led to an amicable settlement
- cite the relevant legal texts to support your request.


Be careful, if the persons in charge of this unauthorized diffusion have not put anything in place to allow you to withdraw your content simply and with the possibility of deleting the personal data that you had to use to do so, this constitutes a new offence in regard of the French law on data processing and freedom n° 78-17 of January 6, 1978. You are under no obligation to give up personal information to a company to ask for a correction of a broadcast which you are not at the origin. This one has the duty to keep no trace concerning you, this in order to protect you and to avoid the resale of your personal datas.


"Yeah but the podcast is free, right?"


As a general rule, the distribution of your podcast is done through an "RSS feed", in other words: a file or a URL that is free to access (except in rare cases of paywall or subscription); and your podcasts are distributed for free: if that is your choice. This does not mean that your content is free of rights.


Indeed, the free accessibility of your content does not give any right to a company or an individual to use your work without asking you expressly for permission. We use the term "use", not "access" because there is a big difference between the two.


The RSS feed is only a technical solution, more or less standardized, which allows you :
- to add your podcast on the listening platforms of your choice to reference it easily and make it accessible to everyone, allowing its automatic update
- to allow applications that request it to add your content with your authorization
- to give the possibility to your listeners to listen to you on their personal application, in a private way.


No company or individual has the right to divert it from this use.


It is the same legality that prevents the reuse of a newspaper article, a movie, a television show or even a blog by the first person who comes along. Imagine: Netflix takes the catalog of Amazon Prime, under the pretext that it is accessible with the same pricing conditions? You think this example is far-fetched? Okay! If you post a video on YouTube, it's free and open access. Does that mean that Vimeo can put it on its platform on its own initiative?


The French jurisprudence authorizes a "right of short quotation" only, and obviously this right is strictly framed by the legislation.


Even though these laws and practices are often unknown to the public, they exist. You may think it's complicated, cold, far from the passion you have for podcasting, but make no mistake: these laws protect you and your work.


If this is still unclear to you, here are some other cases to illustrate:
- your tweets, blog posts, and other publications are also freely accessible to everyone, but they belong only to you (Facebook does not have the right to retrieve one of your tweets and publish it natively on its platform)
- you can access a press article freely but it doesn't belong to you
- the street lamp that lights up your street is accessible to everyone, but no one has the right to use it for personal or commercial purposes (even if your keyboard isn't backlit and it would still be really practical!)


I am told that if my RSS feed is freely accessible, my content can be used


This person is confusing your RSS feed with the content it leads to. She/he/they may not be aware of the rights she/he/they have, or the duties she/he/they must comply with. Do not hesitate to redirect her/him/them to us so that we can exchange.


The "European Jurisprudence" on publicly available content


During a debate on the subject, you may hear about a "European jurisprudence". It exists.


It is about the case "GS MEDIA, SVENSSON, BEST WATER" in which it was granted that X could share a link present on the site of Y to publish it on his. But on two conditions:
- that the audience is exactly the same
- that the use is not made in a commercial context
- and that it is a link. Just a link. The link of your RSS feed, for example, not the content it leads to.


In any case, the Intellectual Property Code prevails over this jurisprudence, because in case of doubt your copyright prevails over any use.


"opt-out", "legal vagueness", "visibility"


These terms are regularly put forward by applications or companies that distribute your content without your consent. This is what we call “language elements”.


Legal vagueness


As explained in the previous paragraph, there is no "legal limbo". The Intellectual Property Code protects you against any unwanted use or use that has not been brought to your attention. You don't even have to say "I'm against it", it's a given. As "no one is supposed to be ignorant of the law", any person or company that uses your content without your authorization is de facto outlawed.




There is no such thing as an "opt-out" either. The most commonly used definition (wrongly) is that this technique allows you to add your content and give you the possibility to remove it afterwards. This is neither true nor legal, as it is in direct contradiction with the intellectual property code.


The term "opt-out" does exist, but it only concerns the recovery of addresses (postal or e-mail), from one professional to another, for advertising purposes.


According to the new rules established by the CNIL, the company is allowed to send advertising messages to professionals without having collected their prior consent, under two conditions: - to warn of the obtaining of this personal datas for commercial purposes - to give the choice to unsubscribe before any prospecting.


