“I heard this on ClubHouse but I’m not too sure: Does Anchor own my podcast?” “I want to start a podcast but I heard that Anchor owns your podcast content: is this true?”
There has been some debate on ClubHouse about whether or not Anchor owns your podcast. The concern centers around Anchor’s old Terms of Service.
What is Anchor?
Anchor is one of the most popular podcast hosting platforms in the podcasting industry. The beginner friendly platform was founded in 2015 by Michael Mignano and Nir Zicherman to help podcasters to record, edit and distribute their podcast episodes without the need for expensive recording or editing equipment.
In 2019, the platform was acquired by Spotify: a move that positioned Spotify above Apple podcasts in the fight for audio domination.
Every successful creation has its fair share of criticisms (and conspiracy theories) and naturally, this occurred to Anchor.
Back in 2018 when the platform was only 3years old, Twitter was taken by storm when tweets surfaced from an article by Andrew Orr accusing Anchor’s Terms of Service of taking full ownership of podcaster’s content.
“By submitting User Content through the Services, you hereby do and shall grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully paid-up, sublicensable and transferable license to use, edit, modify (including the right to create derivative works of), aggregate, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Content in connection with the operation of the Services, the promotion, advertising or marketing of the Services, or any purposes.”
Michael Mignano, the co-founder of Anchor took to Twitter to clarify the language used in the 2018 Terms of Service.
Later that month, Anchor updated its Terms of Service. The section titled “License Grant” now starts with: You retain all of your ownership rights in your User Content. The word “irrevocable” has been removed.
Updated Terms of Service October 2020
Anchor last updated their Terms of Service in October 2020 clearly defining ownership of user content. Below are snippets from the latest terms.
4, User Content
All information, materials and other content, other than Anchor Content, that is added, created, uploaded, submitted, distributed, or posted to the Services by users (collectively “User Content”), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person or entity who so added, created, uploaded, submitted, distributed, or posted such User Content on the Services. For the purpose of these Terms, “Anchor Content” means any audio, music, videos or other content or material that is made available to you or other users by the Anchor platform, including through the use of its tools.
5. Rights you grant to us
You retain ownership of your User Content. Using Anchor does not cause you to lose ownership of your content.
Explainer: You own your content. Anchor prides itself on empowering creators, and we have no intention to take ownership of your content in any way.
“Does Anchor own my podcast?”
In short, the answer is no.
Their updates Terms of service and change of language means you have full autonomy and control of your content per the updated terms.
It is up to individual podcasters to decide whether or not they like Anchor’s Terms of Service. If you are unsure, perhaps you should take advantage of the part of the Terms of Service that says: “We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about what our license grant means or how it impacts you.”