292 The Podcast Patent Lawsuit Against Content Creators And More Thoughts On My Trip To Las Vegas

by Cliff Ravenscraft on January 17, 2013

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The Podcast Patent Lawsuit Against Content Creators
Please note: If you want to skip directly to the discussion of the Podcast Patent Lawsuit Against Podcasters, you can forward directly to 38 minutes and 54 seconds into this episode. Starting there, through the end of the episode, is all abou this topic.

I recently received an email from a very concerned podcaster, Jason Pyles, who notified me that one of the podcast networks that he was a part of was going to end all functions related to podcasts, effective January 31, 2013, as a result of hearing that podcasters are being sued by a company that claims to have a patent for podcasting.

There are many rumors flying around related to this story and Jason’s email includes two of the most prevalent rumors. It is true that there is a company, Personal Audio, LLC, that has sued three podcast networks for patentent infringement related to podcasting. It is true that Personal Audio, LLC has sued Apple, Inc over a DIFFERENT patent related to “playlists” and won an $8 Million judgement with an additional $4 Million in interest. However, Apple HAS NOT been sued over this podcasting patent. In this episode, I clearly explain that we are dealing with two different patent issues here.

Another rumor that has been going around is that the podcast networks in question have settled out of court for these charges. While I do not have any definitive proof that this is factually incorrect, I am very familiar with many people who are directly involved with this matter and I have heard nothing about any sort of settlement. And one thing is for certain, there is no documentation, anywhere, that provides evidence for such a settlement.

If you go to the Personal Audio, LLC website and click through to their patent on podcasting, it says,

The 1996 Personal Audio player incorporated a novel mechanism for automatically identifying and retrieving media files representing episodes in a series as those episodes became available. This mechanism was later widely adopted as the industry-standard technique called “podcasting.” The Personal Audio server stored a compilation file that described individual media files which represented episodes in a sequence. The compilation file was stored at a predetermined URL known to the Personal Audio player and was updated as new episodes became available. The client player could then fetch the current version of the compilation file from time to time when connected to the Internet, and download new episodes identified in the compilation file so that they could be played immediately on request, even when the client player was disconnected from the Internet.
 
Today, podcasts typically take the form of an industry standard RSS or Atom compilation file whose URL is stored by the client player device when the user “subscribes” to the podcast. By 2013, it is expected that more than 39 million users will listen to podcasts.
 
Personal Audio’s 1996 precursor to podcasting is described and claimed in Personal Audio’s U.S. Patent 8,112,504 and an additional pending divisional application, both of which are entitled “System for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence.”

Personal Audio issued a press release on Monday, January 7, 2013 which reads:

Personal Audio Asserts Podcasting Patent
Against Media Companies
 
Lawsuits name The Adam Corolla Show and Stuff You Should Know podcasts
 
Monday January 7, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas–
 
Personal Audio, LLC, has filed suit today against three companies in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for infringement of its U.S. 8,112,504 patent, “The Podcasting Patent.” The suits name ACE Broadcasting Network, HowStuffWorks.com and TogiEntertainment, Inc. as unauthorized users of Personal Audio’s podcasting technology. ACE Broadcasting hosts the Adam Carolla Show, CarCast, and other podcasts. The Adam Carolla Show claims the record for the most downloaded podcast. HowStuffWorks.com is the Discovery Channel’s podcasting arm, hosting a number of popular podcasts, including the Stuff You Should Know and Brain Stuff podcasts. TogiEntertainment, Inc. operates the TogiNet internet radio station, which hosts the AuthorTalk, iUniverse, and many more podcasts.
 
“We invented the technology that enables podcasting back in 1996 as part of an effort to develop a portable and personal audio system that would offer users a customized listening experience using content and data downloaded over the Internet,” said Charles Call, a co-inventor on the ‘504 patent and a member of Personal Audio, LLC. “Today, this patented technology is used by several media companies offering podcasting.”
 
In addition to The Podcasting Patent, Personal Audio is the owner of four other fundamental media patents, as well as several pending applications, that describe technology that can be used to offer a personalized media experience using audio downloaded over the Internet.
 
In July 2011, Personal Audio won a jury verdict against Apple, Inc., in Texas for infringing The Playlist Patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,199,076, resulting in an $8 million judgment plus $4 million in interest. Other defendants in the suit, Archos and Coby, settled before trial. Samsung, Amazon, Motorola, RIM, Sirius and others have now licensed the Personal Audio technology.
 
Personal Audio is represented by the Pitcock Law Group in this litigation.
 
About Personal Audio
 
Personal Audio, Inc., a predecessor to Personal Audio, LLC, was founded in 1996 with a mission of offering personalized audio to listeners using portable players downloading content and playlists from the Internet. The self-funded company worked to develop such an audio player that could download, store and manipulate audio files and related data. That system, described in patent applications filed in October, 1996, pioneered techniques now commonly used today in MP3 players, smartphones, tablets and other products that store and play audio and video files and work with downloaded playlists and podcasts.
 
The founder of the company was James Logan, an entrepreneur who previously had been a pioneer in the touch screen industry. He founded MicroTouch Systems, which became a public company and leader in the industry, and later Gotuit Media, a pioneer in the video metadata field.
 
