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Take This Podcast to Havana!
December 14, 2005 7:55 PM   Subscribe

Is your podcast being hijacked? The nature of RSS and podcast content makes it really easy for somebody to create new feeds based on somebody else's content and pass it off as the original through directories like Yahoo's or iTunes; then, of course, they potentially add advertising or use the built-up audience to extort the original podcaster. Podkeyword, the organization that has sparked concern about the issue, says they're not doing anything illegal or unethical; correspondence between Podkeyword and the guy whose podcast is at issue is available. [First pass legal take here, potential third-party retribution here; via.]
posted by aaronetc (31 comments total)

 
Ironically, a good deal of audio-focused podcast material is illegally rebroadcast anyway, strictly speaking. Just sayin'
posted by Rothko at 8:00 PM on December 14, 2005


Rothko, you mean people doing music or using music for intro bumpers and stuff?
posted by mathowie at 8:04 PM on December 14, 2005


Of the first variety. On the other hand, licensing in every country hasn't been hashed out all that well to handle the podcast format, mainly because it's difficult to gauge the listening audience.
posted by Rothko at 8:08 PM on December 14, 2005


Props to Erik Marcus for making the front page of MetaFilter, one way or another!

No, really, this is a serious issue and all, but hey, you go, Erik!
posted by soyjoy at 8:13 PM on December 14, 2005


Rothko: I wonder how "good" a deal it is, actually. Most of the audio podcast material I've encountered seems to be of the talk variety. Does anyone know of anything like blogpulse for podcasts?
posted by aaronetc at 8:19 PM on December 14, 2005


Oh, there's tons of music-based podcasts, trust me. And yeah, there's a lot of non-"podsafe" music being played, on them and on plenty of talking-based podcasts. But there's also the Podsafe Music Network.
posted by soyjoy at 8:41 PM on December 14, 2005


I couldn't help but to imagine a shrill voice reading that article to me.

"But he pointed to MY podcast... and after I asked him to remove it, he wanted to be paid to put it back..."

Seriously... the internet is becoming the biggest popularity contest out there.
posted by chibikeandy at 8:44 PM on December 14, 2005


What?!? Unauthorized rebroadcasting/ distribution of content? Heavens!

Heh - I LOVE this - I'll bet many of the aggrieved are pirates worrying that others could now be pirating their material. (Said lovingly:) Hey EFF, which side will you take in this battle?
posted by twsf at 9:04 PM on December 14, 2005


Some guy gets all bent out of shape after he signs up with Podkeyword and they list his podcast just like they said they would (from his own article: "I gave the site a visit and submitted my URL for a few listings. When I launched my show in October of 2004 I went everywhere I could to post its URL, and I quickly forgot all about my five minute visit to podkeyword.") and now I have to put up with people freaking out that they might be podjacked.

I've got a better definition for the word "podjacked": being killed for your iPod.
posted by revgeorge at 9:18 PM on December 14, 2005


Public key crypto was invented for a reason people, and if you don't use it you certanly won't get any sympathy from me.
posted by delmoi at 9:29 PM on December 14, 2005


I like revgeorge's definition of podjacked.

Also, Mr. Vegan podcaster is a tool.
posted by AaronRaphael at 9:31 PM on December 14, 2005


by the way, can I just state for the record that if you boost someone else's podcast in order to get into the podcast hall of fame you're the biggest fcuking loser on the face of the earth?I meant to write 'fuck' but by my drunken state I wrote fcuk. I kept it for humor value)
posted by delmoi at 9:33 PM on December 14, 2005


I've got a better definition for the word "podjacked": being killed for your iPod.

If god came up to you and offered, no joke no complications an Ipod if, and only if it meant the death of one single random unkown person would you do it?

I have to wonder. I bet most people would.
posted by delmoi at 9:36 PM on December 14, 2005


I like those odds! /homer
posted by Rothko at 9:39 PM on December 14, 2005


would you do it?

God's arrival, Ipod in hand, would prove the existence of God. He comes with omniscience and some rules about killing, usually.
posted by nervousfritz at 10:32 PM on December 14, 2005


zing!
posted by soyjoy at 10:37 PM on December 14, 2005


This guy needs to get a clue. I will be completely unsurprised if it turns out that he did not completely read Podkeyword's T&Cs when he submitted his feed.

Podkeyword was doing him a favour - Marcus pretty much admits the vast majority of his audience had found him because of Podkeyword's feed - and because they had done the legwork of registering the feeds with iTunes, where Marcus obviously had not.
posted by pascal at 10:49 PM on December 14, 2005


DELETE MY FEED!
UN-DELETE MY FEED!
IM SUING YOU!

oh man, comedy gold.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:15 AM on December 15, 2005


Frankly, I'm surprised that we were all naive enough not to recognize that something like this wouldn't happen. Sooner or later, the 15-20 hours you put into your podcast mean nothing while somebody else profits off of it by adding an advertisement or three, perhaps collecting AdWords revenue on the side. I suspect that this is only the beginning of a disturbing trend we'll see in the podcasting community. This is the chink in the armor, for the music licensing reasons cited above. Really, since the RSS feed is free, what's to stop a major media behemoth (perhaps someone from the recording industry who owns the rights to a song used in a podcast) from declaring ownership of a feed by way of unauthorized rights?

If anything, this encourages me (as a podcaster) to be far more careful about fair use and background music.
posted by ed at 12:27 AM on December 15, 2005


The EASIEST way in the world to prevent yourself being podjacked? Mention your website in every podcast. Make sure to ask people to use YOUR RSS feed and let you know if they found it somewhere else. The Vegan guy sounds like a bit of a super-tool if you ask me.

