A Cast By Any Other Name...
According to Wired News's Listening Post blog, Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to Podcast Ready claiming that the terms "Podcast Ready" and "myPodder" infringe on Apple's trademarks, and that they cause confusion among consumers. 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 know that "podcast" is in the dictionary now, and that Apple likely has little hope of claiming it, but who wants to fight it? Especially when it's not such a hot name anyway. Of course the term is relatively well known, but we are in the very early days of the medium. Changing it now will be a lot easier than changing it in a few years. I realize that changing the term unilaterally may make me seem like a kook. And I haven't done a thorough trademark search on netcast, so it may be even more encumbered than podcast (although CBS is using it and I think they have a few lawyers). I do think it's time to take a stand. Apple didn't invent podcasts. Podcasts don't require an iPod. iTunes isn't the only way to subscribe to podcasts. Maybe a name change will help people understand that.
What do you think? Cast your vote in the poll to the left or leave a comment here.