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Electronic Frontier Foundation Patents The Courts The Media

Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll 126

Posted by timothy
from the save-penn's-sunday-school dept.
First time accepted submitter tor528 (896250) writes "Patent troll Personal Audio has sued top podcasters including Adam Carolla and HowStuffWorks, claiming that they own the patent for delivery of episodic content over the Internet. Adam Carolla is fighting back and has started a Fund Anything campaign to cover legal fees. From the Fund Anything campaign page: 'If Adam Carolla loses this battle, then every other Podcast will be quickly shut down. Why? Because Patent Trolls like Personal Audio would use a victory over Carolla as leverage to extort money from every other Podcast.. As you probably know, Podcasts are inherently small, owner-operated businesses that do not have the financial resources to fight off this type of an assault. Therefore, Podcasts as we know them today would cease to exist.' James Logan of Personal Audio answered Slashdotters' questions in June 2013. Links to the patent in question can be found on Personal Audio's website. The EFF filed a challenge against Personal Audio's podcasting patent in October 2013."
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Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

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  • Headline misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dins (2538550) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @08:51AM (#46572935)

    I wouldn't say he "joined the fight" against patent trolls. He was sued by one and decided to very loudly and publicly fight it - in part so other podcasts aren't put out of buisness. Hence the Fund Anything campaign etc. I listen to his show often, and it's a constant topic.

    More power to him!

  • Personal Audio (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @08:58AM (#46572965)

    Give them a hand!

    550 Fannin Street
    Suite 1313
    Beaumont, Texas 77701

    E-mail: info@personalaudio.net

    Phone: (409) 768-0009

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @09:27AM (#46573143)

    The patent covers not the podcasts themselves, but rather podcast notification via RSS (and it has to include file data, not just a newsflash along the lines of "new episode available on the website!").

  • Oh come on ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @09:30AM (#46573155) Homepage

    claiming that they own the patent for delivery of episodic content over the Internet

    Once again, we have a patent which seems to say "a system and methodology for doing something well known, but with a computer".

    Are the USPTO that incompetent? Podcasts of one form or another are what, 20 years old now?

    This is just stupid. There is known prior art for this from at least 1993, and if someone thinks sending out the next in a series of files is an 'innovation', they and the patent examiners who awarded the patent are idiots.

  • by Grond (15515) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @09:37AM (#46573205) Homepage

    The law already recognizes this. First, damages for patent infringement can only go back six years. Second, the standard for issuing an injunction takes into consideration how long a patentee sat on its rights and the extent to which the public has become dependent upon the wide availability of the invention. Third, there is an equitable doctrine called laches that can prevent a claim from being made after a long time, sort of like a flexible, implicit statute of limitations.

  • Dialup? Windows 95? (Score:5, Informative)

    by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @10:47AM (#46573833) Journal
    The patent specifies a dialup connection to the internet using a SLIP/PPP connection:

    The facilities provided by the operating system, such as Windows 95, typically includes multimedia support, as noted above, as well as a standard WINSOCK TCP/IP stack and modem dial up driver software to support a SLIPP/PPP Internet connection, as next discussed.

    To effect these file transfers, the modem 115 is connected via conventional dial up telephone SLIP or PPP TCP/IP series data communication link 117 to an Internet service provider...

    How about this bit:

    At a time determined by player 103 monitoring the time of day clock 106, a dial up connection is established via the service provider 121 and the Interent to the FTP server 125 and the download compiliation 145 is transferred to the program data store 107 in the player 103.

    So, how much of this patent applies if I'm using linux over a full time cable internet connection to access Sheldon Cooper's latest Fun with Flags podcast?

  • Prior Art (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheSync (5291) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:53PM (#46575069) Journal

    1993: Carl Malamud launched Internet Talk Radio [wikipedia.org] the "first computer-radio talk show, each week interviewing a computer expert" distributed "as audio files that computer users fetch one by one." I suspect he was using PCM or delta PCM codec, the files were huge, and probably could only be played back on Sun workstations.

    1995: Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner started Audionet. Here are downloadable files from Dec. 1996 [archive.org] and I suspect there were earlier ones.

    April 1995: RealAudio released by RealNetworks. This was a watershed in audio codec efficiency, and started the launch of a lot of downloadable audio programs.

    1996: Microsoft releases NetShow 1.0, a competing streaming player to RealAudio.

    I also believe that William Mutual's itv.net was delivering audio files of programs in 1996.

    I had a RealAudio server in 1996 and probably was serving up audio files, but frankly I can't remember. I definitely was doing so by 1997.

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