A common question podcasters ask is, “Do I need a podcast guest release form?”
If you are interviewing guests on your podcast, the answer is yes.
So why do you need a podcast guest release form in the first place?
Maybe you’re just starting out with your show, and your podcast hasn’t even been accepted by iTunes yet. Maybe you have less than 1,000 downloads. It’s not like you’re a huge show, and your guests might not even be that well known. What’s the big deal?
In the best cases, not having a podcast guest release form could end up costing you time and cause you a significant amount of undue stress. In the worst cases, it could cost you money, and jeopardize your show.
In a post he wrote on this very subject, attorney Gordon Firemark said a client of his was a podcaster that was sued by a former guest who wanted their episode removed after her show’s editorial direction changed. The lawsuit claimed, “copyright infringement, unfair competition, invasion of privacy, tortious fraud, all kinds of crazy stuff…”
Gordon goes on to explain that without a release, a former guest can demand that you heavily edit or even completely remove an episode, or they can demand compensation “for the continued right to distribute your show.” Needless to say, Gordon says many issues can be prevented if a guest release form is used.
When Should the Podcast Guest Release Form Be Signed?
Podcast guest release forms are also referred to as talent release forms.
As Legal Zoom says, “A talent release form is a simple legal document that is designed to prevent you from getting sued for the unauthorized use of someone’s image or voice… [it] should be signed before the start of production.” They went onto say, “A standard talent release form is a relatively short and simple document, and yet it’s critical to complete such a release for any recording of individuals that you do, so that issues do not arise later when your work is distributed.”
While we have seen podcast guest release forms sent in emails and signed via services like HelloSign or PandaDoc, Gordon suggests going old school. He says this important form should be a physical piece of paper that is printed, signed, and returned to you by the guest. As he said, “That’s really the right way to do it. I think that signing a piece of paper still carries a lot of formality and importance.”
Where Can You Get a Podcast Guest Release Form?
If you choose to create a custom podcast guest release form, it may be a good idea to have an attorney look over it to ensure you aren’t missing anything.