Gordon Firemark is a lawyer specializing in entertainment, media, and business law. He is known as the "Podcast Lawyer" and offers online courses and information products to help people understand the legal structures and strategies they need to have in place when creating a podcast. He also advises avoiding legal issues when using artificial intelligence and deep fakes. He emphasizes the importance of having a release form in place to protect oneself from potential lawsuits. He can be found on social media and his podcast, and his website GordonFiremark.com has links to his online courses, forms and templates library, and more information. He also does speaking engagements outside the podcasting realm, such as for entrepreneurs, YouTubers, media creators, and more.
- Obtain written permission from guests before recording them for a podcast.
- Create a release form to protect the podcast from potential lawsuits.
- Understand the consequences of not obtaining the necessary permissions and releases.
- Visit GordonFiremark.com to sign up for his podcast, access online courses, forms and templates library, and more information.
- Reach out to Gordon Firemark on social media or by email.
Gordon Firemark helps creatives, artists, entrepreneurs, and others achieve the dream of getting their messages out and making a meaningful impact with their craft.
He has practiced media, entertainment, and business law since 1992 and is often referred to as The Podcast Lawyer™.
A podcaster himself, he’s been producing and hosting the Entertainment Law Update podcast since 2009. In 2020, he launched the More, Better, Faster podcast, which offers insights and advice to creative professionals and businesses who want to achieve more, better, faster. Gordon is the author of the Podcast Blog & New Media Producer’s Legal Survival Guide and creator of several online courses for creatives.
His undergraduate degree in radio, television, and film and his experience in live theatre production informs his thinking about all things legal. In addition to his busy law practice, He teaches Entertainment Law at Columbia College Hollywood, Intellectual Property and Media Law at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and Contract law at Pepperdine Law School.
[00:00:00] Gordon Firemark: So you know, hey, look, as a lawyer, I'm always happy to work one-on-one with clients, doing the legal work for them. But I, I came to recognize, and the reason I actually wrote the book was I recognize that, look, not everybody is in a position to hire a lawyer or wants to. Some people are just, you know, interested in the do-it-yourself approach to things or, or just don't have enough of a need at any given time that they're ready to invest, you know, five or $10,000 in, in hiring a lawyer to get everything right and set up for them.
[00:00:51] And things like whether you should have a corporation or an LLC or how are you gonna structure your business entity? Um, even if you decide not to have a separate company there are, you know, structures and, and, uh, deals to be made and, and transactions to be navigated. Likewise, with building a team, if you're working with co-hosts, and editors, and producers, and writers, and, and, uh, you know, virtual assistants, you name it, you need to have those kinds of things squared away legally in writing and those kinds of things.
[00:01:43] And then finally, you know, look, if you're interested in monetizing, well, now you're getting into real business deals and you better have the, the right structures and strategies in place for that as well. Contracts and, and uh, uh, just coming at it right. And it's, you know, so often people coming into this arena, they, you know, the, the fear isn't of doing this thing,
[00:02:01] it's of knowing what thing to do. And so, I'm, I'm really here to sort of guide folks on which things to do first, and in what order, and how to get them done efficiently and effectively, and, and with as few headaches as possible.
[00:02:21] Ed Watters: To overcome, you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn, we must challenge what we already understand, the way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself. Reach out and challenge yourself; let's dive in and learn something right now.
[00:03:13] Today we're speaking with Gordon Firemark, he is known as The Podcast Lawyer and he is a legend in the podcast industry. Gordon, could you please introduce yourself? Let people know a little more about you, please.
[00:03:28] Gordon Firemark: Well, a legend in my own mind, anyway, Ed. It's great to be here, thank you. My name is Gordon Firemark and I am a lawyer, I've been practicing in the field of entertainment media and business law for, oh, a little over 30 years now. And, uh, in that time I've worked with lots of folks in the independent film and television, and music, and live theater. And then as digital media started coming in, I became an early adopter of podcasting and blogging and uh, um, and so went looking for the, you know, the, the legal guidance on how to do it right. Discovering that there really wasn't any, I decided to make myself the expert and I wrote a book and I, um, position myself as the, the podcast lawyer.
