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Podcast Survivor: Carolla Campaigns To Fight Podcast Patent Troll in Court

Podcast Survivor

The fight against the Podcast Patent Troll continues on. Last week there was a small victory for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, while podcaster Adam Carolla starts a legal defense fund to fight the troll in court.

On Friday Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins struck down an attempt by Personal Audio to subpoena the names of donors who contributed to EFF’s Save Podcasting campaign. Personal Audio is the company that owns a patent filed in 1996 that it claims covers podcasting. The company is suing high profile podcasters for allegedly infringing on this patent.

Adam Carolla is one of these podcasters, and he has decided to lead the fight in opposing Personal Audio in court. He recently launched the Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund to finance this battle.

Carolla made an appearance on the March 6 episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast to explain the campaign.

He told Maron that a patent suit “is the most expensive litigation to defend. It’s probably $1.5 million if you want to go to court.” Carolla said that Personal Audio originally demanded $3 million, and that he has already spent $50,000 to have the venue for the suit moved out of the Texas court in a “backwater town” where it was filed.

Explaining the stakes, Carolla said “If this works, if they successfully sue me and get me off the air, or shut down my business, or take a part of my business, the entire internet is up for grabs.” Then, anyone making a show for iTunes or YouTube, or producing a podcast or a streaming program would be “open to litigation.”

However, Carolla observed that “what they [Personal Audio] didn’t count on is the power of the pod.” Normally patent trolls are going after companies that have “a room full of lawyers” but “don’t have a microphone and a platform.” Appealing to fans and listeners, podcasters “can rally the troops,” he explained.

With regard to the legal defense fund, Carolla said that all the money donated will go directly to fighting the patent case. If there is any left over he said he might create a podcasting defense fund or donate it to charity. “I’m going to ask my fellow podcasters to put up a reward or incentive of some kind,” he told Maron.

There is also a fundraising event scheduled for March 27 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, featuring talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, along with Adam Carolla, Marc Maron and former Police guitarist Andy Summers.

The troll-fighting Innovation Act passed the House in December but is still waiting for Senate action. The EFF is campaigning to urge the Senate to pass “quality patent reform.”

We cover podcasting news and analysis every Wednesday in our Podcast Survivor feature.

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