A company you’ve probably never heard of before announced today that it has been awarded a patent on podcasting. VoloMedia was awarded U.S. Patent 7,568,213 titled "Method for Providing Episodic Media" yesterday. I think the fact that VoloMedia’s Murgesh Navar posted an entry defending the patent before anyone even knew about it underscores just how silly it is.
Here’s what Dave Winer wrote today in response:
I’m certainly not a lawyer or an expert in patent law, but it seems the work Adam Curry and I did in creating the format and protocol for podcasting, in 2001, may have inspired their "invention." It certainly predates it.
Honestly it boggles my mind how software patents are awarded. First of all, VoloMedia applied for the patent in November 2003. Why did it take nearly six years for it to be decided? It’s a cliche, but that’s an eternity on the Internet. Second of all, how could the patent office not discover prior art within those six years? It’s just ridiculous.
According to NewTeeVee, VoloMedia is in talks with Apple and TV networks, among others, “about growing the business and market.” Seriously? I hope VoloMedia fails fast. I really dislike companies that exist solely to sue other companies for violating patents they should never have been awarded in the first place. That’s exactly what VoloMedia is becoming.
For more, check out Ars Technica. Here’s to hoping that VoloMedia’s patent is invalidated.
There always seems to be something in the news about China (and to a lesser extent, India) these days, and it’s usually about how China is changing in one way or another. Even articles that seem to talk about a lack of change really talk about change:
But one thing never seems to change, and it’s as obvious on street corners today as it was six years ago. In 1999, when “Star Wars Episode 1–The Phantom Menace” debuted, it was quickly pirated on DVDs that sold throughout China for next to nothing.
Fast forward to May 2005–four years after China joined the World Trade Organization and embraced its stringent rules on intellectual property rights. When “Star Wars: Episode III–Revenge of the Sith” opened in U.S. theaters, copies again hit the streets of Beijing within days. Sold out of bicycle baskets by roving vendors, available in mom-and-pop retail stores everywhere, the counterfeit DVDs retailed for about 75 cents each.
Yes, piracy is a big problem in the world, and not just in China though the problem is particularly evident there. Why is it bad though? Change!
What’s standing in the way of better intellectual property rights enforcement? “It’s not a plot,” says Bruce Lehman, former commissioner of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the chairman of the International Intellectual Property Institute. “It’s the result of a system in transition.”
It’s a pretty safe bet actually, when you hear China, just guess change!
Read: CNET News.com