This call for prior art is part of EFF's effort to bust a patent being asserted against podcasting. Read more about the initiative here. Help narrow US patent applications before they become patents HERE
This issued patent relates to a system for distributing serial episodes of media content over the Internet.
BASIC PATENT DATA:
- Patent Number: US 8,112,504
- Assignee: Personal Audio, LLC
- Prior Art Cutoff Date: Prior art must predate October 2, 1996
The patent generally relates to a system whereby a server provides media content to client devices over the Internet. On the server, the provider maintains a “compilation file,” which is essentially a list of available media files. The compilation file generally includes the URL for each available media file in a series and may also include descriptive text. This compilation file may be static, such as a simple web page with links to each available file to which new files are added, or may be customized for a particular user, perhaps only showing them content from feeds to which they have subscribed.
The claim that has been asserted against podcasters to date is Claim 31. This claim is agnostic as to the media type representing “episodes.” It can be images, text, video, or audio. Prior art can involve any media format. Some dependent claims specifically require audio, however, so prior art of that type is especially useful.
Claim 31: Apparatus for disseminating a series of episodes represented by media files via the Internet as said episodes become available, said apparatus comprising:
- one or more data storage servers,
- one or more communication interfaces connected to the Internet for receiving requests received from remotely located client devices, and for responding to each given one of said requests by downloading a data file identified by a URL specified by said given one of said requests to the requesting client device,
one or more processors coupled to said one or more data storage servers and to said one or more communications interfaces for:
storing one or more media files representing each episode as said one or more media files become available, each of said one or more media files being stored at a storage location specified by a unique episode URL;
from time to time, as new episodes represented in said series of episodes become available, storing an updated version of a compilation file in one of said one or more data storage servers at a storage location identified by a predetermined URL, said updated version of said compilation file containing attribute data describing currently available episodes in said series of episodes, said attribute data for each given one of said currently available episodes including displayable text describing said given one of said currently available episodes and one or more episode URLs specifying the storage locations of one or more corresponding media files representing said given one of said episodes; and
employing one of said one or more communication interfaces to:
- (a) receive a request from a requesting client device for the updated version of said compilation file located at said predetermined URL;
- (b) download said updated version of said compilation file to said requesting client device; and
- (c) thereafter receive and respond to a request from said requesting client device for one or more media files identified by one or more corresponding episode URLs included in the attribute data contained in said updated version of said compilation files.
REPRESENTATIVE PRIOR ART: Examples of prior art include the prior art identified on the face of the patent and Deb Kumar Roy (June 1995), NewsComm: A Hand-Held Interface for Interactive Access to Structured Audio, available at http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/60444/33214083.pdf?sequence=1
QUESTION: Have you seen any additional prior art (published before October 2, 1996) that describes a system like the one in Claim 31?
We are interested in any prior art that describes accessing a series of media files organized as episodes, tracks, installments, or the like, through the use of “compilation” data that (a) available to be downloaded by a client device, and (b) updated to describe the media files that are currently available. We are particularly interested in prior art where this “compilation” data includes both URLs for the individual media files, and some other displayable text describing each available episode/track/installment.
If you do know prior art, please submit evidence of that prior art as an answer below. Please submit only one piece of prior art per answer below. We welcome multiple prior art proposals from the same individual, but please create separate answers for each one so the community can vet each individual piece of prior art independently.
For details about what makes good prior art, please see our FAQ. Once you have submitted prior art, check back soon to see if the Ask Patents community has chosen your prior art as a candidate to submit to the United States Patent & Trademark Office. If you'd like to contribute in another way, please vote or comment on submissions made below. And we welcome you to post your own request for prior art if you know of another questionable patent or patent application. Thanks for participating!