[00:04:13] Ed Watters: And, uh, the services are phenomenal, I, I love what Gordon offers. He's always out there giving himself away and the knowledge you can obtain just by listening to his podcast and his lives on Facebook, it's, it's incredible how you do all of what you do. Why did you choose law over, you used to be an audio engineer, I mean, that is something else, you know, being into film and audio and everything you did in the past, it, it kind of blows me away that you got into law. How did that happen, Gordon?
[00:04:58] Gordon Firemark: Well, I will give you the origin story so you get a sense of it. So I got, uh, very interested and excited about live theater when I was like five years old. I went to this, uh, kindergarten through 12th school in Massachusetts and the high school kids were doing their production of Oliver, and this is the very early seventies. And, and, uh, they're doing their production of Oliver
[00:05:18] and they bring the kindergarten kids in to see a dress rehearsal and they sat us down and they told us, you know, be quiet, be respectful, and clap at the right place, you know, those kinds of things. Well, the lights came on, and the curtain went up, and the performance began, and the sound coming at us and, you know, the, all the dance and everything
[00:05:33] and I got so excited and, and, and into it. Now, I was never one to be on, Well, I shouldn't say never, but at the time I wasn't interested in being on stage, I was interested in how all that stuff worked. And so, you know, cut to a few years later, my family has moved across the country from my dad's job and, and we landed, uh, in a school district where the, the high school happened to have a really good theater program.
[00:05:56] And so I got involved in, in that as a lighting and sound and backstage guy and, and, uh, did that, starting at, uh, you know, as a freshman in high school. By the time I was a junior I was working professionally, uh, in theaters around LA at a couple of the major theme parks doing lights and sound and, and a little bit of voice work as well and that kind of thing
[00:06:16] and so, uh, that was me. And I, I, off to college I go, I figure I'll be a theater major. Well, where I went, the University of Oregon, and they didn't tell me this going in, was that the theater major meant you were an actor, you were on stage performing. Well, that wasn't for me, so I bounced around different majors for a bit.
[00:06:33] I chose, I tried fine art photography, I tried journalism, and I ended up in radio, television and film actually at, at the school I went to. It was radio tele, it was called Telecommunications and film, but it was radio, TV and film. And I, I was learning TV production basically and, in a studio that was, you know, a live TV studio kind of environment.
[00:06:53] It was a lot of fun and, and, uh, that really got me hooked in that. But then in my, I, I don't know, I'd finished up my major, uh, in my junior year or so in college. And so I started taking some of the graduate level classes and government regulation of the media, public policy and management around, uh, television, those kinds of things.
[00:07:11] And I was the only undergrad in these classes and I was getting the highest grades in the class. So the, the professor actually pulled me aside and said, have you thought about going to law school? And I thought that was the funniest thing I'd ever heard, you know I'm gonna go to film school.
[00:07:23] Ed Watters: Wow.
[00:07:23] Gordon Firemark: So I applied to a bunch of film schools and I, on a whim, I decided, okay, I'll take the admission test for law school as well. And I applied to a couple of law schools and I didn't get into film school, but I did get into law school. Uh, but I still wasn't quite committed. So I took, I decided not to do anything and, uh, took the first year out of, out of college and I went back to Los Angeles and I, I started working for a, uh, a cable television service that provided, that had a, a production department.
[00:07:53] We did sports, and news, and, and events, and those kinds of things. And, uh, uh, I had a, I was just given a, a crew and a truck and a, a production schedule of, you know, several events and games and things a week, and I was the line producer for these shows. And so, uh, that was great, but I really wanted to be in the mainstream entertainment world.
[00:08:15] Just as I was getting ready to make a job change, the Writer's Guild in Hollywood went on strike and that's when I decided, okay, I'll do this law school thing, it'll give me better job prospects. Not thinking about the fact that when you're a lawyer in the entertainment industry and someone in the entertainment industry goes on strike, you go on vacation.
