Controversy over "This American Life" RSS feeds (UPDATED)

Update: Conrad, the "Unofficial American Life podcaster," clarifies the reports other readers have submitted:

I have decided to remove the Unofficial This American Life podcast at the request of TAL's webmaster Elizabeth Meister. Contrary to posts on Boing Boing and elsewhere, Jon Udell and I did not recieve a "nastygram" or formal ceast and desist letter. Rather we received friendly emails from Ms. Meister, This American Life's webmaster, making a request to take down the hyperlinks and RSS feeds, or she'd regrettably have to get lawyers involved. In other words, it wasn't a "cease and desist".

And Jared says,

Hello, I'm Jared, one of the people who received a request from This American Life to take down the links and podcast feed which linked to their MP3's.

Like Jon Udell, I have decided to comply with This American Life's request at this time. While I'm confident that my page and podcast feed containing links to publicly accessible MP3's, hosted on This American Life's own servers is perfectly legal (see v. Ticketmaster), I felt that I should honor their quaint low-tech attempts of Digital Restrictions Management.

I also want to make it clear, that I don't consider their request to be a "nastygram" or formal cease and desist as you've stated. Ms. Meister was courteous and clearly stated that she'd prefer that lawyers not be involved.

I've posted a more detailed explanation of what happened on my blog.


BoingBoing reader m@ says,

My friend Jared, techblogger Jon Udell, and apparently some others have been sent emails from the PRI radio program This American Life's webmeister requesting they halt publishing RSS podcast-feeds of TAL shows that simply link to MP3s hosted on TAL own website.

Jon has posted a copy of the email, and his response on his blog: Link.

What's questionable about the request is that claims a copyright violation based on deep-linking to content that is already openly available and hosted on the content-provider's site.

BB reader Ken Kennedy was among those who also pointed out that…

Until recently, the "This American Life" feed off of PRI has been a RealAudio stream, which is a PITA to transcode onto a portable media player. Jon's up to that challenge, of course, but he was pleased when they recently switched to MP3s, and blogged about setting up a custom RSS feed to grab the shows and dump them for his player.