Let’s start with the “butt” of many jokes. There is a magazine called Paper whose recent goal was to break the Internet, the one assignment they had for the Winter issue. How do they hope to achieve that goal? Here’s what they said: “There is no other person that we can think of who is up to the task than one Kim Kardashian West. A pop culture fascination able to generate headlines just by leaving her house, Kim is what makes the Web tick.”
I can only “ass”-sume that Kimmie is trying to keep up with Kanye, who is so good at making an ass of himself. So what’s the fuss all about? Mrs. West has bared her bottom for Paper, and the magazine’s intent is to try and overload the Internet with hits. I might suggest a good spanking, instead.
There is, however, a much more sinister plot to break the Internet than any involving the ass Kanye or his wife’s ass, and I first blogged about this on May 11. The issue is Net Neutrality, and push is now coming to shove.
At stake, potentially, is the freedom of podcasting to exist as a category of personal publishing unburdened by a licensing cost for the basic platform of downloadable audio. An organization called Personal Audio, which apparently operates out of an empty office somewhere in Texas that no one ever goes to, has already sued Apple and others claiming it held patents on the concept of playlists, and it has actually scored some victories. Personal Audio, whose process is to get in, cause confusion and chaos, and grab all the money it can, is at it again, suing podcasters, including giant Adam Carolla's ACE Broadcasting, HowStuffWorks, and Togi Entertainment. Personal Audio claims it created a system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence, which later became the industry standard for podcasting, and it has the patent to prove it. In terms of the field of communications, it means broadcasting a message to the public without direct feedback from the audience.
All podcasters depend on the number of hits they get to generate revenue. Even a radio station website generates revenue from the number of hits coming in from readers and listeners. A podcaster can also create a network of suppliers, so to speak: Dan Sanders talks about everything under the sun, but on that same website, Gordon Geek has a blog about the latest video games. Gordon may get 500 hits, and Dan may get 500 hits, but together they and the website have a thousand hits, which advertisers pay more for because of the exposure. This is how you build a podcasting network.
If you’re a podcaster who has been hit with a letter from Personal Audio, contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, a non-profit digital rights advocacy group. EFF is offering legal and support services to podcasters.
There are more thoughts on this and other topics on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Give a listen.