As a podcast producer, independent or not, this does not concern you. You can find more information at if you are interested.


As a podcast producer, the opt-out does not exist. If your content is aggregated/broadcast/used without your consent, it is not an opt-out, but a violation of the intellectual property code, yours, and you can ask for compensation.


If you receive advertising or production-related e-mails, this is not opt-out either, and it even has a name you all know: spam. In the eyes of the Privacy and Personal Data Protection Act, spamming is also illegal, as it implies that the sender has collected your personal datas without your consent.




Finally, the "visibility". This is the wild card often used to justify the recovery of your content and to persuade you that you should be happy or glad that they took your content. This is what many artists regularly hear under the terms "it will make you publicity".


As a producer of your own podcasts, you are the only one who can decide what is good or not for you and your work. When a company forces your hand, it's often more to their advantage than yours. Before you decide, find out what they do, their community, their reputation. Look if it is well rated, its number of downloads if it is an application (an application that is less downloaded than your number of listeners will obviously not bring you more visibility than you can bring to this application). Look at whether its networks are active and followed, the engagement of its "fans". Also ask yourself if you need it, what it can bring you, simply. And finally, ask yourself if you want to put your trust in an application that first took what was not its own, before trying to convince you that it was for your own good.


"But Google Podcasts does, right?"


Google, and other applications, automatically references your RSS feeds. This is not illegal: it is indeed an indexation, the same as when Google indexes your website and places it in its search results.


The Google Podcasts application is what we call a "podcast feed reader". There are others and we could mention Podcast Addict, for example.


You are referenced there, your listeners can find you there, but your content is not used by the reader. When you put it that way, it may not sound very clear to you, because the nuance is extremely thin.


A feed reader only reads a feed.


It does not use your content: it allows users to find it, and to subscribe to it. They look for you, they find you: period. And if the listener can't find you, they can add your RSS feed to access your shows.


This is the nuance and the difference with a company that uses your content and displays it, without the user requesting it. In the latter case, your podcast is used by this company to attract listeners, for various reasons and it is up to each and everyone to find them ethical or not.


Despite this nuance, you can request de-indexation from most RSS feed readers if you do not wish to be represented there.


As for the "He's doing it, why can't I?" argument, you'll - hopefully - agree that if someone jumps off a bridge, you're not going to jump behind him (but then again, that's up to you) (no but really, no).


I hear I have homework...?


Yes, you too are subject to the Intellectual Property Code.


When you produce a podcast, you are not allowed to use a film clip, music, or any other work that you have not acquired the rights to use. This applies to your episodes, but also to your logos and to every text related to your production.


Again, there is no such thing as "legal limbo" or "it will get you publicity" or "so-and-so is doing it". It is simply illegal.
- If you have a website and your podcast can be listened to there, you are considered as a broadcaster, you can comply with the SACEM, and thus be able to use works managed by it (not all audio works are managed by the SACEM). Spotify, Amazon, Apple Podcasts and other broadcasters must also do this. This is also the case for us at Vodio, not because we host podcasts, but because we offer them to listen to them, so we are also broadcasters
- you can use so-called "royalty-free" music. Be careful though, because it is possible to buy them back, and then you would not be able to use them again. Also be careful about the license of these tracks: you may not be allowed to modify the tracks, or to use them in a commercial way for example
- you can ask for permission to use a work directly from the person or company who owns the rights.


Finally, there is no such thing as "fair use" or the right to extract. This is a myth almost as old as the Internet. The slightest second, the slightest image, of a work, is protected in the same way as your podcasts are: if it is not yours, you have no right on it.


Our commitment


Vodio produces, hosts, broadcasts and promotes the podcast.


This media offers unprecedented freedom of expression, direct exchanges between listeners and hosts. It allows a real dialogue without intermediaries, democratic and healthy. In short, we love it, by passion, by desire, and by conviction.


And we love the independent and professional podcasters that we have been lucky enough to work with for many years. These thousands of producers who give their time, their energy, and their know-how to speak and let others speak, for the most part without asking for anything in return.


If you want to know more about the podcast ecosystem, what makes it so unique and some good practices to follow to allow this media to survive without becoming distorted, we recommend the manifesto for an open podcast. It's a manifesto for a fair use of the podcast, signed by a number of historical and more recent producers.

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