Category: legal

Beware movie pirates!

A hard-core Linux user who was busted for pirating Star Wars Episode III (the least objectionable of the painfully bad second set of Star Wars flicks) was smacked upside the head by his sentencing judge. Because he will have his computer use monitored as a part of his probation, and because the monitoring software doesn’t run on Linux… yes, he is being forced to use Windows for all computing needs. Open Source users are proud of their lack of affiliation with Apple or Microsoft… now this guy is being fored to turn to the Dark Side. Cue the irony alert!

The limits of podsafe music

I’ve been working on a project for a client who is looking to directly monetize her audio content (that’s fancy talk for selling those mp3s), and we’re running smack into a dilemma that faces anyone who wants to do the same thing… if you just give away your podcasts, there are several very good sources for free, licensed podsafe music. I happen to like the variety of IODA Promonet and Podsafe Music Network (although the latter needs a serious user interface revamp). If you dig into the licenses for both, the second your show has a commercial hook (fancy talk for, you make money off of the podcast), then you are either out of the licensing agreement, or you owe someone some money.

Now, this makes perfect sense… if you are able to capitalize on a product and use these artist’s music, they have a hand in the money you are making. Some artists may see their exposure as enough renumeration… in many cases it could be pretty valuable. However, for the here and now be mindful that selling your podcasts has a consequence… you’re going to have to find truly royalty-free music, get proficient with Garageband, or negotiate a license deal with your favorite artist.

Who knew we’d be getting into intellectual property law when we got into this? Luckily, there’s Collette Vogele’s excellent podcast and guide to help out beginners who aren’t blessed with an IP background…

Podcasts on the iPhone

Welllll, sorta. It turns out that the iPhone can stream mp3s through its Safari browser just like any other desktop computer. Not really a podcast per se, but it’ a step closer to that dream of wireless podcast access (still hoping that either Apple adds a podcatching to iTunes on the phone).

Rob at Podcast411 has gone a step further by promoting the handy little graphic above that one can use to directly link to an mp3 file. It looks sort of awkward, but it shows up great on the iPhone screen. That makes it easier for your iPhone-enabled listeners to tap and listen with less effort. Now… is it worth it? Maybe… there’s about 1 million iPhones “in the wild” right now, and I suspect there are a disproportionate number of podcast listeners in that early adopting crowd. They need content… and your podcast can provide it.

Feel free to copy the graphic above if you’re interested in using it for your show. The sample mp3 linked above is the most recent edition of the Nonprofit Law Podcast.

Feedburner makes pro services free

This was a bit of welcome news for any podcaster using Feedburner for their RSS feeds… Total Stats Pro and MyBrand are now free. Here’s how Feedburner describes these two services:

FeedBurner Stats PRO
PRO is feed analytics taken to the next level. You will now have access to the number of people who have viewed or clicked individual content items in your feed and “Reach,” which estimates the daily number of subscribers who interacted with your feed content. You can turn this on by signing in to your account, navigating to the Analyze tab and heading to the FeedBurner Stats PRO section. Click the “Item Views” checkbox to activate these PRO features.

The MyBrand service (also PRO-level) is located under the “My Account” tab after you’ve signed in. MyBrand lets you maintain consistency between your feed address and your hosted website’s domain, if matchy-matchy is your thing. For example, rather than using, your MyBrand-ed feed address can be To get started with MyBrand, sign into FeedBurner, click the “My Account” link in the upper left-hand corner, and then click “MyBrand”. Nota Bene: You must be comfortable playing around with DNS entries and own the rights to the domain whose DNS entries you’ll be playing around with in order to successfully activate MyBrand.

I use Feedburner for the Nonprofit Law Podcast and suggest it for other clients if they have hosting covered. Total Stats Pro is a nice add-on… The MyBrand option is very cool… it keeps your RSS feed “in house” (under your own domain name instead of, which is a really nice feature. Try it out!

U.S. Blogging Laws

Great stuff on blogger law from Aviva Directory… hat tip to Politics and Technology for the pointer. Topics covered include:

* Whether to Disclose Paid Posts
* Is Deep Linking Legal?
* The Legal Use of Images and Thumbnails
* Laws that Protect You From Stolen Content
* Domain Name Trademark Issues
* Handling Private Data About Your Readers
* Who Owns User-Developed Content and Can You Delete It
* The Duty to Monitor Your Blog Comments, and Liability
* Basic Tax Law Issues in Blogging
* Limited Liability Laws and Incorporating
* Spam Laws and Which Unsolicited Emails are Legal
* Are Bloggers Protected from Journalism Shield Laws

The big announcement

Beginning today, I am embarking on a new path… is now the hub for two ventures… the first is a solo law practice focusing on nonprofit organizations, and the other is an expansion of my podcast and technical consulting services. I am incredibly excited that I am now able to devote equal time to my two passions, and I am doubly excited that I will be tapping into the same entrprenurial spirit that began my career.

Look for changes to the site in the very near future… new content… new focus… it’s exciting and invigorating. If you are interested in chatting with me about either of these ventures, feel free to email me at tim(at)tim-mooney(dot)com.

guest waivers

One of the informative sections in the Podcasting Legal Guide has to do with consent to have one’s voice recorded for a podcast. Colette Vogele, the attorney who wrote the guide, is now working on a collaborative effort to set up a site with some boilerplate waiver language. The site has placeholder information for now:

We are working on a number of informational offerings to the podcasting community and rest assured we’ll do our best to keep you up to speed. Right now our focus is on getting a basic podcast guest waiver (created by Colette) up on the site.

I don’t think podcasters should view this as a magic talisman to ward off potential legal issues… it’s the danger of relying solely on legal forms… I do believe this will prove to be a valuable resource. If it launches, as promised, into a registration service where the guest can click their assent online, all the better. Very cool.

Happy New Year

Happy end of 2006 to everyone… here’s to an exciting and prosperous 2007! I anticipate some changes coming in this space in the first or second quarter of ’07… I’m not fully sure what these changes will be, so don’t acccuse me of being intentionally mysterious just yet!

I just finished reading the podcasting legal guide, Rules for the Revolution by Colette Vogele (download it here). While no guide can ever promise to be comprehensive, I think this is about as good as it gets in terms of covering the legal issues involving podcasting. For those of you, like me, who are relatively new to the universe of intellectual property law, this is a pretty valuable resource. Rather than suggest a blanket “all rights reserved” copyright tag for all of my client’s shows, it might suit some to look at the Creative Commons alternatives, depending on the nature of the podcast and whether there are commercial qualities to the production.

A new bit of blog functionality to mention… you may have noticed this blog is a bit schizophrenic, jumping from election and political law issues to podcasting with little to no warning. For those of you that care only about one particular issue, all posts are now labeled so you can segregate out the offendingly boring issues with one little click over on the right.

Resolution time… I promise to post more. On what, I have no idea… I just promise to post more.

CLE rush

The end of the year for some lawyers means compliance time… many states require lawyers to log a certain number of hours taking Continuing Legal Education (CLE) classes. As a proud member of the Oregon State Bar, I’m finishing up my three year requirement with a few weeks to spare. If you are a member of the OSB or the WSB, there is a great free CLE resource at It is a lifesaver if you need ethics credits in particular. Unfortunately, there aren’t any elimination of bias or child abuse reporting courses there, so the OSB will be getting some additional money out of me this year so I can learn about those (mandatory) subjects.

My holiday reading list will include Rules for the Revolution, the legal guide to podcasting. I hope to post a review in the near future…