In 2009, Personal Audio, LLC was founded by Logan and Call to market the innovations described in the patents. Robin, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. was subsequently engaged to assert the patents against Apple, Inc. and other defendants (Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division, case number 09-cv-00111). The complaint resulted in a jury trial in July 2011 and Apple was found to have infringed U.S. Patent 6,199,076. Today the Personal Audio patents are licensed by a number of major consumer electronic firms.
 
For more information, contact:
Richard Baker, Vice President of Licensing
Personal Audio, LLC
(409) 768-0009
rbaker[at]personalaudio[dot]net

Here is a direct link to the U.S. 8,112,504 patent.

In this episode I also mention this 9to5mac.com article which summarizes some of the things mentioned in the press release. I also played a portion of the most recent episode of This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte, where Leo shared his thoughts and concerns about the podcasting patent and what it might mean to podcasting.

Please listen to this full episode to get my complete thoughts on this issue as of today, Thursday, 1/17/2013. Personally, I’m not overly concerned or overreacting and I think it’s too soon to be concerned about ceasing any type of podcast production and I don’t think this should keep you from entering the world of podcasting. Please know that I am continuing to follow this story and will continue to bring you more information on future episodes of Podcast Answer Man as it’s received.

 
Personal Plug of The Week
This week’s Personal Plug of the Week is Suzie Farthing, of the One Love for Nurses podcast. Suzie was a Podcasting A to Z student and now also happen to be one of the newest members of the Podcast Mastermind. Her One Love for Nurses podcast can be found in iTunes or on her website.

 
A Few More Thoughts On My Trip to Las Vegas for New Media Expo
Last week while I was still in Las Vegas, I recorded a roundtable discussion with several members of the Podcast Mastermind and the GSPN Community. In this episode, as I share my thoughts looking back on my trip to Las Vegas, one of the things I share is just how thrilled I was with the way my talk turned out at the New Media Expo, where I spoke to an entirely full crowd that had a huge amount of energy that could not be duplicated. It was AMAZING.

I also got to share several points that I like to make over and over again, one of which is shared in the video below, where I talk about how vitally important it is to be thankful for the audience you have, even if it’s only 150 people.

Another highlight of my trip to Las Vegas that I talked about in this episode was the Meetup that I hosted. It was better than any other Meetup that I’ve hosted in the past. The slideshow below from my Flickr account will give you additional insight into what it was like to be in that room.

One of the highlights of the New Media Expo was that I got to hang out with Leo Laporte and Lisa Kentzell. I’m developing more of a peer relationship with Leo Laporte, rather than just being one of his rabid fans; that means a whole lot to me.

Leo’s keynote presentation was amazing. He absolutely crushed it, and created a positive vibe for the podcasting community at the New Media Expo. The Podcasting Awards was way beyond what anyone expected, and it will be even better next year.

I also got to attend CES, the Consumer Electronics Show and I share a couple of my thoughts as it relates my experience with CES.

Finally, in this episode, I also share a massive highlight that took place on my last day in Las Vegas, where I got to not only experience walking through some of the hotels on the Vegas Strip, but I also had an opportunity to visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop from the History Channel television series, Pawn Stars, but the real highlight of that day was when I visited Rick’s Restorations from the American Restoration television show. That happens to be my current favorite show on the History Channel. Below are some of the photos I took.

 

NOTE: all photos that were taken in the slideshows above were taken with my Canon 60D camera. You can learn more about this camera by going to podcastanswerman.com/camera.

 

PODCASTING A TO Z
The next Podcasting A to Z course will be March 4th through March 29th, 2013. You can learn more about it and sign up at podcastingatoz.com.

 
Shop With B&H Photo & Support Podcast Answer Man
I am thrilled about the relationship that I have formed with the folks at B&H Photo, Video, & Pro Audio. They have amazing prices on podcast equipment and so much more. Best of all, their customer service is almost as good as my own.

When placing an order through my affiliate link, you end up paying the same low price and I earn a generous commission. If you have used my affiliate link to make a purchase with B&H, please leave me a comment with your name and a link to your website in the comments section below.

 
Blue Host Affiliate Signup
BlueHostI want to send out a special word of thanks to the folks behind the following domains that were used to create a new hosting account with BlueHost with my Blue Host affiliate link recently. As you know, I earn a commission each time someone clicks through my link to sign up with Blue Host. So thank you!

Accounts that were created recently:

- http://SlewfootProductions.com
- http://TheChurchStartsHere.com
- http://SellingSkillsMadeEasy.com
- http://BukenasAutomotive.com

Note: The fact that I have linked to these accounts is only to acknowledge that these folks have used my affiliate link to create a hosting account with BlueHost. These links are not an endorsement of any content that may be posted to these sites. If you ever recognize content blatantly offensive at any of these links, please let me know and I will be sure to evaluate and consider if the link should be removed from this post. These accounts are all brand new and may not be active yet. Also, it is possible that some of these domains were previously owned and may not have been transferred to BlueHost just yet.

