A Good Old Fashioned Podcast Legal Battle

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Nothing legitimizes New Media like a good old-fashioned court battle. Unfortunately, it would seem that this one is more about sour grapes (and previous competitive issues) than anything else. Regardless, it’s official; two Essex County, New Jersey Videographers are now in a legal battle over their respective Wedding focused podcast efforts.

I’ll let you decide for yourself what is really going on after reading the original Star-Ledger story. Full disclosure: I have been involved in plenty of media stories that prove the rule that the media are generally only half right/accurate.

One thing all court cases need is expert witnesses. It is clear from this “spat” that both parties are in need. Feel free to contact me. As one of the true podcast pioneers involved from the very beginning I have the expertise they require. Though, I can also name 10 different ideas I developed that they have both infringed upon. Heck, maybe I should sue them both! Did they list “Podcast” as the genre in iTunes – I won’t bore you with the details but that was my hard fought public battle back in the very early podcast days. Many of us worked countless hours to develop this medium. We were working to build a platform for all to share, not something to parse into ownership segments. Unless I am missing something, it is sad that two wedding videographers will possibly set a precedent. Perhaps an Amicus Brief is appropriate? One thing that amazes me – a podcast effort that is not yet making money, is suing other financially unstable podcast entity. That tells me it is personal. Am I missing something?

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Comments

  1. says

    Michael,

    You are very correct in regards to many of the statements you have made above on this case. I for one certainly did not ask for this unjust lawsuit. Neither did I want it to be made public. You may thank the Wedding Podcast Network for the negative publicity and the impact it may have on the podcasting industry.

    As podcasters,videographers, wedding professionals. etc… we should be working with one another to make the wedding community and the world of podcasting stronger. This type of press only sends out unfavorable messages. It is ashame that one podcaster feels he has a copyright on such ideas. To my fellow podcasters out there do not let this case put a damper on what your doing. If you believe in something and enjoy it continue to pursue it. Never let any one intimidate you. The podcast community must continue, be kept alive and continue to grow!

    Ralph Mucci
    The Wedding Planning Audiocast

  2. says

    Michael. You are right. Ralph has made it personal. Holli & I have been working hard trying to build a revenue-generating podcast business and Ralph is maliciously and intentionally interfering with that. Please do not characterize this as a spat or sour grapes. We welcome competition. Here is what you are missing.

    This is a case of cyberstalking. Ralph Mucci purposely has created confusion in the marketplace. It’s not WHAT he did, but HOW he did it. As an entrepreneur of a start up new media online business we need safeguards to be in place. They do not currently exist for protection of Internet businesses. Do you think it’s okay that he called our web designer and publicist using a fake identity name pumping for information about our company to directly compete against us? Holli & I are trying to make inroads for podcasters everywhere as a viable place to make a living and support our family. What we have created matters to us. Weddings are a $125 billion industry. We would appreciate it if you did not trivialize our efforts.

    Ralph Mucci is a despicable human being and I believe that he is a pathological liar. We are not the first to be the victim of Ralph. He has done (and continues to do) similar things to other videographers. We are just the only ones to take action against him. He has used delay tactics to avoid telling his story in front of a judge. Is he afraid of the mountain of evidence that we have against him?

    Why would Ralph Mucci need to visit our website thousands of times? Why would he need to download our podcasts nearly 900 times (we have 135 episodes online)? Why does he post negative comments on iTunes and other places on the Internet about our podcasts and favorable ones about his using fake identities? Feel free to check it out for yourself. He has even attacked Holli & I personally on various blogs around the world. How would you feel if you were in our shoes? How are we supposed to brand ourselves if someone like Ralph uses our company website and content as his favorite resource to create his business and directly compete against us? We are reluctant to release new concepts for fear that he will copy them and create more confusion. Is that fair? Ralph has copied and distributed the content of press releases that we have paid a lot of money for a publicist to write. We have proof of all of this. He proudly admits to regularly contacting our guests to be on his show yet he makes his guests sign a contract stipulating that they can not appear on Wedding Podcast Network. We have a copy of this contract. Are there not enough wedding experts in the world where he has to go after the exact same people we feature? He contacts our sponsors to work with him and damages our relationship. We have proof of interference with our sponsors. We will be proving damages.

