Breakfast with Maron and Oswalt, Attempting Normal, patent trolls

Good morning Marc Maron and Patton Oswalt.

BTW, Maron's new set of essays, Attempting Normal, pictured here despite the lack of text to wrap around said image (editors note: I found text, it's a "win win"), is now available for pre-order from Amazon and will be at all the usual outlets April 30th, BUT ... even more important at this moment is this from Maron's newsletter this week. A patent troll is descending on the podcasting world right now:
If you all weren’t aware yet you should know that some podcasters are under attack from patent trolls. Adam Carolla is actually being sued. A patent troll called Personal Audio claims to own the patent for podcasting and is suing Adam and some other podcasts and sent letters of coercion to me and about a dozen others. It’s serious bullshit. I know you’re thinking, “How can you patent ‘podcasting?’ That’s ridiculous.” It is ridiculous, even when you look at the patent, but now someone has to pay LOTS of money to prove that.

Patent trolls are companies who don’t make anything or don’t sell anything, but own patents and use them as a weapon to extort money from businesses and individuals, usually demanding licensing fees that are cheaper than actually litigating a case in court. A patent troll uses patents as legal weapons, instead of actually creating any new products or coming up with new ideas. Instead, trolls are in the business of litigation (or even just threatening litigation). The business model works because patent litigation is so expensive—often costing well into the millions of dollars. This means that when facing the threat of a patent suit, many will choose to settle instead of fight. Of course, this just further emboldens the patent trolls.

Podcasters are uniting to figure out a course of action and help each other. The EFF has been helping us and also asking us to help them support new legislation called the SHIELD Act to make Patent Trolling less prevalent. Please go here eff.org/shield and let your representatives know how you feel.

I may need more of your help around this problem in upcoming months. I will let you know.

For more on patent trolls from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, click here.

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