[00:08:32] So the unpaid, you know, uh, holidays, but, um, uh, it's been great. And, and so I found an aptitude for it, and I, I love the intellectual stimulation of it, and I love to work with the creative people behind the scenes. To, uh, to do the great things and get their message and their impact out. And you, you mentioned that I give a lot of me away,
[00:08:56] that is part of the way I, I wanna operate. My, my goal, my, my real goal is to help, you know, a hundred thousand podcasters at some point to get their message out, have the impact they desire, and, um, and, uh, do it safely and without the, the troubles that can come your way if you don't know the rules and, and how to operate within the right boundaries.
[00:09:19] And so I love to educate, I do some teaching as well, and, and, uh, I view it as my, my way of sort of giving back to my community. Of, uh, providing a lot of good information so that people are, you know, forewarned and forearmed, I guess you could say.
[00:09:35] Ed Watters: Yeah. And you do it well. Uh,
[00:09:37] Gordon Firemark: Well, thank you.
[00:09:38] Ed Watters: there's a lot of, uh, individuals that follow you for that knowledge. And you know, they're not gonna come and get you when you're a little guy, the, they're usually gonna let you slide until you make it and then they're gonna attack you. So a lot of people don't understand, you might wanna think about that upfront. [00:10:00] And it, it's scary when you go talking to a lawyer, you know, everybody gets nervous and you know,
[00:10:07] Gordon Firemark: Yeah.
[00:10:07] Ed Watters: oh gosh, don't, don't slip up. But actually a lawyer is your best friend when it comes to this sort of thing, podcasting. Even on YouTube, you know, I've, I've seen a few instances where they're cracking down hard on YouTube people.
[00:10:27] Gordon Firemark: Oh yeah, yeah.
[00:10:28] Ed Watters: So it's way better to get your ducks in a row. Talk to us about some of those services that you provide the newbie in the industry that kind of just wants to dabble in it for a while.
[00:10:46] Gordon Firemark: Well, sure. So, you know, look, as a lawyer, I'm always happy to work one-on-one with clients, doing the legal work for them. But I, I came to recognize, and the reason I actually wrote the book was I recognize that,
[00:11:14] So I've created over the years, a, a number of online courses and, and information products and things like that. Uh, right now, the, the flagship of those is a signature course I have called Easy Legal for Podcasters. And inside we, we really talk about all of the, the, uh, different legal structures and strategies that, uh, uh, any media creator really, but, but a podcaster in particular, really ought to have in place.
[00:11:38] And things like whether you should have a corporation or an LLC or how are you gonna structure your business entity? Um, even if you decide not to have a separate company, there are, you know, structures and, and, uh, deals to be made and, and transactions to be navigated. Likewise, with building a team, if you're working with co-hosts, and editors, and producers, and writers, and, and, uh, you know, virtual assistants, you name it, you need to have those kinds of things squared away legally in writing and those kinds of things.
[00:12:07] When you're dealing with podcasting, intellectual property is a big, big thing. And so our, the course actually talks about how to protect yourself by registering all your copyrights and protecting the titles of your shows by registering trademarks. And, uh, some strategies about also how to license material that you want to use that comes from other sources and, and just the rules around all that kind of stuff.
[00:12:30] And then finally, you know, look, if you're interested in monetizing, well, now you're getting into real business deals and you better have the, the right structures and strategies in place for that as well. Contracts and, and uh, uh, just coming at it right. And it's, you know, so often people coming into this arena, they, you know, the, the fear isn't of doing this thing,
[00:12:48] it's of knowing what thing to do. And so, I'm, I'm really here to sort of guide folks on which things to do first, and in what order, and how to get them done efficiently and effectively and, and with as few headaches as possible.
[00:13:04] Ed Watters: Yeah. Uh, it's, it's hard to try to do it all yourself. And if, if you are going to make money at it, definitely get a lawyer.
