Today, millions of people listen to online podcasts from their favorite comedians. Podcasts have been around since 2004, initially to supply non-music programming for iPods. Apple later started offering podcasts through downloads via iTunes in 2005. As the popularity of smartphones and tablets has eliminated the need for downloads, sites like SoundCloud now offer instant listening on the Web and via smartphone apps. But, it turns out that podcasts could be in peril, due to a newly emerging patent lawsuit.
The basic patent troll business model consists of getting a patent, suing a business that can't afford to pay for legal defense, and then negotiate nuisance settlements. It's easy and lucrative. The problem for company PersonalAudio is that it sued Adam Carolla, of "Loveline" and "The Man Show" fame – an outspoken celebrity.