The wonderful world of podcasting is currently under attack. Patent trolls have gone after one of the most popular podcasts: The Adam Carolla Show. Let me break down the issue to the best of my understanding:
The Adam Carolla Show is being sued for infringing on Personal Audio’s patent 8,112,504 “System for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence”. Their lawsuit is claiming that podcasting itself violates the patent. Thus, any person or organization that has posted any media content to the internet released in sequential, serialized form (such as the first four released episodes of The Wandering Coach Podcast) are in violation of their patent. You might be thinking that this is not a patent-able technology and most judges will agree with you. Unfortunately, in patent infringement cases the burden of proof falls to the accused. Most patent trolls are organizations that do not utilize their patents to protect a product or service that they provide but only to pursue other who infringe upon their patent (valid or not). Patent trolls do not make the majority of their income from winning lawsuits but rather on settlements from individuals wishing to avoid the outrageously expensive legal process. Most patent cases take upwards of 18 months and require over 2 millions dollars to defend. It is in everyone's best interest to reach a settlement. The organization found to be in infringement suffers (and is often shut down) and the patent troll move on to the next case, as few (hundred or million) dollars richer.
Why is it so important to help with this lawsuit?
Podcasting is and has always been a grass-roots community. Most start from humble beginnings and grow in support organically by providing content that their listeners enjoy. While many podcasts have grown to reach audiences in the millions (ie. The Adam Carolla Show, This American Life, The Joe Rogan Experience to name a few) they are not a large source of revenue. While some of the most popular podcasts might weather of the storm of a several hundred-thousand dollar settlement you should be concerned for what this means for all podcasts. This lawsuit is a landmark case in that it is the first time a large entity has tried to attack a podcast. It is paramount to fight and win this first case as it will define the future of podcasting. If The Adam Carolla Show were to pay a large settlement it would probably survive, but Personal Audio would simply move onto the next large podcast and attack them. We need to support The Adam Carolla Show in this case to defeat this patent and set a legal precedent to protect all podcasts in the future.
Go to http://fundanything.com/patenttroll?locale=en to find out more and donate to the cause.
I am a huge fan of podcasts and excited to see what mine becomes. I have personally donated and I would love it if all of you would too.
While you are here please check out The Wandering Coach Podcast and give us a great rating and review on both iTunes and Stitcher. Don't forgot to connect on Facebook (The Wandering Coach) and Instagram and Twitter (@WanderingCoach).
Thanks for reading and please seize the opportunity the protect the coolest form of new media.