[00:13:16] Gordon Firemark: Well, and let's face it, you know, most of us get into podcasting because it's fun or because we see,
[00:13:22] Ed Watters: Yes.
[00:13:22] Gordon Firemark: you know, we have something to say. And so the, the legal stuff is often a bit of an afterthought, but as you know, it, it's always a lot more fun to do these things when it's paying for itself or, or better.
[00:13:33] Ed Watters: Yeah.
[00:13:33] Gordon Firemark: And uh, certainly if you're trying to make it a profession, then, you know, you gotta do things by the book. You, you, and knowing where the book is and how to find it is step one.
[00:13:43] Ed Watters: That's right. You know, there's a lot of new things coming into our industry right now where it's being shaken up. What's your thought on podcasters using these artificial intelligent things, or like show notes, and all of those things. Are there gonna be issues with that and how should we think about avoiding those issues?
[00:14:13] Gordon Firemark: Well, there are going to be issues, there always are. Anytime you have a new, especially the disruptive new technologies, uh, that disruption puts people on the defensive, puts companies and other businesses, uh, in threat, essentially, in jeopardy.
[00:14:28] And so, yeah, there, there are going to be problems that we're starting to see already. Some of the lawsuits arising from, uh, the image-based, uh, AI systems, uh, Dolly and, and there's another one out there. And, you know, the, the owners of, of the, all those images that they used as the database from which to essentially seed the AI, um, they're suing over copyright infringement for the copying of those images into the database in the first place.
[00:14:57] Ed Watters: Oh, wow.
[00:14:57] Gordon Firemark: So that kind of thing. And that's, the same is gonna be true with the text-based stuff, where you're talking about show notes. So you know, you still need to check in and make sure the show notes aren't a verbatim copy from someone else's website or something like that. Or a book or, you know, those kinds of things.
[00:15:12] That said, there are, you know, this is a, a, there are two edges to this sword. One is the, the useful tool aspect of this and, and let, you know, let's be really honest, the, the AI's are great at shortening the amount of research time you have to spend and putting together at least a rough draft from which you can work.
[00:15:35] The danger is people relying on it so heavily that it replaces the human, um, uh, judgment and, and things that go into it. Or, um, uh, what, and the other is the deep fakes. You know, there's already been an example of a podcast that was made, a recording of Joe Rogan interviewing Steve Jobs. Well, Steve Jobs was dead at the time that this recording was made and Joe Rogan never met him in the first place.
[00:16:05] So, so this is a complete deep fake recording, and there are ethical, if not legal issues. There are ethical issues around doing that, about putting words in people's mouths and, and so this AI is a tool that can be used both for good and evil.
[00:16:22] Ed Watters: Yeah. Yeah, and, and there are, I noticed with some of the AI companies that I'm dealing with myself, they actually make you sign a waiver. That you will not use this for nefarious reasons, you will only use it for your purpose. And so there is a lot of thought going into that.
[00:16:48] Gordon Firemark: I think there's not as much as there ought to be and, and the, the courts are gonna be doing a lot of that thinking as the next decade or so goes by. You know, but it's interesting because these are, you know, this is just another situation where new tools come in and it shakes things up and, and we have to adjust.
[00:17:03] There was a time not that long ago when the idea of using Photoshop to retouch photographs was, you know, scary for photographers.
[00:17:12] Ed Watters: Yeah.
[00:17:13] Gordon Firemark: Well, what do you need professional photographers for if you, and now show me a professional photographer who doesn't use Photoshop or one of the equivalents.
[00:17:21] Ed Watters: Yeah.
[00:17:21] Gordon Firemark: And, and so we just have to experience and, and, uh, endure these growing pains and find the new path forward.
[00:17:31] Ed Watters: Yeah, that's one of the barriers going into a new technology, you know, figuring out what, what harm can come from it and how to change that. So,
[00:17:44] Gordon Firemark: Yeah.
[00:17:44] Ed Watters: uh, another big thing for podcasters that I see is, what they call fair use. Because so many get nailed for what they think is fair use. What, what's your take on fair use?
