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Amazon quietly drops anti-disparagement clause for future podcast feature

An excerpt from Amazon’s terms and conditions imposed on podcast producers as it appeared on Monday, August 10, 2020 (top) and Tuesday, August 11, 2020 (bottom). (Graphic: The Desk)

Amazon has quietly removed a requirement that restrained podcasters from criticizing the company as a condition for a show’s inclusion in future versions of its streaming audio apps.

On Monday, The Desk published an exclusive report saying Amazon had reached out to a handful of top podcast producers with an offer to include their program as part of a new podcast feature that will launch in future versions of its Amazon Music and Audible products.

A confidential email sent to podcast producers contained a link to a form that allowed show managers to submit a podcast feed for consideration. That form included a list of terms and services that, among other things, required podcast producers to agree that they wouldn’t include messaging that disparaged Amazon or its affiliated products.

That term was widely interpreted to mean podcasts might be rejected for inclusion in Amazon Music and Audible if episodes contained content that criticized Amazon’s business practices.

The Desk‘s story was quickly picked up by news outlets and industry blogs that focused heavily on the anti-disparagement condition.

On Tuesday, the anti-disparagement condition was dropped from Amazon’s agreement. Amazon now says podcast producers can’t distribute content that violates the company’s acceptance content policies for advertisements and other matters.

Amazon has not formally announced the podcast feature for either services.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).