From Podcast to Netcast

8 Oct ’06

Leo Laporte is quite rightly making waves over Apple’s muckraking about ‘pod’ trademark issues, and has been advocating a change in name from ‘podcast’ to ‘netcast’ – doing it himself for his very popular family of podcasts netcasts. I’ve no idea whether this act of digital disobedience will amount to anything, but I admire the heck out of it, and hope it gets traction.

Oddly enough, Marketwatch reports that Laporte is planning to trademark ‘netcast’. I say odd for a couple of reasons: first, Leo seems pretty squarely in the user rights camp, and also seems to be trying to start a movement. I don’t really see how trademarking a nascent term is going to fuel viral acceptance. Second, the story reports that the cost of the effort will be approximately $30,000, and that fundraising efforts are underway. $30,000??? This is orders of magnitude more than the cost of registering in Canada. I assume they’re hunkering down for a contentious process. Is that really a sensible use of limited resources?

Also, while I like the idea of a change, I’m not sure ‘netcast’ is the right word – it doesn’t really roll off the tongue, and in TWiT 71 (video here; soon to be on TWiT site), recorded at Podcast Netcast Expo, the TWiT audience seemed pretty much unanimously against it. “Net” is simply starting to sound very 1995; very circa Yahoo IPO. (Sidenote: cool announcement in that TWiT – Denise Howell’s new Leo-Cast, This Week in Law – TWiL.)

How about “iCast”? It has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, a certain poke-Apple-with-a-stick-ness to it as well, and there’s likely very little risk of confusion with the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades.

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