A podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is a neologism derived from "broadcast" and "pod" from the success of the iPod, as audio podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.
A list of all the audio or video files associated with a given series is maintained centrally on the distributor's server as a web feed, and the listener or viewer employs special client application software, known as a podcatcher, that can access this web feed, check it for updates, and download any new files in the series. This process can be automated so that new files are downloaded automatically, which may seem to the user as if the content is being broadcast or "pushed" to them. Files are stored locally on the user's computer or other device ready for offline use, giving simple and convenient access to the content. Podcasting contrasts with webcasting (Internet streaming), which generally isn't designed for offline listening to user-selected content.
As discussed by Richard Berry, podcasting is both a converged medium bringing together audio, the web and portable media player, and a disruptive technology that has caused some in the radio business to reconsider some of the established practices and preconceptions about audiences, consumption, production and distribution. This idea of disruptiveness is largely because no one person owns the technology; it is free to listen and create content, which departs from the traditional model of 'gate-kept' media and production tools. It is very much a horizontal media form: producers are consumers and consumers become producers and engage in conversations with each other.
The term "podcasting" was first mentioned by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2004 article, along with other proposed names for the new medium. It is a portmanteau of the words "pod" —from iPod— and "broadcast". Despite the etymology, the content can be accessed using any computer that can play media files and not just portable music players. Use of the term "podcast" predates the addition of native support for podcasting to the iPod, or to Apple's iTunes software.
Many people and groups including Dawn and Drew of The Dawn and Drew Show, Kris and Betsy Smith of Croncast and Dan Klass of The Bitterest Pill contributed to the early emergence and popularity of podcasts. Former MTV VJ Adam Curry in collaboration with Dave Winer, a developer of RSS feeds, is credited with coming up with the idea to automate the delivery and syncing of textual content to portable audio players.
The first application to make this process feasible was iPodderX, developed by August Trometer and Ray Slakinski. Since the 1930s there have been radio talk shows and news programs. Today, through the evolution of the internet capabilities, along with cheaper hardware and software, audio podcasts are doing what was historically done through radio broadcast stations.
In June 2005, Apple released iTunes 4.9 with native support for podcasts. While this made receiving podcasts more convenient, it effectively ended advancement of the podcast medium by independent developers. To add to the cooling factor, Apple issued Cease and Desist orders to many podcast application developers and service providers for using the term "iPod" or "Pod" in the name of their product.
February 10, 2005, Shae Spencer Management LLC of Fairport, New York filed a trademark application to register the term "podcast" for an "online prerecorded radio program over the internet". On September 9, 2005, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application, citing World Heritage Encyclopedia's podcast entry as describing the history of the term. The company amended their application in March 2006, but the USPTO rejected the amended application as not sufficiently differentiated from the original. In November 2006, the application was marked as abandoned.
As of September 20, 2005, known trademarks that attempted to capitalize on podcast include: GodCast, Podcast Realty, GuidePod, Pod-Casting, MyPod, Podvertiser, Podango, ePodcast, PodCabin, Podcaster, PodcastPeople, PodShop, PodKitchen, Podgram and Podcast. By February 2007, there had been 24 attempts to register trademarks containing the word "PODCAST" in United States, but only "PODCAST READY" from Podcast Ready, Inc. was approved.
Apple trademark protections
On September 26, 2004, it was reported that Apple started to crack down on businesses using the string "POD", in product and company names. Apple sent a cease and desist letter that week to Podcast Ready, Inc., which markets an application known as "myPodder". Lawyers for Apple contended that the term "pod" has been used by the public to refer to Apple's music player so extensively that it falls under Apple's trademark cover. It was speculated that such activity was part of a bigger campaign for Apple to expand the scope of its existing iPod trademark, which included trademarking "IPODCAST", "IPOD", and "POD". On November 16, 2006, the Apple Trademark Department stated that Apple does not object to third party usage of "the generic term" "podcast" to refer to podcasting services and that Apple does not license the term. However, no statement was made whether Apple believes they hold rights to it.
Personal Audio lawsuits
Personal Audio, a company referred to as a "patent troll" by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, filed a patent on podcasting in 2009 for a claimed invention in 1996. In February 2013, Personal Audio started suing high-profile podcasters for royalties, including the Adam Carolla Show and the HowStuffWorks podcast. US Congressman Peter DeFazio's previously proposed "SHIELD Act" intends to curb patent trolls.
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Since the spread of the Internet and the use of Internet broadband connection TCP, which helps to identify different applications, a faster connection to the Internet has been created and a wide amount of communication has been created. Video podcasts have become extremely popular online and are short clips of video, usually part of a longer recording. Video clips are being used on pre-established websites and more and more websites are being created solely for the purpose of video clips and podcasts. Video podcasts are being streamed on intranets and extranets, private and public networks, and taking communication through the Internet to whole new levels.
Most video clips are now submitted and produced by individuals and are becoming more common.[not specific enough to verify] Video podcasts are also being used for web television, commonly referred to as Web TV, which is a rapidly growing genre of digital entertainment, using various forms of new media to deliver original shows or series to an audience. Delivered originally online via broadband and mobile networks, web television shows, or web series. Video podcasts used for web television are typically short-form, anywhere from 2–9 minutes per episode. Typically they are used for advertising, video blogs, amateur filming, journalism and convergence with traditional media.
An enhanced podcast can display images simultaneously with audio. These can contain chapter markers, hyperlinks, and artwork; all of which is synced to a specific program or device. When an enhanced podcast is played within its specific program or device, all the appropriate information should be displayed at the same time and in the same window, making it easier to display materials.
A podcast novel (also known as a serialized audiobook or podcast audiobook) is a literary format that combines the concepts of a podcast and an audiobook. Like a traditional novel, a podcast novel is a work of long literary fiction; however, this form of novel is recorded into episodes that are delivered online over a period of time and in the end available as a complete work for download. The episodes may be delivered automatically via RSS, through a web site, blog, or other syndication method. These files are either listened to directly on a user's computer or loaded onto a portable media device to be listened to later.
The types of novels that are podcasted vary from new works from new authors that have never been printed, to well established authors that have been around for years, to classic works of literature that have been in print for over a century. In the same style as an audiobook, podcast novels may be elaborately narrated with separate voice actors for each character and sound effects, similar to a radio play. Other podcast novels have a single narrator reading the text of the story with little or no sound effects.
Podcast novels are distributed over the Internet, commonly on a weblog. Podcast novels are released in episodes on a regular schedule (e.g. once a week) or irregularly as each episode is released when completed, and can either be downloaded manually from a website or blog, be delivered automatically via RSS, or other method of syndication. Ultimately, a serialized podcast novel becomes a completed audiobook.
Podcast novelists use giving away a free podcast version of their book as a form of promotion. Some novelists have even secured publishing contracts to have their novels printed. Podcast novelists have commented that podcasting their novels lets them build audiences even if they cannot get a publisher to buy their books. These audiences then make it easier to secure a printing deal with a publisher at a later date. These podcast novelists also claim the exposure that releasing a free podcast gains them makes up for the fact that they are giving away their work for free.
Communities use collaborative podcasts to support multiple contributors podcasting through generally simplified processes, and without having to host their own individual feeds. A community podcast can also allow members of the community (related to the podcast topic) to contribute to the podcast in many different ways. This method was first used for a series of podcasts hosted by the Regional Educational Technology Center at Fordham University in 2005.
- List of podcatchers
- List of podcasting companies
- MP3 blog
- Protection of Broadcasts and Broadcasting Organizations Treaty
- User-generated content
- Creative Commons Podcasting Legal Guide