[00:18:03] Gordon Firemark: Well, so fair use is a legal defense to claims of copyright infringement. So if you don't mind, I'll back up a little bit and I'll just stay, start with explanation of copyright. So, copyright protection is a bundle of rights that belongs exclusively to the author of a work. And in order to get a copyright, all you need to do is be creative,
[00:18:24] make something original, fix it in a tangible form. So pressing record before you speak or whatever, or writing something in a word processor document, or on a page, or painting on canvas, carving in stone, all of those things lead to the creation of, are the creation of a copyrighted work. And then the author is the owner until, or unless they sell it or unless there was a, an employment relationship
[00:18:48] and then the company is the owner. So, so that's, that's number one. And it is illegal to make a copy, or distribute, or perform, or display, or make things based on that work without permission from the copyright owner, so that's copyright law. The problem is that's a law made by Congress that says you can't do these things about publishing stuff, and speaking, and copying of those kinds of things.
[00:19:16] Well, we also have a, a law in, on the books here in America that says, Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. So we have this inherent conflict and copyright law does come from the Constitution also. The law was made by Congress, but the Constitution directs the Congress to do that. So we have this inherent conflict and over the years the courts had to deal with this.
[00:19:37] Uh, they developed this sort of complicated four factor test to figure out, is it first Amendment, in which case we call it fair use, or is it infringement, in which case, the, the copier is liable. And that four factor test got popular enough that in 1976 when the Congress was revisiting and remaking the Copyright Act, they made it a [00:20:00] part of the law.
[00:20:00] And it's, it's, uh, now in the Copyright Act that says, you, you follow these four factors plus other things that you might consider. And, uh, we make a determination based on balancing all these four factors. Real quickly, the four factors are, the purpose and character of the alleged infringing use. Number two is the nature of the original work.
[00:20:19] Number three is the amount and substantiality of the portion that was taken. Um, and the fourth is the impact on the market for, or value of the original as a result of this alleged infringement. And so if those factors weigh in favor of the free speech argument, like because it's an, you know, only taking a little bit and it's for educational,
[00:20:39] or criticism and commentary kind of purposes, you know, that's gonna be more fair use than if it's a very commercial, uh, taking of the whole thing, those kinds of things. So that's what fair use is all about. Now, the problem is there's no rules of thumb. You have to wait until a judge decides, or a jury decides,
[00:20:59] yeah, it was fair use. So what happens though is people seem to think that there are rules of thumb. Well, I can use four bars of music, or I'm only taking 20 seconds, or those kinds of things that, that, but that just isn't the way it works. And so what we get with people using music in podcasts, or sometimes even quoting poetry, and I've, I've heard about cases where a podcaster was reading a chapter of a book each week into their, in their episode,
[00:21:26] that's flat out copyright infringement. And they do end up getting either sued, which is sort of the less common instant, but more often what happens is the owner of the copyright notifies the hosting company that, that hosts that content and says, Hey, take that down, it's infringing. It's the DMCA take down.
[00:21:43] And that's what happens with YouTubers and it's what happens with podcasters. It happens more often than you think because when it's done, it's just done quietly, you know, okay, it's gone. Unless somebody goes looking for a specific episode at a specific URL, you never get a notification. This is, this material's no longer available.
[00:22:00] But, uh, occasionally you see that. So that's what fair use, you know, it, it's a, I think it's a mistake to rely on fair use unless you're dead certain that it qualifies.
[00:22:13] Ed Watters: Yeah. So, so how can we alleviate getting those claims against us with certain licensing, how does that work?
[00:22:24] Gordon Firemark: Well, licensing is really just the act of obtaining that permission and getting it in writing. And usually it involves some kind of a payment or exchange of value of some sort. And, uh, you know, the, the right way to go about these is to identify the correct owner of the material, sometimes it's multiple owners, sometimes it's very complicated, identify that owner, reach out to them, ask 'em for what you want,
[00:22:47] negotiate a price. If there's gonna be money changing hands and get it in writing, that's, that's the licensing process. There are a few circumstances where licensing is sort of automatic or, or simplified, but, uh, most of 'em really don't apply in the podcasting, uh, space. In the YouTube space, we see, there's a, there is a bunch of music that YouTube has sort of already prelicensed for its folks to use.
