There has been some debate on the internet about whether or not Anchor owns your podcast. The concern centers around Anchor’s Terms of Service, which was updated on June 21, 2018.
On June 19, 2018, Justin McLachlan (creator of EOS 10) posted a thread on Twitter in which he pointed out something troubling that was in Anchor’s Terms of Service. He included a screenshot of the part he was referring to that included the word “irrevocable”.
— Justin McLachlan (@justinmclachlan) June 19, 2018
In the next tweet in the thread, Justin McLachlan said: “This license survives account termination. @anchor is taking ownership of everything you create that passes through their service.”
On June 20, 2018, Andrew Orr wrote a post on the Mac Observer titled: “Hey, You Know That Anchor App? Turns Out It Owns Your Podcasts.” He included a portion of Anchor’s terms of service in the article, and opined: “This means that Anchor can do whatever it wants with your podcasts, and can also transfer rights to ‘other companies, organizations, or individuals’ it chooses to work with.”
The part of Anchor’s Terms of Service that Andrew Orr was referring to said:
“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.”
“You agree that this license includes, without limitation, the right for Anchor to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make User Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Anchor for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, or publication of such User Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such User Content use.”
On June 21, 2018, Michael Mignano (Co-Founder/CEO of Anchor) responded to Justin McLachlan’s tweet thread with a thread of his own. Here is one of the tweets in the thread:
First and foremost, when using Anchor, creators have, and always will, own their content. We've made this really explicit so there isn't any confusion.
— Michael Mignano (@mignano) June 21, 2018
In another tweet, Michael Mignano stated: “When you use Anchor, you are granting us a license to distribute your content to our platform as well as others around the world. We’ve clarified the license language to indicate when and how a creator can terminate the license they’ve given us.”
This was followed by two more tweets: “Lastly, Anchor has always aimed to innovate on the medium of audio and make the format more interactive with features like Voice Messages or Cohosts that let users collaborate in real time.” And “To enable these features, the license extends some aspects of its scope to other users so that the users are protected when they choose to collaborate.”
On June 21, 2018, 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.
So, does Anchor own your podcasts? Technically, you still own the podcast content that you put on Anchor. In other words, Anchor is not taking ownership of your podcast and claiming it as their own.
However, by posting your podcast on Anchor, you agree to their Terms of Service, including the part that grants Anchor permission to a “worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, 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, marketing of the service, or for any other purposes.”
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.”