    Ralph Mucci is a menace. I don’t wish what he has done to us over the last 2 years on my worst enemy. I welcome anyone to contact me for the full details. Want to hear about the time he ambushed me by blocking my car and trying to physically assault me? Luckily I was able to maneuver around him and avoided injury.

    To challenge his lie above I want to make it very clear that Ralph Mucci is the reason that the article was written. Ralph contacted the newspaper to harass them because they refused to do an article about him on podcasting after they found out what he was doing to us. I am on record stating that I wanted our case to go to court before speaking to the media. We were forced into participating in the article. Ralph Mucci caused the Star Ledger to write the article at this point. Even the author of the article can attest to that, just ask her. The Star Ledger’s legal department insisted that the story be done because of all of the harassing phone calls they got from him. That is what Ralph Mucci does.

    Michael, I would take you up on your offer of being an expert witness except for the fact Ralph is afraid to go to court. Come on Ralph crawl out of your hole in the basement and let’s go to court and set a precedent that proves what you are doing is unfair business practice.

    Ralph Mucci is the worst thing to happen to podcasting. Hey Ralph why did you refuse to give your interview to the paper in person? Were you afraid to let Kelly see what a creep you really are?

    There is nothing unjust about the lawsuit. It is distressing to have to deal with this situation but we will not let Ralph Mucci get away with what he is doing and make a mockery of us. If it turns out that what Ralph is doing is deemed acceptable behavior in the digital space then podcasting as a viable business is doomed. Every podcaster that desires to make a good living with podcasting should keep a close eye on the outcome of this case. We are comforted by the overwhelming support we have received from fellow podcasters and hope that we can count on yours.

    BTW – don’t be surprised if Ralph goes crazy after reading this comment and requests that you remove it from your blog. We are all too familiar with how he operates.

    Robert Allen
    Wedding Podcast Network

  3. says

    I believe Mr. Allen and his wife are just a little bit upset above. They’ve been holding back their anger for many months now and finally have an avenue to let it out which is this blog. As you can see I kept my comments short above instead of writing a dissertation. I did not say anything derogatory about Mr. Allen or his wife above nor did I discuss the events of this case. It’s apparent they want to state their case on this blog. Unfortunately some people do not take kindly to competition. The satisfaction I get from doing my show is knowing that I produce a high quality show which has benefitted and helped thousands of brides, wedding planners, and bloggers around the world. All you have to do is just listen to our shows. I enjoy what I’m doing and have been dedicated even though there haven’t been any monetary rewards to date. It would be nice but it just hasn’t happened. In any event certainly I could sit here and write nasty things back after being so viciously attacked above but what would it solve..nothing..just a bunch of nonsense. I’ve been dealing with it for over a year now. As I stated above we should be working together and not against one another. This also has certainly set a bad example in anger and self control toward another podcaster.

    Michael it’s your blog keep the posting up if you like I don’t mind when you’re in the public eye people will make their own judgments.

    Mr. Alan Bloom former member of the NJVA and creator of the 30 minuet edit..thank you for your support and encouragement.

    Ralph Mucci

    The Wedding Planning Audiocast

  4. says

    Oh the humanity… The comments say it all.

    A quick search on iTunes reveals 73 podcasts with the word “wedding” in the title. These guys will beat each other senseless and it won’t even be a blip on the wedding podcast landscape. Welcome to New Media.

  5. says

    “No competitor or any individual for that matter should be subjected to such harsh words as the ones above spoken by Mr. Robert Allen of the Wedding Podcast Network.”

    On January 14, 2010 the Honorable Louis B. York of the Supreme Court in the state of New York Index#112087/07 handed down his decision. Mr. Robert Allen (Eurlich0 executive producer of the Wedding Podcast Network and his wife Mrs. Holly Eurlich lost their 3 year legal battle. Mr. Ralph Mucci executive producer of the Wedding Planning Audiocast was found not guilty on all counts of the allegations Mr. Allen states on his above posting.

