Imagine this scenario: You’re an independent self-made internet guy. You’ve been slaving away for three years developing an app that makes people smell better. Work with me here–just a hypothetical.

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Your little project is taking off. You’ve been able to sell some ad space, and people are starting to buy your new “cologne app.” You’re making money for once. You’re able to rent a couple rooms in an office complex, hire a few developers, maybe someone to answer the phone. You can tell your dad your hard work and innovative spirit have started to pay off.

Now, imagine you’re a podcaster. Same grass-roots story and can-do attitude, just a slightly different medium. You’re listenership is growing, and you’re starting to think this may actually work. I don’t have to sell my house. Then, you get a letter in the mail, maybe an email with some bland but threatening verbiage and maybe a little implied palm-greasing language. Effectively, the letter is claiming patent violations, and the owner of said patent is requesting compensation.

This is what countless start-ups and big corporations alike have been putting up with years now. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry (for lack of a better term), and it’s suppressing technological innovation and undermining what makes America an OK place. It’s the dark world of patent trolling–a network of spineless vultures hell bent on easy money.

Recently, they’ve targeted podcasts; Adam Carolla and Marc Maron are among the growing list of internet broadcasters to feel the sting of this 21st Century scourge. The podcast troll attacking our beloved podcasts is  James Logan and his “intellectual property” is housed under a company called Personal Audio LLC. Here’s what his “invention” looks like on paper:

patent abstractPersonal Audio LLC is based in Texas. It’s merely a shell, and  James Logan is just a cog in a machine, a machine that has found shelter in the legal system of one small town. So Logan would probably only receive a fraction of any payoff that took place. It’s a patent trolling collective, and they’re highly organize, and shadowy as all get out.

How do I stop this leach from undermining my favorite pastime, you ask? Well, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) wants to challenge the patent in the US Patent Office. Its argument hinges on the ambiguity of Logan’s idea, and the fact that he failed to actually create any technology that podcasts utilize today.

So follow the link below. I think they want a little scratch to get this off the ground. But the cause is just, my friends: