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.
Are you a Welcome to Night Vale fan? How about Thrilling Adventure Hour? Nerdist? AfterBuzz TV? Hell, do you listen to podcasts at all?
Then this is your fight.
According to the article, here’s what’s going down:
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.
If you want to keep your favorite podcasts around, now’s your chance. Click the link. Donate to the cause. If you can’t donate, reblog the post, retweet the link, do whatever you can to spread the word. If we’re going to shoot this down, we need to do it here and now.
We may not all be citizens of Night Vale, or Adventurekateers, or AfterBuzzers, but we’re all podcast fans, and we need to stop this before it picks up momentum.
EDIT: For those whose browsers don’t like Nerdist.com, here’s the direct link to the fundraiser page.
GUYS IF WE DONT ACT THERE WILL BE NO RT PODCAST, NO WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, NO THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR, AND NO NERDIST PODCAST.