    In court documents filed in the Supreme Court of New York Robert Allen filed an injuction attempting to cease and shut down all operations of the Wedding Planning Audiocast. The basis of Mr. Allen’s complaint was that Mr. Mucci and the Wedding Planning Audiocast visited the Wedding Podcast Network’s website thousands of times, stole their show format, contacted their guests to appear on his show, contacted his sponsors and caused confusion resulting in damages to the Wedding Podcast Network. In Justice York’s decision he states the Supreme Court never once heard the words “Trade Secrets or confidental and proprietary information” during the trial that being the essence of Robert Allen and Holly Eurlichs cause. Mr. Allen never proved or provided the Supreme Court with the so called mountain of eveidence he stated he had nor did he furnish at trial any evidence of damages.

    In an article published in the Star Ledger a well known state paper Mr. Allen stated he felt justice was not served. Mr Allen Stated the following “”Part of the problem was that the judge did not understand the internet and podcasting world enough to know how to apply intellectual property and trade secret laws to the emerging industry” Mr. Allen said he was considering appealing the case or filing additional law suits.

    In reflecting back on the past 3 years of litigation Mr. Mucci had the following to say “I never once believed I did any wrong doings and I was not going to back down from these people no matter what. I went to trial in the Supreme Court of New York for 2 days and stood alone acting as my own attorney. I went up against a seasoned professional lawyer who has many, many years of practicing law under his belt and won. I am very proud of that accomplishment! I totally disagrre with Mr. Allen’s statement and in my opinion I felt Justice York was competent enough to apply intellectual property and trade secrets laws to the case. However even if he didn’t uderstand I believe it wouldn’t have mattered because there was never ANY evidence submitted into trial on ANY of the allegations made by the Eurlich’s.
    Whether you state your allegations in a complaint or profess them publically you must provide evidence to back your allegations, evidence that’s valid.

    Perhaps the Eurlich’s courtroom antics added to their down fall as well. By that I mean while I was cross examining Holly Eurlich who was under oath MR. Allen was sitting in the back of the court room shaking his head up and down signaling her how to answer my yes or no questions. I could not see this because my back was to Mr. Allen but Justice York certainly did. Mr. Allen was reprimanded and told he would be removed form the court room. This is all on the recorded official court transcripts and I can’t see how they can ever deny this. I don’t know if this had any bearing on his decision, you can be the judge. The Eurlich’s can appeal the case or they can file all the additional law suits they want, I will be waiting and ready.

    In the Wedding industry no one owns or can copyright these ideas or topics we speak about. They are common knowledge and are openly discussed on thousands of wedding websites and blogs across the world wide web. No one owns their guests or can say that they are their gusts as the Eurlichs claimed. None of their guests were ever under written contract stating they couldn’t appear on the Wedding Planning Audiocast. In fact Robert Allen now has the same guests that were on our show first on his show. Who really cares, I don’t. As far as sponsors and advertisers are concerned the sane sponsors and advertisers appear on different wedding sites and blogs, don’t they I never understood what ever possessed Robert Allen and Holly Eurlich to think they had ownership of these common ideas, guests , sponsors and advertisers. In my opinion somewhere along the way their neuro transmitters stopped functioning properly causing their thoughts to be distorted.

    The law suit didn’t appear to be enough for them for they began contacting wedding professionals, wedding websites, wedding bloggers and many others informing them of the pending litigation and stating the Wedding Planning Audiocast stole their idea and Ralph Mucci was a thief. It’s sad because some of these professionals bought into them and many cancelled shows with us. Some did not want to speak with us as well. They have caused one big mess. Unfortunately in my opinion some individuals can not handle competition and it’s ashame that individuals such as Robert Allen and Holly Eurlich displayed such unprofessionalism off air.

    We have put this behind us and the Wedding Planning Audicast will continue to produce the finest programming available in on demand internet talk radio. Our door is always open to those past guests who cancelled with us or wedding professionals who would like to establish a working relationship. I and the Wedding Planning Audiocast hold no ill feelings. There will always be competition out there and we must all learn to work together with one another for the better of the industry. Hopefully we can all learn something from this unfortunate incident.”

    Deborah Rinaldi
    Public Realtions
    The Wedding Planning Audiocast