The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a challenge with the patent office against the notorious "podcasting" patent of patent troll Personal Audio, which has been shaking down podcasters for money for a vague "invention." Podcasting fans raised over $75,000 to fund the challenge.
"As we show in our petition, Personal Audio is not the true inventor of this technology and should not be demanding a payout from today's podcasters," EFF Staff Attorney Daniel Nazer said. "If you look into the history of podcasting, you won't see anything about Personal Audio."
Today's petition shows that Personal Audio did not invent anything new, and, in fact, other people were podcasting years before Personal Audio first applied for a patent. In preparation for this filing, EFF solicited help from the public to find prior art, or earlier examples of podcasting. In the petition, EFF cites three examples: Internet Pioneer Carl Malamud's "Geek of the Week" online radio show and online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Members of the public donated $76,160 to fund this campaign, an amount more than double what EFF originally requested when it launched its "Save Podcasting" fundraiser in May. EFF partnered with attorneys working pro bono and the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society to craft the petition. The donated funds will be used to pay the fees and costs associated with the petition, which are primarily Patent Office filing fees. Any funds remaining after the fees are paid will go towards EFF's ongoing patent reform work.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.