We live in a world in which making a name for yourself is sometimes best done through DIY exposure, and you might have a friend or two who’ve clawed their way to Internet fame (or, at the very least, a job). But podcasters have been in danger of losing lots of cash thanks to a company that claims to have patented the technology to air audio online. Luckily, a new law has been proposed that would protect podcasters and other tech innovators from getting sued by “patent trolls,” and you can help support it.
Called the Saving High-Tech Innovators From Egregious Legal Disputes (or SHIELD) Act, this bad boy mandates that patent trolls (“non-practicing entities” who try to file ridiculous lawsuits claiming they were the first to patent something, like GIFs or Grumpy Cat memes, even though they don’t actually make or sell anything) pay defendants’ legal bills. And if you’ve ever had to sue your landlord for, like, not replacing the back wall of your apartment that blew away after Hurricane Sandy, you know those legal fees can be pretty pricey, so chances are these trolls looking to make a quick buck will be deterred.
And this bill comes at a pretty significant moment in Our Faire Internet History, since current patent troll Personal Audio says they were the first to invent the technology behind podcasting in 1998, before Steve Jobs and his people invented the Real Internet. So if you don’t want to see your favorite podcasters get sued and/or shut down, contact your representatives and tell them to get off their asses and support the SHIELD Act (which you can do pretty easily here).