Who Owns Podcasting?

As a podcast listener and occasional guest on shows like Shut Up We’re Talking and Witty Ranter, I have a mild vested interest in podcasting.

So it was with some interest that I read about a company called VoloMedia that was granted a patent last week for “method for providing episodic media content.”  Or, as it has been immediately spun, podcasting.

A detailed account is posted over at Ars Technica.

If you deliver episodic content over the internet, they believe they own you.  Podcasts are part of it, but VoloMedia is aiming for anybody delivering episodic content as downloads.

Of course, this is going to cause some controversy.

I have to imagine that those involved with creating RSS are going to have a few words to say on the subject.

And then there is Sun Microsystems, now owned by Oracle, who it is claimed invented podcasting starting with work done back in 1999.

And, frankly, there has been podcast-like technology in progress for well over a decade.

How soon before Adam Curry speaks out on the subject?

Myself, I suspect that this will amount to very little in the end.  Prior art will nip this in the bud.

We’ll see if I come to regret that opinion.

11 thoughts on “Who Owns Podcasting?

  1. Klepsacovic

    Common sense would say either no one (if you mean the technology/method) or the creators (if you mean the specific podcast). Sadly, this is law, not common sense. My hope is that it will get laughed down and thrown out by whichever judge gets it.

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  2. Jon

    Adam Curry already has spoken out on this, and says that he and Dave Winer not only have the obvious prior art that predates this but in fact were dealing with this guy at the time he claims to have invented it all. Say what you want about Curry, his attitudes and his crazy views but at least he’ll probably chase this one for the principle of the thing.

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  3. Stabs

    One of the academics, I think it may have been Richard Bartle, made the point not so long ago that the US Patent Office is not unbiased. They only get paid if they accept patents so they tend to accept everything.

    Presumably they assume the rubbish patents will lose out in court cases.

    Well if you do lose the right to podcast in the USA please feel free to broadcast from London. What might be a solid legal case in the States would just be laughed at here.

    Perhaps even more so because arguably “episodic media content” also includes TV and Radio.

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  4. CindyL

    This makes about as much sense as worlds.com lawsuit against NCsoft for making a virtual world…..Who’s handing out these patents?

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  5. Reatu Krentor

    I’m gonna make a patent on breathing. Surely that would work if stuff like this gets through, no?

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  6. Jon

    I’ve only seen the comments in no agenda, so it’s going to mean listening to loads of conspiracy theories to get to what he says I’m afraid.

    As for the question of why these patents are being granted I read (but haven’t verified) that the patent office gets lots of money from not only granting patents, but also from the fees gained by people disputing them. May or may not be true, but it explains a lot about why the dumb ones are passed if it is.

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  7. Graktar

    Ok, Volomedia is an advertising company that’s made their money by inserting ads into downloadable content for both video and audio files. They were granted a patent for that technology in 2006.

    Since their entire business is based around supporting the downloadable media industry, it seems rather preposterous to claim they invented the downloadable media industry. The industry would have had to exist in order for them to recognize the business opportunity in creating advertising for it. Otherwise it would be like inventing TV ads before TV.

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