An Apple patent (number 8180895) for managing podcasts has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Improved techniques that facilitate the use of podcasts are disclosed. The improved techniques can pertain to publishing, hosting, accessing, subscribing, managing, organizing, searching, browsing, transferring, and/or playing podcasts.
According to one aspect, tags are embedded into syndication feeds (e.g., RSS feeds) that may be made available for distribution by an online media store to facilitate the management of podcasts. Such tags can include a block tag that may be embedded into a syndication feed to indicate whether the feed is to be blocked from being included in the online media store.
According to another aspect, management of podcasts may be facilitated by other mechanisms. In accordance with one embodiment, a user may challenge the ownership of a podcast to block or remove a podcast from the online media store. In accordance with another embodiment, images may be stored to allow efficient retrieval of the corresponding episode(s) of a podcast.
Here's Apple's background on the invention: "A media player stores media assets, such as audio tracks, that can be played or displayed on the media player. One example of a portable media player is the iPod media player, which is available from Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, Calif. Often, a media player acquires its media assets from a host computer that serves to enable a user to manage media assets. In managing media assets, a user can create playlists for audio tracks. These playlists can be created at the host computer. Media assets within the playlists can then be copied to the media player. As an example, the host computer can execute a media management application to create and manage media assets. One example of a media management application is iTunes produced by Apple Computer, Inc.
"Podcasts are typically used to share content from websites. Podcasts are typically associated with Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, which use a lightweight XML format. A podcast can be organized into episodes much like a radio or television program. An interested person can subscribe to receive podcast episodes that are subsequently published. This is achieved by the interested person using their computer to access a podcast website that hosts the RSS feed. The interested person can then subscribe to the RSS feed such that their computer occasionally re-visits the podcast website to check for any new podcast episodes.
"Typically, if a new podcast episode is available, it is downloaded to the computer. Thereafter, the interested user can play the podcast episode at their computer in the same manner as other audio files (e.g., MP3 files). A utility program can be used to download the audio files to a portable media player (e.g., MP3 player). One example of such a conventional utility program is "iPodder," which is a small program that runs on one's computer to download audio files to one's portable media player.
"Unfortunately, podcasts are conventionally not easily managed. Podcasts often dynamically change as new episodes are released. Management of such dynamic media assets is complicated. Additionally, to the extent that a host computer desires to support a portable media player, the host computer needs to manage the transfer of podcast data to the portable media player. In addition, due to the increase in the number of podcasts that are available, it has become more difficult to manage and organize the podcasts. Thus, there is a need for techniques to manage and organize podcasts on computers."
"The inventors are David Lawrence Neumann, Anne Jones, Mike Wiese and David Heller.
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