[00:23:12] Uh, and, or they've made deals with the owners of the material that anytime they find one of their songs, they will either demonetize it from the, you know, the posters side or they'll split the revenues and share it with the copyright owners. And that's actually a pretty effective strategy. But, uh, you know, it isn't the entire catalog of music that's ever been created, so it's troublesome.
[00:23:36] Ed Watters: What about people using YouTube music out of the YouTube catalog on their podcast? Is that acceptable and what does YouTube say about that?
[00:23:49] Gordon Firemark: You know, I haven't gone and read the YouTube license, uh, for that specific question. But I believe, my understanding is that it is a fairly broad license and they do allow it in crossover media as long as it's also in a YouTube medium. So don't make a podcast without also making a YouTube video. But, um, my understanding is that it is okay for other things.
[00:24:15] Ed Watters: Yeah. So they could find that in the use statement.
[00:24:19] Gordon Firemark: Yeah. The, the real issue is that when it's on YouTube, they have the algorithms in place to identify it and monetize it and give some of the money to the, to the owner. When it's on a podcast episode, now it's no longer in that arena.
[00:24:33] Ed Watters: Yeah.
[00:24:34] Gordon Firemark: And so the, the copyright owner is losing money as a result of that.
[00:24:38] Ed Watters: Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's an interesting thing to look at. So, uh, work made for hire, this is a term used. Could you talk to us about that?
[00:24:53] Gordon Firemark: Yeah. So there are two kinds of work made for hire. One is you're an employee of a company and it's within the course and scope of your job to create this stuff. Well, then the own, the company, the employer is the owner of the results and proceeds of your work. The, you know, that's the, I paid for it, I own it kind of an arena. But that only comes up in the context of employ, of bonafide employment where you're, you know, taxes, and withholding, and, and workers' comp, and all those kinds of things.
[00:25:20] The other side of it is, the Congress set up a, a mechanism that, for certain kinds of works, audiovisual works, maps, test material, answer material, there's, there's a list of 9 or 10 kinds of things. For those kinds of works, if you have a written contract with an independent contractor that says, this is a work made for hire, then
[00:25:46] the hiring party, not the contractor, is the owner. And that's sort of how you get around that authorship is ownership issue when you're paying for something. But it doesn't apply to everything, so, uh, you know, you make sure it fits into the right categories.
[00:26:01] Ed Watters: And, and in your services, do you have the means for people to deal with things like that?
[00:26:11] Gordon Firemark: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, we use a lot of contract, I mean, this is, it's handled by contract. So, uh, I have contract template forms available for whenever you're hiring an independent contractor. Uh, some more specific than others for editors, and co-hosts, and things like that. But, you know, really every, anybody you hire to work on your podcast, they're creating a contribution to an audiovisual work.
[00:26:32] And so, uh, I think it, it qualifies as work made for hire. But you know, what we do in the contract is also, we also say, and if for some reason it's not a work for hire, you hereby transfer it all to us anyway, so the belt and suspenders approach.
[00:26:46] Ed Watters: Okay. And what about having guests on our podcast?
[00:26:51] Gordon Firemark: So yeah.
[00:26:52] Ed Watters: What's the proper way to bring guests on?
[00:26:54] Gordon Firemark: Well, this is my, what, you know, my, my crusade, it's,
[00:27:02] Ed Watters: Yes.
[00:27:02] Gordon Firemark: if you have a guest come on your show, you must have them sign a release, a, a, a form, a document that says, you have my permission to record me, you have my permission to edit what we create, you have my permission to use it on your show in, in whatever medium, and anything else.
