EFF Takes on VoloMedia Podcast Patent

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has added the VoloMedia podcast patent to it’s “Most Wanted” style list for its Patent-Busting Project.

I wrote about this patent back when it was first announced. As expected, there is now some movement in challenging it. Specifically, the EFF is looking for examples of prior art: “evidence that the podcasting methods described in the patent were already in use before November 19, 2003.” You can read the whole story over at the EFF.

(I was only half joking when I said I was “adding podcasting/episodic media expert witness to my resume.”) We’ll see what happens.

VoloMedia Podcast Patent… Remember When?

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Via the Association for Downloadable Media (ADM) website, VoloMedia (formerly PodBridge) explained the patent just issued to them for “podcasting.” I use quotes because they say it is for “podcasting.” Patent #7,568,213 actually covers a “Method for Providing Episodic Media.” You know, like TV and soap operas. My guess is they posted it to the ADM website because no one noticed it on the VoloMedia website. Reading about this recent success just takes me down memory lane.

Remember when…

Adam Curry, Dave Winer and VoloMedia came up with that crazy idea about enclosures in RSS?

Or the time Winer, Christopher Lydon and VoloMedia really put it into practice?

Or when Doug Kaye and VoloMedia chatted and IT Conversations was born?

Or how about when Dave Slusher and VoloMedia spotted Dannie Gregoires’s RSS aggregation software using the agent name ‘podcaster’ and chimed “Podcasting! right on!” and podcasting got its name?

Wow! The memories…

I know when early on Todd Cochrane, Dawn & Drew, Dan Klass, myself and many others were trying to sort out how to podcast it was always the folks at VoloMedia who came to our aid to explain episodic media done right. Heck – they invented it!

All that initial media attention: NY Times, Wired Magazine, USA Today, CNN etc., etc. It was always our basic crew – plus the great guys & gals from VoloMedia.

You couldn’t help but bump into the VoloMedia team in the green rooms at conferences. In fact, I can’t think of a podcast conference I went to where I didn’t see their banners or leave without them forcing a VoloMedia branded shirt and pen on us.

Those VoloMedia folks are awesome! They always covered the bar bill. The stories I could tell.

Those were the days…

How about the time an overly VC funded company tried to carve out an island of potential IP defensibility and future for litigation based revenue via a broad patent?

Good times, good times….

VoloMedia can claim whatever they like, good for them. IP claims like this can be used in many ways. Nuisance litigation, acquisition value etc. etc. Prior art from many listed above will be an issue but it comes down to dollars and sense.

The big loser in my opinion is the ADM. Who in the world agreed to post this to their site? Recent “notes”, “updates” and “clarifications” aside they gave it credibility under their name as an organization, an organization supported by the very people who will likely take issue with it and litigate it. No one paid this any notice until it was on the ADM site. Well played VoloMedia. The ADM folks are all smart people, how they allowed this to happen baffles me.

What am I doing about it? I’m adding podcasting/episodic media “expert witness” to my resume. When in Rome…

Ferrari and my 550 Maranello

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I don’t talk about it much but back in 2000, I ordered a 550 Maranello from the Ferrari factory. Membership in the 12 cylinder club is unique. It was a life goal and I felt good about achieving it. At the same time, some friends bought me an infant size racing suit for my first born. As an F1 fan it was a perfect gift. The car has since been sold, but each of my 3 boys has had his picture taken in the Ferrari driver’s suit. For Father’s day I received them all mounted with the suit – awesome!

Thank you to my wife and children.

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Podango – Bankruptcy Looming?

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Without coming out and saying it in plain English, Podango has basically said get your stuff off our servers ’cause we are going under… When the President of an Internet startup says “we are encouraging you to begin taking all necessary steps to secure your data or begin moving to another hosting provider” you can read the writing on the wall. Looks like bankruptcy. Two years ago, people railed against me for my “Podcasting Is Dead” presentation. I’m not sure how many more examples I need to point to until folks realize – I was dead on. You are in the media business, forget “podcasting” – that is so 2005.

I think this also says something about the “network of shows” model Podango and several other startups were counting on. Grouping together unrelated shows in order to sell advertising across all of them simply doesn’t work. Aside from the fact that none of these companies has a dedicated sales team (something every successful content company has from day one), advertisers simply don’t see value in using a shotgun method to reach their target market. Besides, wasn’t reaching a super-targeted audience exactly what new media promised in the first place? Slapping an old business model on new media was destined to fail.

Podango was started by some great folks, primarily Lee and Doug, both stand up guys. In fact I sold technology to them a few years back. No one takes joy in situations like this, it is a tough spot. They are smart guys and will weather the storm. Look for them on the backside. I expect they’ll be back.

So who’s next? Anyone heard from Mevio (Podshow) lately?

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