Friday, 31 July 2009

US patent granted on podcasting

Photographer and podcaster @WildlifePhotog tweeted a link on Friday to a Softpedia article detailing a patent that's apparently been granted to US company VoloMedia.

Q) So what's their big new invention?

A) Podcasting.

That's right, VoloMedia are claiming that they invented podcasting. The patent was filed in 2008 but is a continuance to a previous one in 2003 and covers the concept of "episodic media content" which could include not just podcasts but potentially also things like RSS feeds in general. As Ars Technica points out it's hard to work out what's actually been invented here since they aren't claiming to have actually created the ability to download a media file or an RSS feed itself.

VoloMedia are currently claiming not to be interested in licensing deals however this is an obvious threat to anyone producing podcasts, in particular large companies who now face the prospect of a retrospective claim being made for licensing monies.

Personally I feel sure that podcasting was already around in 2003 and if someone can demonstrate prior art over this then the patent can be invalidated. Wikipedia has a statement that they emerged in 2004 and this has apparently been enough to overturn an application to trademark the term the following year.

EDIT - There is a suggestion that the first podcast may have been in July 2003 from Boston radio broadcaster Christopher Lydon following his attendance at BloggerCon in Harvard. At around the same time ex-MTV host Adam Curry apparently wrote some software to extend RSS feeds to include audio content and automatically download archived shows to his iPod.

It looks like it's going to come down to a matter of timing between the podcasts and the aggregation software at the time and the specific dates detailed in VoloMedia's patent claim.


Post a Comment