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Podcasts Vs. Patent Trolls: How You Can Help

You know how you don’t pay attention to some threats until they directly target you? Yeah, we got one like that. Listen up, because if you’re a podcast fan, this involves you. And before you go the tl;dr route, just think about a world without your favorite podcasts. Close your eyes and picture the void in your existence. Got it? Okay, onward:

You may or may not be familiar with the idea of patent trolls. If you’re not, you can read this and this and listen to this:

And definitely this:

The short version is that someone is asserting a patent that claims to control the mechanism by which you subscribe to podcasts. And by “asserting,” I mean that they’ve fired a warning shot at the entire podcasting community by suing Adam Carolla. The way that patent suits work is that a) they tend to file in the plaintiff-friendly Eastern District of Texas, where these companies set up “offices”; b) they sue one major player in an industry and try to extract a large settlement from them, because defending these things is very, very expensive; and c) they then use that precedent to go sue others in the business and get similar paydays. It’s a means by which one can make a lot of money without having to actually produce anything (in fact, many of the trolls just buy idle patents for the express purpose of suing big companies). And if they succeed, it can run into millions of dollars, millions that the defendants don’t have.

But it’s one thing — not necessarily a better thing, just one thing — when the suits target big companies. Podcasting is not a big-bucks business, and the pockets are not deep at all. That’s why it’s kind of perplexing that Adam got sued, and that the podcasting industry, such as it is, is being targeted. Nobody’s getting rich on podcasting at this stage; it’s still early, and many if not most podcasts are more hobby than revenue generator. And if these suits succeed, they could choke off the industry before it is an industry. The good thing is that these patents aren’t likely to win in court if the case goes to trial. The bad thing is, to defend against these claims is going to cost a bundle. Like, a million and a half, easy. Which is why they sue, and why many of the cases never get to the trial stage.

Here’s where you can help. Adam has launched a FundAnything crowdfunding campaign to raise money to defend his show against the Personal Audio lawsuit. And he’s enlisting fellow podcasters to join the effort and raise money to pay the lawyers to fight this thing, because if he has to settle or loses, every other podcast will be in the crosshairs. It’s a matter of stopping this before it gets too far. It’s hugely important if you enjoy podcasts like ours on the Nerdist Podcast Network or any others, for that matter. Adam’s making the rounds of podcasts to drum up support — look for him on Nerdist soon — and time is of the essence. If you think podcasters should stand up for their medium and not roll over and pay what amounts to a ransom, it’s time to join the fight.

Go here to donate to the Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund. Yes, there are rewards for pledges, including artwork, t-shirts, caps, VIP tickets to the Liquid Sol Music Festival in Glendale, AZ and a big benefit in Redondo Beach, CA, and more. You don’t have to be a Carolla fan to understand why this is critical for all podcasts.


Oh, that benefit: Adam, Jimmy Kimmel, KROQ’s Kevin and Bean, Marc Maron, and the Police’s Andy Summers with his band Circa Zero will be performing on March 27th at 8 PM at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. Go buy tickets at

If you’re still unsure, let Adam explain it all to you:

Again, go here to donate to the Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund and help end the threat.

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  1. YeahHeDid says:

    To the guy asking why Apple and Google aren’t fighting against the podcast patent trolls…. Because Apple and Google are some of the biggest defenders of the archaic patent laws, and some of the biggest perpetrators of trying to make extra money off of asinine patents that cover super basic ideas.

  2. Ania says:

    PLEASE don’t do anything stupid with the information – don’t do anything illegal because, though your aims may be noble, this prick is going down a legal (yet stupid) route.

    I don’t think the point of this is funding “millionaires” – we’ve enjoyed the work of these people’s work for years, for the most part for free, so lets contribute to keep it free for the new, poorer people who are coming up behind them.

    My concern is, donating money isn’t necessarily going to win the battle… It just gives us a chance

  3. eatTheRich says:

    Here is their public business information, including the names of the officers of the company

    Texas Taxpayer Number 32039294692
    Mailing Address 1999 BRYAN ST STE 900
    DALLAS, TX 75201-3140
    Right to Transact Business in Texas ACTIVE
    State of Formation TX
    Effective SOS Registration Date 04/13/2009
    Texas SOS File Number 0801109499
    Registered Office Street Address 1999 BRYAN STREET SUITE 900
    DALLAS, TX 75201

    Title Name and Address
    MARCO ISLAND , FL 34145
    CANDIA , NH 03034
    MONROE , CT 06468
    CONCORD , NH 03301

  4. jen says:

    Really, everyone with questions about the topic should listen to the This American Life episodes that are posted above. Not only do they explain everything thoroughly, but they explain why patent trolls are evil all the way around. It´s just another symptom of the problems with our systems of control and how it’s become cost prohibitive nigh impossible to fight/defend againt.