 
The Podcast Mastermind
One of the reasons that I love working with podcasters so much is due to the fact that they are influencing someone every single time they produce a podcast episode. The world needs great leaders! I believe that podcasters who take their leadership position seriously can make a positive difference in the lives of others. The world needs you and your message! They need you to be a leader!

Many people ask me how to grow the audience of their podcast. I believe that one of the best things you can do is to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! To take yourself seriously! To consider yourself to be a professional!

Are you willing to invest in your future success?
Are you willing to be the greatest leader you can be?
Are you willing to commit to your personal and professional growth?

If so, please consider joining The Podcast Mastermind!

 
Free Month of Media Hosting With Libsyn!
Because of all the years of sending clients to sign up for accounts with Libsyn, they have created an affilate program only given to a hand selected group of podcasting experts. I’m delighted that I am now able to offer your ONE MONTH FREE when you sign up for a new account with Libsyn. Simply use promo code GSPN when you sign up! For my complete thoughts on podcast hosting, click here.

 
Podcast Video Tutorials:
I have a growing list of video tutorials that I have created based up on the the top things my clients have hired me to help them with. See the full list of tutorials by clicking here.

I Appreciate Your iTunes Reviews!
If you have ever read my blog post about how iTunes podcast ratings work, then you know just how valuable leaving a 5 star rating and/or a written review can be to a content producer.

I am so incredibly thankful to those who have recently gone into my listing in iTunes to provide a five star rating and a written review of Podcast Answer Man.

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20 comments
GregGronholm
GregGronholm

I put up a page which can be reached at www.podcastingpatents.com that gives my summary of the basics of the patent matter.

FWIW I am a patent lawyer

JeffHammer
JeffHammer

Cliff, I want to thank you so much for this episode. I'm a friend of @JasonPyles and am very thankful for his question and for telling me about your podcast. I am the co-host of one of the shows on the network you were talking about and really needed to understand what was really going on. I think our friend has already made his mind up in regards to the network but I'm still very glad to understand since I am part of a podcast off the network also. I'll be looking forward to hearing more on this issue and more about podcasting in general. Thanks.

Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace

Wow that camera takes amazing pictures Cliff.  Nice work

Adam Bagwell
Adam Bagwell

Thanks for keeping everyone up-to-date on the "podcasting" patent and Personal Audio LLC.  With respect to out-of-court settlements, those agreements often include a non-disclosure provision, so we may not see any publicized settlements.  Now, if we suddenly hear that the lawsuits have been dropped or dismissed, the parties may have settled out of court. 

LourdesWelhaven
LourdesWelhaven

Great episode!  I listened to it on live Thursday :) and then just now again, 'cause I was on the phone with a client during parts of it and didn't catch all of the details.  Podcasting is not going to die over these lawsuits for one simple reason...even if Personal Audio LLC wins "whatever they are fighting over" we as listeners and producers are far too valuable to them.  Without us, their alleged invention would be just another invention sitting on a shelf somewhere.  With us, there is an industry and therefore money to be made.  Evidence of this is their reference to the industry on their website.  Also podcasting is beyond...way beyond...the US Borders, so where would they have to end their lawsuits and how can it ever be "controlled."  Whether a patent has been infringed on is anyone's guess and for the courts to decide.  But I suspect that the very last thing that anyone wants, including Personal Audio LLC is for podcasting to end because then they would have nothing worth licensing.  That's my I'm-not-a-lawyer-but-I-think-I'm-pretty-logical take on this stuff.  Check with your own atty before acting upon my thoughts, your mileage may vary, ..yada yada yada....disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer.  ;)

JasonPyles
JasonPyles

Thanks for taking the time to answer my e-mail, Cliff. You're the best! Onward and upward, then!

Sincerely,

Jason

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @JeffHammer  @JasonPyles Jeff, I am so thankful that Jason told you about this episode.  I'm very happy to help you understand the facts behind the issue.  I plan to stay on top of this story and I'm certain that the next few weeks will have more coverage as the story progresses.

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @Adam Bagwell Great point Adam.  However, the 1/18/2013 episode of the Adam Corolla show is now confirmed proof that Adam's network HAS NOT settled with Personal Audio, LLC.  I will share more on that in next week's episode. ;)

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @JasonPyles Thank you Jason.  I am sorry that I got so passionate line by line response to your email.  I know that you know that I was not calling you out for spreading rumors, but that you had simply heard these things and you were asking for clarity.

 

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to carefully share what you had heard and that you allowed me to answer your questions about this in the show.

Adam Bagwell
Adam Bagwell

 @Cliff Ravenscraft Haven't listened to his newest show yet, guess I should.  :)  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. 

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @danesanders  @Brian Wallace Thanks Dane.  I took about 35 hours of video tutorial training from a photographer named Bend Long on Lynda.com.   I'm still a novice, but am getting better for sure. :)  

 

Also, very thankful to super hi-res photos, Adobe Lightroom, and cropping. ;)

Adam Bagwell
Adam Bagwell

 @Cliff Ravenscraft Given my "day" job, though, it's quite possible I find this stuff way more interesting than a normal person would.  :)

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