Pod, poddy, podd

Apple has got ever so touchy about websites using the term podcast more liberally than its claims to trademark registration would allow. Cease and desist letters have been sent to the likes of Mypodder and Podcastready by the company, according to reports in Wired and The Register.

There are, of course, some bloggers that claim that the term podcast actually has nothing to do with Apple’s brand of mp3 player and that it originates in the phrase “publish-on-demand”-cast. Yeah, right!

Nevertheless, there is no mention of Apple in the dictionary.com definition of podcast: “a Web-based audio broadcast via an RSS feed, accessed by subscription over the Internet” or “to deliver a Web-based audio broadcast via an RSS feed over the Internet to subscribers”. Moreover, despite the term having an obvious etymology in a bastardisation of iPod and broadcast, neither an iPod nor over-the-air broadcasting is need to make or listen to a podcast.

Mark Ramsey of Hear 2.0 reckons it’s time we ditched the term podcast anyway, too few people “get it” he says, and the word should be changed to “audiomag” or something similar. This assertion is made despite the fact that the Ricky Gervais Show is mentioned in the Guiness Book of Records as the most popular podcast, presumably that will change soon with the launch of Sciencebase’s very own Geordie Boffin Podcast. Well, we can all dream, can’t we?

Bizarrely as ever, The Register includes a list of podified words in its report: antipodean, cephalopod, chiropodist, monkeypod, podgy and uropod. They overlooked arthropod, podiatrist, peapod, monopod…some of which point to the fact that pod, the prefix, has its etymology in the Greek word for foot. Maybe it’s time to give it the boot and go with Ramsey’s suggestion, or better still, we could rename them “blogcasts”, no doubt that would open yet another can of bad applies as the trademark owner of that term would more than likely kick up a fuss too.

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