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A 'podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication. The mode of delivery differentiates podcasts from other ways of accessing media files over the Internet, such as simple download or streamed webcasts: special client software applications known as podcatchers (e.g., iTunes, Zune, Juice, and Winamp) are used to automatically identify and download new files in a series when they are released, by accessing a centrally-maintained web feed that lists all files associated with the series. New files are thus downloaded automatically and stored locally on the user's computer or other device for offline use, giving simpler access to episodic content.

Researchers at the Center for Journalism and Communication Research at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA are proposing a four-part definition of a podcast: A podcast is a digital audio or video file that is episodic; downloadable; programme-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually via an automated feed with computer software.


The term "podcasting" was first mentioned by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2004 article, along with other proposed names for the new medium. It is a portmanteau of the words "pod"—derived from iPod, a brand of portable media player produced by Applemarker - and "broadcasting".

It has never been necessary, despite the source of the name, to use an iPod or any other form of portable media player to use podcasts; the content can be accessed using any computer capable of playing media files. To avoid a term suggestive of "iPod", some use the term netcast instead of podcast. A backronym has been posited where podcast stands for "Personal On Demand broadCAST".


Podcasting began to catch hold with the public in late 2004, though during the 1998–2001 dot-com era there were multiple "podcasts" done by major companies, such as Real Networks and Many individuals and groups contributed to the emergence and popularity of podcasts.

The most common audio file format used is MP3.



The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting
On February 5, 2005, Shae Spencer Management LLC of Fairport, New Yorkmarker filed a trademark application to register PODCAST for an "online prerecorded radio program over the internet". On September 9, 2005, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application, citing Wikipedia's podcast entry as describing the history of the term.

As of September 20, 2005, known trademarks that attempted to capitalize on podcast include: Podcast Realty, GuidePod, PodGizmo, Pod-Casting, MyPod, Podvertiser, Podango, ePodcast, PodCabin, Podcaster, PodShop, PodKitchen, Podgram, GodPod and Podcast.


On September 26, 2006, it was reported that Apple Computermarker started to crack down on businesses using the acronym "POD", in product and company names. Apple sent a cease-and-desist order that week to Podcast Ready, Inc., which markets an application known as "myPodder". Lawyers for Apple contended allegedly that the term "pod" has been used by the public to refer to Apple's music player so extensively that it falls under Apple's trademark cover. It was speculated that such activity was part of a bigger campaign for Apple to expand the scope of its existing iPod trademark, which included trademarking "IPODCAST", "IPOD", and "POD". Podcast Trademark Controversy [Updated] On November 16, 2006, Apple Trademark Department returned a letter claiming Apple does not object to third party usage of "podcast" to refer to podcasting services and that Apple does not license the term(s).


As of February 2007, there were 24 attempts to register trademarks containing the word "PODCAST" in United States, but only "PODCAST READY" from Podcast Ready, Inc. was approved.

See also


see Podcatchers for a more comprehensive list of podcatching solutions.

Syndication protocols


  1. Oxford University Press | Podcast
  2. Ben Hammersley: "Audible revolution", The Guardian, 12 February 2004.
  3. - What is PodCasting?
  4. Common Craft's video "Podcasting in Plain English"
  5. Creative's definition of the term podcasting
  6. Podcasting dictionary
  7. PTO Letters of Protest: The "PODCAST" Paradigm
  8. Podcast trademark rejection cites Wikipedia
  9. Podcast Trademark Gold {PTG} Rush
  10. Podcast Ready
  11. Apple cracks down on use of the word 'pod'
  12. Apple letter.
  13. List of US podcast trademarks

External links

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