VoloMedia Awarded U.S. Patent On PodcastingJul 29th, 2009 | By James Lewin | Category: Corporate Podcasts, Featured Story, General, Podcasting, Podcasting Law
The company says it expects companies creating products relating to podcasting and media synchronization to enter into partnerships with VoloMedia.
Founder Murgesh Navar has this to say about the patent:
The relative breadth of the issued claims under this patent has given rise to many questions. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide some context to our announcement: “VoloMedia Awarded U.S. Patent for Podcasting”.
Over the years, I have heard arguments, pro and con, to the utility and necessity of an intellectual property (IP) system. One one hand, there are arguments that say exclusive rights to ideas awarded on a patent excludes others from doing what they want to do and, therefore, IP systems close down access to knowledge. On the other hand, patents and intellectual property rights do drive innovation, as well as investments in new ideas. I do not wish to debate the merits of the U.S. patent system, but just acknowledge there are two sides to the issue of patent awards. VoloMedia has filed a dozen U.S. patent applications since 2003. Patent no. 7,568,213 is the first in the pipeline to issue. We expect the others to follow suit.
With specific reference to our newly issued 7,568,213 patent, it was filed in November 2003, almost a year before the start of podcasting. This helps underscore the point, that for nearly six years, VoloMedia has been focused on helping publishers monetize portable media…. and has continued these efforts with the addition of a wide array of smartphone-based applications. The patent that issued yesterday helps to tie together and reinforce the value of the various technologies and services that VoloMedia has developed to help accomplish this objective. VoloMedia’s intent is to continue to work collaboratively with key participants in the industry, leveraging its unique range of products to further grow and accelerate the market. Today, podcasting is 100% RSS-based. However, the patent is not RSS-dependent. Rather, it covers all episodic media downloads. It just so happens that, today, the majority of episodic media downloads are RSS-based podcasts, which is why we titled our announcement the way we did.
The episodic media download industry is still in its infancy. There will come a day when all the content on Hulu is available as an episodic download. Consumers will then have legitimate choices in how they consume their media: on a downloaded and portable basis, or by visiting a content aggregation website. As the medium matures, one would expect to see new entrants into the episodic download arena. The impact of a strong growing IP portfolio is such that we would expect new entrants into the podcasting arena to have a collaborative relationship with VoloMedia, just as do many of the current players.
This patent raises all sorts of questions:
- Is there really anything unique technologically about podcasting? Is the publish and subscribe mechanism that podcasting is based on different than other data synchronization systems?.
- Will this promote the development of podcasting or reward those that have developed it?
- Is this going to kill off new developments in the world of podcasting and new media?
What do you think of VoloMedia’s patent on podcasting?
For reference, below are the claims, per VoloMedia, issued under U.S. patent 7,568,213:
1. A method for providing episodic media, the method comprising: providing a user with access to a channel dedicated to episodic media, wherein the episodic media provided over the channel is pre-defined into one or more episodes by a remote publisher of the episodic media; receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user; automatically downloading updated episodic media associated with the channel dedicated to the episodic media to a computing device associated with the user in accordance with the subscription request upon availability of the updated episodic media, the automatic download occurring without further user interaction; and providing the user with: an indication of a maximum available channel depth, the channel depth indicating a size of episodic media yet to be downloaded from the channel and size of episodic media already downloaded from the channel, the channel depth being specified in playtime or storage resources, and the ability to modify the channel depth by deleting selected episodic media content, thereby overriding the previously configured channel depth.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising automatically providing the user with an indication of the availability of updated episodic media via the channel dedicated to the episodic media in accordance with the subscription request.
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising synchronizing the updated episodic media automatically downloaded to the computing device associated with the user with a portable computing device communicatively coupled to the computing device associated with the user.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein synchronization of the updated episodic media automatically occurs in response to a predetermined user setting.
5. The method of claim 3, wherein synchronization of the updated episodic media occurs in response to a request received from the user.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the updated episodic media is made available to users not associated with the computing device over a local area network.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the automatic download is further based on a priority assigned to the channel.
8. The method of claim 3, wherein the channel dedicated to the episodic media is reduced in size during synchronization in order to fit available cache storage within the portable device.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein the channel dedicated to the episodic media is modified in size by removing one or more episodes of episodic media.
Learn more about Volomedia