This American Life Doesn’t Get It

Jon Udell posts this very disappointing exchange between himself and the webmaster at This American Life. In a nutshell, TAL is asserting that Jon is violating their copyright by publishing an RSS feed that points to MP3s that they themselves host. This is exactly the same thing I’m doing with the WREK feeds I host. In my case, I have a close relationship with WREK (they recently put me and several alumni on a plaque honoring our service to the stations) so I can’t see them doing the same thing to me.

I wish WBEZ was still my local affiliate to which I was a donor. I’d write them a note of disappointment as a member. I will still write that note, but with a more tenuous relationship. Public radio wants to be perceived as different than commercial radio. If that’s their desire, getting legal and cease-and-desistish on people for linking back to their own files is the wrong way to do it. It’s absurd on a technical level, and dickheaded on a common sense and moral level. I’m slowly ceasing to think of the organization as “public radio” (in the sense of us all being in it together) and instead thinking them as another form of “corporate radio” (where the corporation is the CPB).

Really, who needs that anymore? I’ve been a deep supporter of and even a participant in public radio as an independent producer in my life, and even I am becoming an antagonist of them. Folks, when you are antagonistic to your supporters you create antagonism. As Colbert says, “You are (this close to being) dead to me.”

Thanks to EGC reader/listener Ken for the heads up on this issue.

Update: Now they’ve even asked him to take down the blog post cited above talking about the takedown notice. To me, that just compounds the cluelessness further and works me into more of a lather than I originally had. When I send them my email, I will post the text as a blog post.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

5 thoughts on “This American Life Doesn’t Get It”

  1. Ken Kennedy says:

    Thanks for the attribution, Dave! After reading Jon’s update (where he respects their request, but points the RSS feed instead to his blogpost as a subtle form of protest), I decided to submit the whole thing to BB. Cross your fingers…it’ll be interesting to see the ramifications as this continues to spread out across the Blogosphere. I agree with you 100%; they just don’t get it, and they’re alienating the very people who have historically supported them. I recently went 100% podcast in the car (with a new FM transmitter for my MP3 player), and I’m pleased as punch about it. No looking back.

  2. Lee says:

    I hear you on this. They are missing the point.

    I like to think that it’s due to some contract they signed with Audible that they now wish they hadn’t signed. The show is still really good.

  3. Ken Kennedy says:

    Wow…Jon Udell has dropped the entire original post from his blog, at WBEZ’s request. Kind of bizarre, and disappointing from Jon. I never expected to see him do something like that. It’s difficult to have a conversation when the original context of the discussion has disappeared.

  4. Lee Ragans says:

    Dave, I understannd where your coming from but I will admit to a bit of unclarity, here. I say it is their loss. I have chose creative commons to publish my writing as a method of advertising. Would I be happy to find someone else posting my work on thier site? Sure, as long as they abide by my license. I have taken steps to plan ahead. It seems like TAL has not.

    TAL certainly has a right to say, please stop using out show. Just as we have a right to not listen to it anymore. We live in a world that has changed and those that don’t take notice will be left behind.

    Audible was a good things years ago for a show that wanted distribution help, but it is no longer necessary. I would hope that TAL will wake up and see the sillieness of their actions. If they don’t someone else will rise to the occassion and fill in the gap left by the overwhelming silence that was there place in the podosphere.

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