[00:27:21] You are not gonna pay me, you, I mean, if you're paying me, you can write that in. But you're not, I'm not gonna get paid for my appearance and I don't have a right to edit or, or demand, you know, that you take it down or those kinds of things. And those consents and releases, oh, and I promise not to sue you,
[00:27:38] so all of those things in a, in a single form is really important because as I said, when, when the authorship is, is done by multiple people, then you have joint authors. So you also wanna make sure it includes that work for hire language that makes it so that the podcaster and not the guest is the sole owner
[00:27:59] of the material that's created. And, um, it's troublesome, a lot of, a lot of folks feel like the, when they ask somebody to sign a release, they're asking for a lot. And, and, uh, the, the other, the, the signing party is, you know, gets concerned. Am I signing something I shouldn't? And those kinds of things. But
[00:28:16] Ed Watters: Yes.
[00:28:16] Gordon Firemark: I really think it's necessary and, uh, you know, it doesn't have to be too onerous.
[00:28:22] Ed Watters: Yeah, I, I follow that guidance myself and I was approached by a famous wrestler and he took up that, Hey, I've never had to sign anything to go on a podcast or radio. And I said, well, that's all right, we do things this way
[00:28:46] Gordon Firemark: Yeah.
[00:28:46] Ed Watters: so, I really need you to do this if you'd like to be on the show.
[00:28:52] Gordon Firemark: You know, if you handle it correctly,
[00:28:53] Ed Watters: We didn't have him on the show.
[00:28:55] Gordon Firemark: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you handle it correctly, it's, it's about professionalism and you, you get respected for being professional and approaching it that way. If you handle it sort of heavy-handed, Hey, I need you to sign this contract before we record, yeah, people get, you know, wary and, and, and skittish about it.
[00:29:11] Ed Watters: Yeah.
[00:29:11] Gordon Firemark: Uh, I actually make a, a free podcast release available for folks so you don't have to hire a lawyer to write this thing up for you. You can go to podcastrelease.com, and even if you're just curious and wanna see what it looks like, go to podcastrelease.com and, uh, you give me your email address and your name and, and, uh, you know, you'll be on my, my email list until you unsubscribe. But you'll get a copy of a, of a free release and some instructions about how to use it and that kind of thing, so.
[00:29:39] Ed Watters: Yeah. And it saves a lot of headache too. Uh, let's see, anything else? Uh, handling cease and desist letters, when somebody sends you a cease and desist order and they say, I want you to take this down [00:30:00] and you refuse to take that down, what are the consequences and how do you handle those things?
[00:30:09] Gordon Firemark: A cease and desist letter is really just a letter, uh, people call them a cease and desist order, but you know, individuals don't have the power or the right to order each other to do anything unless, unless one of them's a judge. So, uh, so the order is not really relevant but it's a letter usually from either the person or their lawyer saying, Hey, stop what you're doing or else, and it's that or else that's really the question.
[00:30:35] If you have, um, you know, uh, one of these releases like I've talked about, then you are not legally bound to, look, you've got a contract saying you can do it, you can use this stuff, you're not gonna, they're not gonna sue you, those kinds of things. And so that release becomes your, your defense in the court case if they ever did take you to court. Now that said, the real purpose of having this release is that it's your decision, not theirs as to whether to take it down.
[00:31:03] Ed Watters: Yeah.
[00:31:04] Gordon Firemark: My advice always is look, if it makes sense from a moral, ethical, or a business standpoint to take it down rather than get into the bruh haha with the other party, then you take it down. You do the right thing.
[00:31:17] But you know, if you're doing journalism, this came up for a client of mine not long ago. She's a journalist, she covered a particular topic, she interviewed a, a guest on an episode, the guest thought, great, I'm getting my, my message out. Well, a few episodes later, the host brought the other side, you know, counterpoint, point, counterpoint. And when the original guest thought, heard about this other episode
[00:31:40] she got very upset, demanded it be taken down, threatened all over the place. Um, my client, the, the journalist in this situation said, no, I'm not gonna take it down unless you give me a written statement to put up in its place so people will understand why it's gone and what the context of things here is.
[00:31:58] Ed Watters: Ah.
