Adam Carolla vs. Patent Trolls, the Government, NPR, Salon, and more!

"There's a lot of people out there whose job it is to be offended for other people," says Adam Carolla, comedian and host of the Adam Carolla Show podcast. "They're like, 'Hey, these are opinions people disagree with!' It's like, 'Hey, United States there, buddy. It's just one big pile of opinions that people disagree with.'"

Reason TV sat down with Carolla in his Glendale warehouse/podcast studio to discuss a lawsuit he's facing from a so-called "patent troll" who claims intellectual ownership over the idea of "a system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence." In other words, the company claims to own the very idea of podcasting, despite never having produced a podcast itself.

Carolla, whose show set a Guinness Book World Record for most downloaded podcast of all time, is a natural target for the patent troll, but Carolla believes that if he goes down, the entire future of podcasting may be at stake. So he's started a "Save Our Podcasts" campaign to fight back.

"We were just sort of number one on their shakedown list, and I'm just assuming they'd just get to everyone who was in the top 1000 on iTunes eventually," says Carolla (1:46). "We sort of felt like, well, it'd be nice for our podcasting brothers not to give them 'X' amount of dollars... When terrorists take hostages, if you start negotiating with them, they just start taking more camera crews. We just figured we'd save the next camera crew. We'll take the duct tape and the zip ties."

Carolla even made a recent trip to Washington, D.C. to discuss patent reform with a Congessional committee. But he left underwhelmed by the experience.

"I got a call about an hour later that said, '[Sen. Patrick] Leahy shot it down,'" says Carolla (4:23). "It gave me renewed hope in the system and how one man could make a difference. Oh wait... it was a total waste of time." 

In addition to fighting off patent trolls, Carolla has also been busy shooting an independent film, working on his  Spike TV show To Catch a Contractor, and recently released his third bestselling book, President Me: The America That's in My Head. He sounded off on several of the topics covered in that book, such as his disgust with Los Angeles ("this town is trashy" - 7:08) and comedians being pressured to issue fake apologies (10:25).

He also calls out online media outlets for constantly engaging in ambush interview techniques, pointing to recent encounters with NPR and Salon as examples (11:45).

"There's not a lot of people who disagree with them who are willing to even talk to them anymore because of the ambush nature of what they do now," he says. "There's sort of nothing in it for the person who's being interviewed by anymore, because all they're going to do is try to make you look like a bigoted, sexist, xenophobic whatever."

The interview concludes with Carolla discussing the various political labels that commentators have attached to him and why he considers himself "mostly libertarian" (14:43).

"You bring up the topic, I'll give you the answer" says Carolla. "For me, if you go, 'Would you like to lower taxes? Yes. Are you OK with guys having a pot plant in their backyard? Yes. Would you like government smaller? Yes.' I think when you're done with many of these questions, you'll probably end up with libertarian."

Approximately 17 minutes. Interview by Zach Weissmueller. Edited by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Alex Manning, Will Neff, Carlos Gutierrez, and Garcia. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Adam Carolla is a national treasure.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I could listen to him talk about participation trophies for hours.

  • Paul.||

    "I've intellectually sized you up, sir, and you're more of a beaded curtain man..." -Adam Carolla to caller who wanted to know how to build a pocket door.

  • Jordan||

    Hmm. Maybe I'm a beaded curtain man, as well, because I have no idea what the hell a pocket door is.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It's what you walk through to get to your Pocket Fisherman.

  • ||

    The Independents should invite him to be a guest.

  • WTF||

    That would be awesome.

  • Idle Hands||

    They probably couldn't afford him.

  • ||

    ...there's always Kennedy.

  • Idle Hands||

    you just made my case.

  • Paul.||

    They should invite him to host.

    Boom, I said it.

  • Specail Sauce||

    If any of you haven't had the pleasure of listening to his interview with Gavin Newsom (Lieutenant Governor, CA) please take some time to do so. It's the most epic takedown of a Progressive politician in the past decade. He literally destroys him. If Newsom had any self respect he would have resigned after that interiew, quietly left his family, and gone into hiding... forever.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Jus for fun, here's that interview. (Runtime 1:07:50)

  • Paul.||

    Yep. It was gold.

  • ||

    What a bunch of losers NPR are for pulling that on him. Too incompetently funny.

  • ||

    NPR has really gone of the rails.

    I think the moment they jumped can be traced to Fresh Air when Terry Gross freaked out in an interview with Monica Lewinsky.

  • ||

    One thing that is funny is i only listen to NPR for like 10 to 20 min a day and for the past 2 months I can almost guarantee I will hear at least one clip about Global Warming.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    NPR was off the rails when I first became interested in poitics, back when Nixon resigned.

  • DrAwkward||


  • Marianna||

    I love the dig about Villaraigosa's future:

    "Hey, somebody's gotta fail that Bar..."


  • nancy4225||

    Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out

  • wwhorton||

    Shocker, Leahy shot it down.

    So, this in a nutshell what's wrong with patent/copyright law. Here's a quick and obvious fix: only the creator can own the rights. That's the way it was meant to be anyway.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Ugh, this "patent troll" issue. The people Carolla's dealing with aren't patent trolls. Sure, they're using a fundamentally broken patent system to extract money from people, but they're the originator of the patent in question. They didn't buy the patent with the intent to sue for money, which is the definition of a patent troll.

    The patent holder is basically suing over an audio player "playlist"-type setup where several episodes of a show can be accessed/distributed sequentially in an audio player application. Obviously the patent system is busted when something like that can be leveraged to sue people for money, but that's not a necessary setup for podcast distribution or a podcast player on a website. Podcasting itself is not in peril like Carolla constantly claims. (That wouldn't even be possible for the richest company, sue-happy in the world.)

    Apple already settled with the patent holder (a fact Carolla and many various members of the Ace Broadcasting family have gotten wrong on numerous occasions) over the iTunes player implementation. Other podcasters can avoid this problem by just... not having a multi-episode podcast player with a playlist hosted on their site. Make each player play a single episode. Bam, you're done.

    Carolla says he's done with podcasting if he loses this court case. I don't see how he could possibly win unless he SOMEHOW forces a fundamental legal change in our patent system. I don't see it happening.

  • Kevin47||

    The definition of a patent troll is a company that profits simply by enforcing patents, as opposed to actually producing a good or service. This company meets that definition.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    By your definition, a "patent troll" is someone who owns a patent they did not buy who then sues others who are in breach of that patent. Basically, everyone who defends their intellectual property rights in court is a patent troll? I don't think that definition works.

    It may be the (extreme) libertarian position that the very concept of intellectual property is nonsensical (and I'm not even saying I disagree with that position), but this is the busted-ass system we've got. I don't see how Carolla is going to change the system with his lawsuit, especially when he gets so many basic facts about the case wrong. And as a Carolla fan, that scares me, because he's said he's finished podcasting if he loses in court.

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