Are Podcasters Going to Get Sued? Personal Audio LLC Attacks Carolla, HowStuffWorks

Editor’s Note: I made a change to the article to point more toward Ace Broadcasting. Keep in mind, NO PODCAST IS GETTING SUED. Only Podcast hosting companies. 

Earlier today news spread of the company that sued Apple back in 2011 is at it again. They have issued lawsuits to ACE Broadcasting and While they received $8 million from Apple for a patent dispute, can they really go after a podcast?

The Lawsuit

Ace Broadcasting Logo

Ace Broadcasting Logo

The company Personal Audio LLC filed an Intellectual Property patent against HowStuffWorks (2:2013cv00015), Togi Entertainment (2:2013cv00013) and Ace Broadcasting Company (2:2013cv00014) – the official company of the Adam Carolla podcast. All of these cases were filed Jan 7th at Texas Eastern District Court.

What Carolla and HowStuffWorks are being Sued for

The three sites are being sued for a patent infringement held by Personal Audio LLC – created by Jim Logan, Dan Goessling and Charles Call. The patent – 8,112,504 “System for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence” which were filed in 2009 and given patent on Feb 7, 2012.

Wait – February 7th 2012?

Yes. These are based on patents that were filed for radio or television in 1996. The company itself filed for LLC before they went after companies – assuming they wanted personal protection so they wouldn’t lose their houses if they lost.

Other Lawsuits of Personal Audio LLC

Personal Audio

Personal Audio

Personal Audio also has sued Apple, Sirus XM Radio, Coby Electronics and Archos. The company has sued Apple a series of four times. They sued Samsung, RIM, Motorola Mobility, HTC and LG.

There is also a lawsuit against Amazon Digital Services.

The company is definitely going after the way podcasters are pushing content. So far they have received over 8 million from Apple from patents.

The company – who claims they are pioneers of playlists & podcasting – has licensed their technology with many of the companies they sued.

What Does that Mean for Podcasting?

Nothing for now. These patents are more for segment podcasting and being able to navigate through shows. Podcasts themselves are not at risk at this time.

So go ahead and continue to podcast!!


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  • mcphillips

    I just read the patent and the complaint. The plaintiff alleges infringement of Claim 31. The lawsuit is going to be interesting (and expensive).

  • This is beyond ridiculous.

  • Jeff Hammer

    What does it mean they are more for segment podcasting?

  • Just make a YouTube channel and it’s no longer a podcast.

    • Yes, but the delivery method for podcasts is better than that of YouTube. Also, turning an audio podcast into a video for YouTube is annoying.

  • robertwade

    So, what legally qualifies as “segment” podcasting? I suspect the majority of podcasting these days is video and “episodic”. As I attempted to wade through the actual patent, it seemed like it pertained more to audio and specifically the system by which audio segments are stored, catalogued, converted to/from text, “synopsized” to allow for consumers to skip around to which segments they want, and then some sort of voice control. It would seem that, if the “spirit” of the patent (as the patent refers to it) were expanded we could see everything from iTunes & Windows Media Player to YouTube, Netflix & Hulu could get sued….to say nothing of us little independent non-revenue-generating podcasters out there.

  • ORR

    I have to agree, this is an abuse of the patent system. Didn’t old radio programs in the 40’s and 50’s have segments and serialized episodes? The logical extension is that TV has segments and serialized episodes. VCR’s have had a method of recording and presenting segments in a serialized fashion since the mid-70’s. The logical extension to a VCR is a DVR, and a DVR could record audio and or video the same way. What exactly is the invention they claim here? This patent should never have been issued. A total abuse of the patent system.