[00:31:58] Gordon Firemark: Well this other guest hated it and, and no, absolutely not and slapped my client with a multimillion dollar lawsuit. And, and in that instance, the, the client hadn't gotten a release signed. Had she had a release, then this would not have been possible. I, I doubt the other party would've been able hire a lawyer to, to do it. So there, there's the example of why you need a release right there. And
[00:32:23] Ed Watters: Yeah, that's a big one.
[00:32:24] Gordon Firemark: Yeah.
[00:32:26] Ed Watters: Yeah. Sometimes it's, uh, those life lessons that can really spank us, that's for sure.
[00:32:33] Gordon Firemark: Yeah. Yes, exactly right.
[00:32:36] Ed Watters: Uh, Gordon, you always bring value beyond the price tag and people really need to understand what you bring for them.
[00:32:49] Gordon Firemark: Yeah.
[00:32:49] Ed Watters: It, it's, there's a lot of lawyers out there, but there's not one that I know of that has the background in the media content that you do
[00:33:00] Gordon Firemark: Yeah.
[00:33:01] Ed Watters: and actively involved in it. You know, this is wonderful to know a lawyer does what you do and can actually lead, and guide, and protect you in ways.
[00:33:15] Gordon Firemark: Yeah.
[00:33:16] Ed Watters: Do you have a call to action for our listeners?
[00:33:20] Gordon Firemark: Well, uh, yeah, absolutely. Thank you for asking. Um, you know, look, if you're interested in what I do or knowing more, you can find me on the web, on social media, my, my handle is gfiremark almost everywhere. And, um, you can follow me there or look for The Podcast Lawyer, you'll find me that way too. You can go to thepodcastlawyer.com if you're interested in my services. And if you're interested in some of the other things that, the products and creations that I've got out there, gordonfiremark.com is probably your, your best launching point. I've got links to my, my online courses, and my forms and templates library, and more information, and those kinds of things. And of course, if you're, if you're attending any of the, the big conferences, Podfest, Podcast Movement, those kinds of things, look for me, I, I try to make myself present there and get on the stage and speak for things and, and, uh, again, I wanna share my knowledge and, and help folks get their message out.
[00:34:17] Ed Watters: Now, with those speaking engagements, do you do speaking engagements outside of the podcasting realm for people?
[00:34:27] Gordon Firemark: I sure do. I speak to all kinds of groups, you know, uh, lawyer groups, of course, I sometimes talk to. But entrepreneurs, YouTubers, media creators, obviously podcasters, uh, I even speak to groups of, uh, folks that are in the, you know, merchandise and manufacturing business.
[00:34:44] And, uh, you know, all around the, anything that has to do with this intellectual property stuff or even a little bit of just sort of business coaching and, and, uh, helping people get outta their own way. I'm, I'm, after all the time I've spent in this industry, I'm pretty good at seeing where people have their blind spots and the roadblocks they set up for themselves. And I can help try to coach you out of those things too. So, I, I love to get in front of stages, up on stages in front of people and, and share my knowledge and wisdom and, uh, help people manage their struggles.
[00:35:16] Ed Watters: Yeah. All right. And, and what is the best way for people to actually start getting involved with you?
[00:35:23] Gordon Firemark: Going to gordonfiremark.com is a great starting point. Uh, sign up for that, that podcast release if you like or just reach out to me on social media or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to, uh, engage and we can figure out what's what.
[00:35:40] Ed Watters: Well, Gordon, you're a powerhouse and you're a legend to quite a few people out there actually, uh, not just in your own mind, sir. Uh, you're doing wonderful things for the whole community as a whole and outside of the community. You're a very active, giving person and it's very much appreciated that you shared with us here today. Thank you for being here.
[00:36:06] Gordon Firemark: Well, thank you, Ed, for the opportunity to share my message a little bit. And, uh, yeah, my message for everybody is, get out there and, and, and have your impact, make your influence and, and say your piece.
[00:36:18] Ed Watters: That's right.
[00:36:23] Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational, in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I'm Ed Watters your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.