Good news! Podcasting is now legal! (Wait–what?)

As of this week, podcasting is completely and unambiguously legal. No more do podcasters around the planet have to worry about unexpectedly being sued up the ying-yang.

This requires some explanation.

A company called Personal Audio has been targeting podcasters (CBS and Adam Corolla, to name just two), saying that it owned the patent to the concept and technology underlying podcasting. They maintained that anyone who got into podcasting owed them a license fee.

Personal Audio’s tactic was to call up podcasters and say “Hey, you’re using our intellectual property and are illegally using our patents. We’re going to sue you–unless you want to settle out of court.”

Most podcasters chose to settle rather than be dragged into a long and expensive court battle. This is how Personal Audio made its money. This is the very definition of a patent troll.

Some chose to fight back and ended up losing lower court cases to Personal Audio. Fortunately, there were appeals which went against the company. It was Personal Audio’s turn to appeal, which they did, again and again. Each time, though, they lost, until the only thing to do was take it to the US Supreme Court.

But the Court rejected Personal Audio’s petition, which means the company is out of options. All patents claimed by Personal Audio have been invalidated. This means that was can all podcast without fear.

About time. Bloody troll.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38516 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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