From: Apple Hits Podcast Ready with Nastygram (Wired.com)
Apple Computer has slapped Podcast Ready with a "cease and desist" letter, claiming that the terms "Podcast Ready" and "myPodder" infringe Apple's trademarks, and that they cause confusion among consumers. The company has been cracking down on use of the word "pod" by all sorts of parties, even though its trademark is for the word "iPod."
Podcast Ready CEO Russel Holliman said he'd consider dropping the name myPodder if he had to, but "Podcast Ready"? If that's infringement, Apple is claiming that it owns the word "podcast." Sure, the word originated with the word iPod, but most people now see it as a general term for downloadable audio shows that isn't affiliated with one brand more than another.
Coincidentally, Apple's letter arrived the day before Podcast Ready unveiled a new version of its software -- one that works with the iPod.
Podcast Ready works by sucking down subscribed podcasts directly to a portable device whenever that device is connected to a computer. This allows you to update your player's podcasts on any computer, instead of just the one running, say, your iTunes software. The latest version of the program works better with iTunes because it adds freshly-downloaded podcasts to your iPod's navigation database without you having to import the podcasts into iTunes first.
It's important to note they're are two different issue here... It's quite likely "myPodder" may be an infringment... However if "Podcast Ready" is an infringement that would make any company who ever used "podcast" in their name an infringing.
I am actually really pissed at Apple... they didn't CREATE or invent podcasting and clearly they're behaving with both iTunes 7.0 and with their trademarks like they own it... it is a "comsumer driven culture" or better explained as "a community created" and "community driven technology" and whatever apple now thinks of the term "podcast" now it's to late for them to try to claim ownership over the term or tech after it was created by the community and Apple has embraced and encouraged the terms general usage for almost two years. The term "podcasting" and the tech for podcasting were around before Apple started using the term and before they added the technology to iTunes... and I'll bet anything if there's a showdown that the technology and term are still around long after Apple and the iPod have gone the way of all other companies and products over the years.
At this point I'm really hostile toward apple on the podcasting front and I wish the blogging community would just get organized and create an uproar and put apple in it's place. We litterally number in the hundreds of thousands whereas apple is just one company.
Apple has with their vertical integration of Podcasting into the iTunes store endoctrinated podcasting, making podcasting rigid, stiffling innovation, and disenfranchising thousands of bloggers, videobloggers and podcasters with their business 1.0 model of vertically integratation and lockin into the itunes store, directory and software.
Apple is creating a golden silo or walled garden to capture and drive traffic and sales in the iTunes Store... greedily grabbing traffic and locking people into the iTunes store with DRM and the iTunes podcasting platform.
With Apple all traffic is inbound, none outbound.
Bloggers and Podcasters everywhere are driving thousands and thousands of users to iTunes via thousands of inbound itunes links... I'm willing to bet we are THE number one driver of traffic to the iTunes store. I challenge you... who else is driving traffic to Apple? Apple is using YOU.
There is not a single permalink or linkback anywhere where our content is being watched and listened. Not one link in the media playback interface back to our own sites! There are plenty of links from the iTunes interface into the iTunes Store.. but no links to OUR websites... where we conduct OUR businss.. sell our content... or just discuss the podcast episode you've just listened to in iTunes.
I'd call it a slick bastardization of podcasters interest... but it's NOT slick. It's sickening... an outrage.
There are no perma-links back from itunes to independant artists... musicians, videographers, or podcast producers whom are strugling to make a dime... to do everything from sell an mp3... to simply get some achnowlegement. Apple has shaped ALL workflow around and within iTunes disconnecting bloggers from their audiences.
As I put it before. All links are inbound to iTunes and NOTHING is outbound.
It's particularly vexing to me because podcasting is based on blogging and RSS.
RSS syndication would not even EXIST without linkbacks and permalinks. If syndication didn't drive traffic back to websites it would not exist at ALL!
Permalinks are FUNDAMENTAL. So fundamental in fact that of the hundreds or even thousands of RSS podcatcher and newsreader applications out there I'm willing to bet 99% of them link back to the original blog post... pretty much every single one but Apple!
Perhaps it's time to create an Creative Commons legally binding RSS license and include that anyone syndicating content MUST link back to the original place where that content was posted. You would think it would be obvious wouldn't you!? But Apple's iTunes has had podcasting support for over a year, it's now in it's second major revision with podcasting support and still no trackbacks!
Backing up... I think we're going to see another Streisand Effect over this Apple vs. Podcast Ready thing. And I welcome it. I think it's time for an uproar.. for some outrage in the blogging community. Enough of Apple bending the will of the podcasting community to suit it's needs. Enough. This is a symbiotic relationship, a partnership or it should be not at all.
Fortunately this is great timing and great PR for Podcast Ready, just as they've come out with a new version of their software... I'm sure they'll benifit tremendously from the publicity.
Remember kids... Conflict is good for business... especially if you're the underdog like Podcast Ready and not some big gorilla with plans to embrace, extend and vertically integrate an entire creator's culture into your little schema to take over the media world.
Apple's got to give here... they're doing a crap ass job of courting hollywood and podcasters. Not only is hollywood not buying it but independant musicians and media makers are being squashed on the other end of the spectrum. The entire spectrum of the media free market cannot be represented in a closed market owned by one company. The center of the market mist remain open. Something has got to give... and i'm guessing it's already starting with Apple's reputation as a platform for independant media makers.
As for me... I'm switching to podcast ready today... I'm so damn sick of iTunes bloatware. The latest edition of myPodder couldn't have come out sooner. Nor Apple have spurred publicity around it at a better time. I emplore everyone to take the jump with me... and switch those iTunes subscription links on your site that point to iTunes to people like PodcastReady.com, FireAnt.com, Mefeedia.com, Odeo.com and others whom are actually providing services for the community.
Tip via Yahoo Podcasters group