Perhaps you listen to Adam Carolla’s popular comedy podcast while you’re working out at the gym. Or maybe you download the NBC Nightly News video podcast each morning before you jump on the commuter train. There are podcasts for every possible interest and endeavor, and they are one of the best bargains in entertainment — most are free. Some are a digital component of huge media companies, like NBC or ESPN. Others are the brainchild and passion of a single person operating out of his garage.
Earlier this year, many of the most popular podcasters received formal legal notices in the mail, informing them they were violating a patent with their podcast. See, a Texas company called Personal Audio claims that they invented podcasts way back in 1996; and they have a U.S. patent to back them up. If this sounds surprising to you, a podcast listener, imagine how the podcasters themselves felt — confused, frightened, and maybe a little angry. “We’re terrified we might have to stop podcasting,” Marc Maron, who hosts the popular WTF comedy podcast, told NPR’s Planet Money podcast last week. “We might have to go broke trying to protect ourselves from this [extortion racket].” READ FULL STORY