WTF? Patent troll goes after popular podcasters

It used to be that all you needed to put out a podcast was a microphone, a computer and some content. If one company has its way, that list may soon also include money to pay licensing fees

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If Personal Audio were to have success in pressing these claims, it could have a noticeable effect on those of us who listen regularly to podcasts. While some of the big podcasters might be able to absorb the hit of having to pay Personal Audio a licensing fee, lots of others, I’m sure, would not. Lots of great (and free) content could be at risk of disappearing, or no longer being free.

Those of you who don’t want the soundtrack of your morning run affected by Personal Audio, or other such patent claims, can follow the suggestion of the EFF and voice your support for the SHIELD Act. That act, (formally known as the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act) was introduced to Congress by Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and proposes to make those filing patent infringement lawsuits liable for legal costs of the defendants should they not be able to prove patent infringement.

On the plus side, Current reported yesterday that Personal Audio is “not interested in public media at this point.” That’s great, but there are only so many episodes of This American Life or Freakonomics that I can listen to.

What do you think? Is Personal Audio just another patent troll? Any concern about this affecting podcasts you listen to? Share your opinions in the comments.

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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