Dispatches from the Head

Podcasters are under attack from a patent troll.



Okay, Nerd Warriors and others!

The time had come to ride off into the Internet and find some weapons for the good fight.

Podcasters are under attack from a patent troll called Personal Audio. Personal Audio claims to own a patent that covers distributing episodes via the Internet—basically, well, podcasting. Specifically, Personal Audio makes the ridiculous claim that it invented an "apparatus for disseminating a series of episodes represented by media files via the Internet as said episodes become available."

Broad patents like these are all too common these days, and unfortunately they often end up in the hands of patent trolls.

Patent trolls are companies who don’t make anything or don’t sell anything, but own patents and use them as a weapon to extort money from businesses and individuals, usually demanding licensing fees that are cheaper than actually litigating a case in court.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation plans to challenge the patent at the U.S. Patent Office. To do this, the EFF needs to show that the claimed invention was not new (or prove that it was obvious). To do this, they need to find publications from before October 2, 1996 that disclose similar or identical ideas. This also known as "prior art." In other words, anything that describes early versions of podcasting or any other kind of episode distribution over the Internet.

More details here, including where to send prior art:

http://www.eff.org/save-podcasting

A patent troll uses patents as legal weapons, instead of actually creating any new products or coming up with new ideas. Instead, trolls are in the business of litigation (or even just threatening litigation). The business model works because patent litigation is so expensive—often costing well into the millions of dollars. This means that when facing the threat of a patent suit, many will choose to settle instead of fight. Of course, this just further emboldens the patent trolls.

Adam Carolla is already being sued. I have received letters of intimidations as has Jesse Thorn, Sam Seder, Comedy Bang Bang, Ari Shaffir and John Oliver’s show The Bugle, among others. We can’t give into this. It really isn’t right. Please help us fight the good fight.

This week on the show, I talk to a multi-talented comedian, Kevin Christy. He paints, acts, does comedy and design—all well. Impressive. On Thursday, Tommy Stinson of The Replacements talks rock. Real rock.

Thanks for helping out.

Boomer lives!

Enjoy!


Love,
Maron


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Petro June 04, 2013 at 5:50 pm


Today (“Obama calls for new efforts targeting patent trolls”):

http://www.infoworld.com/t/intellectual-property/obama-calls-new-efforts-targeting-patent-trolls-220003




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