Patent Trolls.

It is happening, People!

The Maronation Tour has commenced. I did a show in DC, two in Philly and two in Boston. They were amazing. I’ve got a newbie, Ashley Barnhill, opening and the show is killer. I believe it’s the best hour or so I’ve done. If you don’t have tickets for one of the shows check here if there are any for a city near you.

I have to be honest. It is staggering, humbling and awesome to return to cities I have played in the past in smaller venues—sometimes poorly attended and rough—and do these bigger venues to full houses of people that dig what I do. I really never thought it would happen and it is. I’m fucking thrilled and beside myself that you folks are coming out. It’s a blast. I’ve put almost three decades of my life into this calling and it is being answered. I hope to see you out there.

Big ass news! As many if you recall I couldn’t shut up about podcasting being under attack by a patent troll that went by the shell company name of Personal Audio LLC. The patent they had was basically a schematic drawing of a nonexistent machine that they tried to retrofit onto part of the technology that facilitates (in a fairly removed way) the distribution of podcasts. They claimed they invented podcasting before it existed. They came after us. I got letters that implied future lawsuits if I didn’t cough up a licensing fee of their choosing. They were suing Adam Carolla and they were using him as the example in their shakedown scheme.

Patent trolls are an ongoing threat to businesses of all kinds. Podcasters rallied. We reached out to the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and gave them the heads up. We reached out to each other to try to figure out how to fight this threat to our medium. We didn’t have lawyers and we were scared. The EFF found it appropriate to file a re-exam of the patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). We put out a battle cry for funds to make the re-exam happen. It was funded overnight because of your support. We encouraged Adam to fight and he did. We put out a battle cry for his fight and many of you responded. Ultimately they laid off Adam, half-promising to leave us alone, too. It was on paper but the language left the door open for them to bring it all back up again. Well, last week the USPTO ruled in our favor.

“In petitions filed with Patent Office, EFF showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new before it filed its patent application, and, in fact, other people were podcasting for years previously. Earlier examples of podcasting include Internet pioneer Carl Malamud's "Geek of the Week" online radio show and online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).”

See the entire article and ruling here.

We did it with your help! Thank you for supporting podcasts. Apparently a WTF listener, Jeff Haynes, supplied some of the ‘prior art’ necessary to take the patent down. Thanks, Jeff. Thanks again to everyone who was with us in this fight.

On Monday I have a beautiful chat with The Fonz, Henry Winkler. On Thursday’s show Spoon’s Britt Daniel talks about the evolution of his band and the struggle of music. Also on Thursday the brilliant Jon Ronson talks a bit about his new book, ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.’ Great week of talks.


Boomer lives!