Now that Apple's lawyers have scared the pants off of small entrepreneurs selling products like the Profit Pod and TightPod -- items that have nothing to with portable audio in any way, mind you -- it seems that the next targets are companies that have the audacity to use the word "podcast" in their names. Wired's Listening Post blog is reporting that Steve's legal eagles have sent one of those scary cease and desist letters to a company called Podcast Ready, whose premier product, myPodder, gives users an automated way to download 'casts to their portable devices. CEO Russel Holliman claims that he'd consider changing the name of the program if necessary, but seems to be justifiably reticent about rebranding his entire business, considering the fact that "podcast" may not be "owned" by Apple nor even a derivative of "iPod" in the first place. Robert Scoble -- whose own company, PodTech, may be at risk in this witch hunt -- has weighed in on the issue by suggesting that the tech community as a whole adopt other terms like "audiocast" and "videocast" (or alternately, "audcast" and "vidcast") to describe this type of content, while other folks feel that fighting Apple and generating a ton of negative press for Cupertino is the best solution. Our take? Apple should be happy that its golden goose is getting so much free publicity, and if it isn't, we know of several companies that probably wouldn't mind if zencast, zunecast, or sansacast became the preferred terminology.

Update: BBHub's own Russell Shaw delves into this issue a little further over at ZDnet, and finds that Apple is having trouble getting certain iPod-related phrases trademarked, including the word "iPodcasting."

Read- Apple's nastygram
Read- Scoble's take
[Via calacanis.com]

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With "pod" on lockdown, Apple goes after "podcast"