  5. Dumble says:

    Speak to Adam Curry – the podfather and co-inventor of podcasting. He would most likely support this.

  6. boda says:

    Why not troll the trolls ? Call their house and request a suicide for the sake of getting rid of the scum of the Earth…

    Done 🙂

  7. james says:

    So, millionaires want us to donate to them so they can fight a patent troll?

  8. Frank says:

    You might wanna get your website to the point where it can load. That might help the cause.

  9. Levi says:

    Sadly this company has no customers and does nothing but sue people. They couldn’t care less about bad publicity or how many people hate them outside of the judge/jury on the case.

  10. Scott says:

    I want people to be free to podcast, but I hesitate to give money to a bunch of wealthy celebrities. Aren’t they rich enough to defend themselves in court?

  11. Mike says:

    The company that filed the suit is Personal Audio LLC.

  12. CJ says:

    Yeah I donated $ to the cause
    Yeah Google & Apple could squash this problem (if Cook @apple would pull his head out of his arse & cease his patent lawsuits)
    Yeah it WOULD help if Nerdist / Adam Carolla would actually name the Company responsible for this lawsuit (an online campaign by the Fans to virtually bash this Company sends a strong message)

  13. bob says:

    So these guys own the patent for a process to syndicate episodic audio programs and the players that receive them. Fair enough. Are they sending requests for licensing fees? What are the fees? Is their first act to threaten podcasters with legal action?

    If I’m reading this correctly, isn’t this really threatening the syndicators and not the podcasters/creators (unless they are themselves syndicating content)? This would make Corolla and Earwolf nervous, but doesn’t Nerdist (as an example) syndicate through iTunes, who has already paid the licensing fee?

    I know I’m missing something here, so please help me understand what that might be. I’m really looking forward to starting my own podcast, but I don’t want to dive in if I’m going to be in legal trouble on day two.

    Thank you, smarter people.

    Notes: and

  14. Edward says:

    I will spread the word to as many as I can who listen to and make podcasts.
    As to why Apple and Google are not in this, why should they? Sadly, I cannot find the article, but I had read somewhere that Steve Jobs regretted the whole podcast thing on iTunes, because it became much MUCH bigger than anticipated, and now this was a huge source of potential income that was being missed. Whether this is true or not, it doesn’t mean that there are not those at Apple and Google who do think this way.
    Since most podcasts are free, they stand nothing to gain by stepping in to defend them, and if they get struck down because of something they have no part in, no sweat off their back.

  15. Adam says:

    I’m with Kevin. By which I mean of course I’ll donate, but where are Apple and Google in this? This will not only affect their customers, but in the case of Apple, who have 3rd party podcasting apps being sold in their marketplace, directly affects their revenue streams.

  16. Jaime says:

    Done and done! I donated what I could. I spend hours listening to podcasts while I work, and to lose them to lazy, greedy people who don’t contribute to the world would be an injustice I can’t articulate. I also sent out a tweet to my friends on Twitter encouraging them to donate as well.

  17. This is insane these trolls need to be stopped. Patents in this country have gotten out of hand. I host 2 small podcasts and I certainly don’t make any money from them. I do them because I love discussing ideas and putting those ideas into the world. I will help in any way I can. (however small it may end up being

  18. Katy says:

    Thanks for the heads up. Given how many podcasts I listen to for free, this was an obvious way to give back for the hours and hours (and hours!) of entertainment. Thanks for drawing our attention to this…

  19. Kevin says:

    Why isn’t Apple leading this fight alongside Google? Podcasts are listened to on iTunes and various other formats through Android more than anywhere else. Apple and Google could squash this company in a heartbeat, as they have the legal teams (and patent specific gurus) to file any number of court requests at a moment’s notice.

    If they don’t get on board, you know they just don’t care about their consumers…

  20. Mike says:

    Just heard Carolla talk about this on WTF. Is the Legendary legal team able to get involved with this?