Patent Trolls Are Going After Podcasters, And You Can Stop It

Senior Contributor
03.14.13 14 Comments

Lately, when it comes to the legalized blackmail, patent trolls have realized that targeting large corporations that have lots of money might not necessarily be the most effective tactic, so they’ve instead been bullying the little guy. And now, they’re going after podcasters.

Marc Maron, host of one of the more popular podcasts around, posted the following about what he’s been seeing.

A patent troll called Personal Audio claims to own the patent for podcasting and is suing Adam (Carolla) and some other podcasts and sent letters of coercion to me and about a dozen others. It’s serious bullshit. I know you’re thinking, “How can you patent ‘podcasting?’ That’s ridiculous.” It is ridiculous, even when you look at the patent, but now someone has to pay LOTS of money to prove that.

You might be wondering what you, as somebody who enjoys podcasts, can do to fight this. Well, there actually is something you can do: Contact your Congressman and Senator and petition them to support the SHIELD Act.

The Saving High-Tech Innovators From Egregious Legal Disputes Act, once you boil it down, does something simple and effective that would shut down patent trolls for good: Legally requires patent trolls, if their suit is thrown out or they otherwise lose, to pay the defendant’s legal costs.

Considering that patent trolls lose three-quarters of the cases that go to court, and that each case lost can costs millions for the defendant, it would completely eradicate the profits in trying to blackmail people with patents.

It’s pretty simple: Go here, punch in your zip code, and you’ll be pointed towards your representative. Let them know it’s HR 6245, and (politely) let them know why you support it. Mention the scanning story we linked up top, it’s a good summary of the bullying and insanity on this topic.

Take two minutes: Your podcasters will thank you.

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