Oooh! Better, start an anti-podjacking podcast! You will be teh popular in no time!
posted by antifuse at 3:00 AM on December 15, 2005


That article reads like a 1st-grader whining about spilt kool-aid or something.
posted by signal at 3:52 AM on December 15, 2005


Back when I was a business-unit webmaster, my site was hijacked twice, by resellers of our products. They replaced the banners and changed some of the colors and the sales contact information. As I recall, we had legal send a C&D to protect our claim to the materials and left it at that. After all, they were not reducing our revenue stream.

Later, I did some work on a site that sold high-end coffee machines. The owner of the business was feverishly zealous about chasing down stolen content. Probably spend a third or more of his day doing just that. People would scrape product descriptions or layouts and put them onto their own stores. Since he was getting about a third of his new referrals from search engine placement, it had an unknown but probably significant impact on their revenue stream.

So AFAICS the only thing "new" about this is that it's hapening with a podcast. Am I missing something? Can someone explain to me how this differs in kind from stealing someone's website?
posted by lodurr at 4:05 AM on December 15, 2005


Podcasters don't want to distribute content, they want to collect listeners. This is a kind of game. If someone else collects listeners on your feed, they win -- it doesn't matter if in the end your content is reaching them and you still control that content.

What matters to the podcasters is the number of *subscribers*, not listeners. If another site subscribes listeners for your podcast, they get credit on their total and you don't. This means that they are winning.
posted by adzuki at 4:32 AM on December 15, 2005


Good point. I'd then point out that it's analogous to the situation on the web c. 1997 or so, when all we thought about (well, all most people thought about) was page views. Statistics are a little more refined now, but only a little; I think marketing people just take them less seriously. (Also, they do pay attention to a few different metrics, now.)

But if your podcast is really about delivering viewers to your product-oriented website, you could say it's failign if you don't get the subscribers. One of the things that the lead article points out is that losing the subscription to a third party means that the links on the feed go to someone else's site. So you lose exposure for your products.

It's a risk you take with using downlodable media. If you don't control your downloads, there's a possibility they'll be hijacked. The tone of the article is unfortunate, but the "moral" is hard to argue with: Understand your risk before you embark on a marketing strategy.
posted by lodurr at 4:40 AM on December 15, 2005


Can too many lentils and pulses addle the brain? If only there was a vegan podcast I could subscribe to so I could find out.
posted by DrDoberman at 5:40 AM on December 15, 2005


I can't help but feel that the next step for bloggers will be legal action against people sharing unauthorized copies of audio files, coupled with making the files encrypted so that they're harder to copy - what one might term "digital rights management".

Oh.
posted by cillit bang at 5:51 AM on December 15, 2005


Asking users to make sure they got your feed from the right place seems a bit dubious to me; When people subscribe to a podcast through the iTunes store, they don't even see the feed URL (nevermind whether or not they'd be able to tell if it was podjacked or not).

It's hard to tell if Markus should have known what he was getting into with Podkeyword, since most of the pages on Podkeyword's site are broken (including the one that would describe its services). If the terms didn't include the fact that using Podkeyword's 'service' involves giving them control of the conduit by which users reach your content, then Markus absolutely has the right to be upset.
posted by sriracha at 5:52 AM on December 15, 2005


If god came up to you and offered, no joke no complications an Ipod if, and only if it meant the death of one single random unkown person would you do it?

Are we talking a 30 or a 60 gig model?

If the terms didn't include the fact that using Podkeyword's 'service' involves giving them control of the conduit by which users reach your content, then Markus absolutely has the right to be upset.

So you don't think Markus had some responsibility to learn for himself the terms and conditions of the free service that he'd signed up for? Given that he barely remembers signing up in the first place, and clearly had no idea whatsoever what the service actually did, it seems to me that the fault lies totally with Markus.

And if I were the other guy, I'd be getting my lawyers on the case to sue all those people who've alleged that he attempted to extort money for defamation -- starting with Markus.

Then I'd own his lentil-eating, podcasting ass for the rest of eternity...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:09 AM on December 15, 2005


Later, I did some work on a site that sold high-end coffee machines. The owner of the business was feverishly zealous about chasing down stolen content.

Not coffeegeek, by any chance?

Mark Prince always used to make me laugh, given how anal he was about people 'stealing' his images, while at the same time using an avatar to represent himself that he'd appropriated from South Park.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:14 AM on December 15, 2005


in the next days-of-our-blogs, will Erik Marcus get peeved with Robin Good for re-posting his article with loads of ads sprinkled generously throughout, and lucking out with a high traffic link-in from Metafilter? Tune in and see!
posted by dabitch at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2005


PeterMcDermott: Not coffeegeek, by any chance?

Mark Prince always used to make me laugh, given how anal he was about people 'stealing' his images, while at the same time using an avatar to represent himself that he'd appropriated from South Park.
Hmm....the name rings a bell -- that might have been one of the guys he was upset about. These folks were big on the "value added content" as a site-draw, and were always concerned about someone stealing the content. But they were also really hot about people "stealing" things like general ideas for layouts, or the "feel" of a logo. Very thin-skinned about it. I guess it paid off; they doubled revenue every year and were doing something like $3M a year (from starting with a $10/mo website) last time I knew. (I will say no more about these guys in public, sorry. I do have some discretion....)
posted by lodurr at 7:01 AM on December 15, 2005


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