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.
Leo Laporte, the cool guy behind the TWiT network, believes it is time for a change and that the term ‘podcast’ is a bit confusing:
If Apple is claiming that the term "Podcast Ready" infringes their iPod trademark, then they’re claiming ownership of the word podcast. Needless to say this could precipitate a crisis in the *cast community.
Truth is, I’ve never liked the word podcast. It causes confusion. In the past couple of days two people have told me that they can’t listen to my shows because they "don’t own an iPod." I have to explain constantly that podcasts can be listened to on computers, phones, MP3 players, and CDs, as well as iPods, but because of the name the confusion persists. And now Apple is threatening people who use the word.
I think it’s time for a change. I’ll address this in my keynote at *cast Expo next week, but I’d like to know what you think. Can’t we come up with a better word for what we do?
I propose the word "netcast." It’s a little clearer that these are broadcasts over the Internet. It’s catchy and even kind of a pun.
I agree with Leo that it is time for a change although I am not sure about the term "netcast". Scoble suggests using the terms "audiocast" and "videocast" (I like the alternative of "vidcast").
Whichever term is used, assuming the term "podcast" fades from our vocabulary because of Apple’s onslaught, it will become a generic term just as "podcast" is now. I think the best term is one that is not technology specific and is simple enough for people to learn quickly and use freely. Whatever you call it, it is a form of media that is becoming tremendously popular. Apple would really be better served by allowing people to use the term "podcast" freely, almost on an open source basis. If they choose not to do this then we have no choice but to change our terminology to something else.