Podcasting at Risk Because of Troll

I haven’t even gotten around to podcasting yet and I may be silenced before I start.  Will no one let my voice be heard?

“Attica!  Attica!  Attica!”  (Look it up.  It’s from a famous Pacino movie.)

I plan to podcast and distribute my thoughts via regularly scheduled “production of serialized or episodic content that can be downloaded from a specific URL that client software can retrieve and store.” You may have noted the podcast link on this site’s menu bar.

Now a company called Personal Audio and one of its founders James Logan says they hold the patent for what can be defined as podcasting (the above italicized language).  Logan claims he helped create the medium in 1996!

podcast_iconThat’s pretty good since historical research reveals podcasting started sometime around 2004, but who am I to argue with a patent troll “patent assertion entity” that got Apple to pay him $8 million because he said they infringed on another of his patents.

A patent troll “patent assertion entity” is a person or group who attempts to enforce patent rights and collect fees, but they don’t actually produce any product or technology related to that patent.  Chances are they bought the patent on the cheap.

Logan is a savvy businessman.  Even though he lives in New Hampshire he set up offices in Texas, in a subdivision of a U.S. District Court known to be supportive of patent trolls “patent assertion entities.” Across America, suits from plaintiffs like Logan prevail about 30% of the time.  In this Texas federal district court?  Plaintiffs win about 60% of the time, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report. We’re talking Texas justice here.  Don’t be messing with Texas!

Logan has filed suit against NBC, CBS, Discovery Channel and comedian Adam Carolla’s company ACE Broadcasting, among others.  He’s asking each to pony up some money to pay him for a medium he maintains to have had a part in creating.  He wants $3 million from Carolla.  Carolla’s podcast is the most downloaded in the world and has approximately 2 million downloads each week.  That’s why he’s being targeted.

To his credit, Carolla is going to fight this.  He won’t give Logan $3 million or $3 to go away.  As Carolla has said, “For what?”

Logan said, “Somebody that’s trying to collect license fees doesn’t start with the little guy.”  “The obvious place to start is with the largest infringers.  Adam Carolla has the largest podcast empire in the industry, so it’s a logical place to start.”

If Logan wins, Carolla says he may end his podcast.

If Logan wins, podcasting as you know it may end, eliminating the little guy and making it a medium for only big companies that can afford to pay licensing fees. They will control the podcast medium, eliminate competition and stifle creativity and innovation.  Sort of sounds like corporate terrestrial radio, doesn’t it?

6 separate trials will take place in Marshall, Texas, about three hours east of Dallas.  That puts it somewhere near Arkansas, I think.

Will Carolla be silenced?  Will I be silenced before I start?  A voice never to be heard?  Attica!  Attica!

  2 comments for “Podcasting at Risk Because of Troll

  1. May 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Damn! I was hoping to hear that voice of yours again. Long time listener to your show. Saturdays have been very dull since your departure 😦

  2. Rod Riseden
    May 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Darryl, I heard Adam explain why the lawsuit and it sounds like something the podcasters could figure out. The “entity” bought patent rights to a technology that puts the podcasts in dated, order on the podcast listing. He also explained that there is a court system in place in the region of Texas that revolves around these patent cases and it’s impossible to get a jurisdictional change. I hope you get a podcast soon. I miss the hell out of you!

    Rod

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