Inside Podcasting - February 7th, 2020

Inside Podcasting (Feb 7th, 2020)

"Fair Use" in Podcasting / Let's Give a Damn / Harriet Tubman / Satanic Panic


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1. What constitutes "fair use" in podcasting? A recent incident between production company Wondery and ultra-athlete and podcaster Rich Roll has brought this issue to the fore. On Wednesday, Roll tweeted that episode two of Wondery's new hit show WeCrashed used tape from an interview he conducted with WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey on The Rich Roll Podcast without providing appropriate credit. Roll said that by using his tape, Wondery's producers had been able to create the impression that the interview was conducted by Wondery's host David Brown. (It should be noted that Wondery used tape from three different sources and had credited the two of them). In response, Wondery removed the clips and apologized publicly and during a phone call, which took place between Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez and Roll yesterday. Lopez says the mistake was made due to "human error." In an email, Lopez also said "We're working on establishing better protocols -- as soon as we have something we can share, we will. I hope everyone appreciates that we acted quickly to remove the clips before Rich even asked us to do so." 

In a phone call with me yesterday, Roll said that he believes Lopez was genuine in his apology and acted without malice. However, he said using two minutes of his tape (the exact length of time has not been provided), and splicing it throughout the show does not, in his mind, qualify as "fair use" and raises bigger issues. He posed the following questions: "Where is the legal and ethical line with this kind of thing? What rights do podcasters hold (who have catalogs of conversations) against their content getting used for documentaries etc. without permission?" 

I also spoke with Hernan, who pointed me to language around "fair use" and says that under these guidelines, he believes Wondery's use of the tape did qualify as fair use. Here's an excerpt: 

“Fair use” is a key part of the social bargain at the heart of copyright law, in which as a society we concede certain limited individual property rights to ensure the benefits of creativity to a living culture. We have chosen to encourage creators by rewarding their efforts with copyright. To promote new cultural production, however, it also is important to give other creators opportunities to use copyrighted material when they are making something new that incorporates or depends on such material. So copyright law has features that permit quotations from copyrighted works to be made without permission, under certain conditions.

In weighing the balance at the heart of fair use analysis, courts employ a four-part test, set out in the Copyright Act. In doing so, they return again and again to two key questions:

1) Did the unlicensed use “transform” the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?
2) Was the amount and nature of material taken appropriate in light of the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use?

Readers: Do creators need more protection around this issue? Or do you think the boundaries of "fair use" are clear enough? Write back and tell me what YOU think. 

2. I recently tuned into this episode of Let's Give a Damn, in which liberal-leaning host Nick Laparra speaks with conservative writer David French. It was a breath of fresh air to hear these two discuss hot button issues such as gun control, faith, and the role of government without flipping tables and losing their s**t. The conversation has also given me hope that a return to a less partisan world isn't an impossible fantasy. (LET ME LIVE IN THIS FANTASY FOR ONE HOT SECOND, OKAY?) Check out Laparra's 100-plus interviews with other people who give a damn, including Clint Smith, Craig Newmark, Chelsea Clinton, and TV star Josh Radnor. — NICK LAPARRA/LET'S GIVE A DAMN

3. Another Best-Kept Secret Podcast of 2019

A few months ago, I published a list of readers' "best-kept secret" podcasts of 2019. There were many worthy contributions, but I missed an important one. So today, in place of my usual Follow Friday feature, I present reader Richard Banks' recommendation. 

Following Harriet transforms Harriet Tubman from the two-dimensional character we learned about in school into the American hero she really was. The podcast delves deep into biographical details and places her life in the context of the times. Throughout, it also conveys the risk and suffering she experienced throughout her days. The show features interviews with the director of Harriet, the movie about Tubman that premiered last year; a slew of historians; even musician Rhiannon Giddens.  

Note: The four-part podcast began airing late last year to coincide with the premiere of the movie Harriet and is part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Virginia Freedom Seekers Project. It’s narrated by The Takeaway co-host Celeste Headlee and produced by Tonya Ott and Tanner Latham's Ingredient. 

4. Satanic Panic, a bizarre moment in U.S. history in which hundreds of people were accused of heinous crimes, is the subject of two upcoming podcasts. Gimlet Media drops Conviction: American Panic on Feb. 25 and the CBC released the first two installments of Uncover: Satanic Panic this week. From the sound of each show's trailer, it appears that the stories used to examine the phenomenon are not the same, so if this is your cup of tea, listen to both! Click here (or on the image below) to watch a video trailer for Uncover's version of the story on Twitter. — TWITTER

5. In honor of Black History Month, Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion, the creators behind Slate's podcast The History of Black Slaveryhave reissued their audio project. (I've never heard of podcast creators "reissuing" a show, but I'm in support!) Before listening, take a quick read of this article, in which Onion explains why she and Bouie created the show in the first place. 

6. Manners and advice podcast Were You Raised By Wolves has published an episode on whether it's a good idea to provide unsolicited tours of your home to dinner guests (*cringe*), tip tow truck drivers, and more. The episode is part of this week's Earbuds Podcast Collective playlist, charmingly titled "How to Not Be the Worst." The curated list of episodes tackles many thorny issues such as appropriate umbrella usage, gift etiquette and twerking on a corpse.

7. Robert Downey Jr. will star in a feature film based on an episode of Reply All titled "Man of the People." A recent piece in Deadline states that Team Downey, Downey's production company with wife Susan, is "percolating an adaptation" of the episode. It's also been revealed that acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Slacker, Boyhood, School of Rock) will direct. — DEADLINE

8. According to a story in Front Office Sports, The Athletic plans to add 50 new podcasts to its portfolio this year — an increase of over 30%. That said, sports media analyst Jason Barrett warns that the company has work to do to achieve its ambitious goals. "To play in the space with Barstool, ESPN, The Ringer/Spotify, iHeart, etc, they’re going to need more unique programming and hosts who have the ability to cut through the digital audio noise,” said Barrett. 

9. The Financial Times' female-hosted Culture Call podcast, which "digs into people, events, and trends that are shifting culture in London, New York and beyond," is back for a new season. Its first interview features Marriage Story director Noah Baumbach and future episodes will feature interviews with at least two podcasters, including The Heart's Kaitlin Prest and This American Life's Ira Glass.

10. Actor and podcaster Alec Baldwin will interview Los Angeles musician Butch Walker in a live version of Here's the Thing at KPCC's Public Radio Palooza in Hollywood on Feb. 27. Tickets are $45.

This newsletter was written and curated by podcast junkie and recovered publicist, Skye Pillsbury. Over the years, Skye has crafted digital media strategies for brands like Yahoo! and Microsoft and worked regularly with media outlets such as the New York Times, Rolling Stone and NPR. Skye was famous for 49 minutes when she and her son were featured in an episode of Gimlet Media’s Heavyweight podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SkyePillsbury.

Edited by Beth Duckett, staff writer at Inside.


We're at work on Season 2 of the Inside Podcasting podcast and hope to have more to share soon. In the meantime, you can catch up on the first season which included interviews with:

Ian Chillag, the creator of Everything is Alive 

Jessi Hempel, who hosts Linked In’s podcast Hello Monday

Martine Powers, who hosts Post Reports from the Washington Post 

Leon Neyfakh, the co-creator of Slow Burn, who is now the host of Fiasco 

Madeleine Baran, the investigative reporter behind In the Dark

and Inside CEO Jason Calacanis, who hosts This Week in Startups

You can find the show wherever you get your podcasts. Let us know what you think!

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