Welcome to the 43rd episode of the Mediatwits podcast, this time with Mark Glaser and the Rachel Sklar as co-hosts. Sklar is a writer and social entrepreneur, and is filling in for Rafat Ali. She is back from SXSW and slowly recovering from the interactive, music and film festival. The big news this week is Pew’s annual State of the News Media report, which painstakingly explains how people are consuming news (more and more on mobile) and where the digital ad revenues are going (mainly to tech companies and not traditional media companies). Special guest Amy Mitchell was one of the Pew researchers who worked on the report, and she explains that Twitter and Facebook were growing but still only referred 9 percent of traffic to news sites.

We also looked in-depth at Yahoo’s recent patent lawsuit against Facebook, timed perfectly before Facebook’s upcoming IPO. Special guest Edward Weisz is a longtime patent attorney, and Brad Plumer is a business reporter at the Washington Post. They explain how patent law works, the reasons for inventors taking out patents, and the difficulty that startups have in going up against established companies like Yahoo that have a 1,000+ patent hoard. Even former Yahoo developers are upset that Yahoo has decided to sue Facebook, and recently Facebook decided to buy 750 patents from IBM to help defend itself. Should patent law be reformed for software?

Check it out!


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Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio’s Music Alley.

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Rachel Sklar

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:


0:20: Co-host Rachel Sklar recovering from Austin

2:10: Rachel’s Top 3 bands heard at SXSW: Delta Rae, The Midgetmen, Tournament of Hearts

4:30: Rundown of topics on the show

Pew’s State of the News Media

5:55: Special guest Amy Mitchell from the Pew Research Center

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Amy Mitchell

7:40: People are getting more news on mobile platforms than ever

10:00: News orgs aren’t figuring out how to monetize increased mobile use

13:40: Mitchell: We will continue to survey on social network use

15:20: Rachel’s Snooki moment

Yahoo sues Facebook

17:50: Special guests Edward Weisz and Brad Plumer

20:50: Are Yahoo’s patents too broad?

23:20: Former Yahoo developer Andy Baio upset about the lawsuits

Edward Weisz

26:40: Rachel: Startup community views Yahoo as patent troll

29:00: Plumer: Facebook has thin amount of patents, needs to beef them up

31:45: Weisz: Much more difficult to find patents related to software

34:30: What really happened in Yahoo’s patent negotiation with Facebook?

37:15: UPDATE: Facebook bought 750 patents from IBM to help defend itself against lawsuits.

More Reading

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Brad Plumer

State of the News Media: Newspapers Need Initiative, Innovation and Investment at MediaShift

Newspapers: Building Digital Revenues Proves Painfully Slow from PEJ

State of the News Media: Key Findings from PEJ

Digital: News Gains Audience but Loses Ground in Chase for Revenue

Yahoo sues Facebook. Are software patents out of control? at Washington Post

Here are the 10 patents Yahoo is using to sue Facebook at VentureBeat

Software patents are impractical — unless we’ve got 2 million extra lawyers at Washington Post

A Patent Lie: How Yahoo Weaponized My Work at Wired

Yahoo’s Patent Suit Against Facebook is Business as Usual at Forbes

Yahoo’s Suit Against Facebook: A Quest for Self-Respect at BusinessWeek

Facebook Buys 750 IBM Patents to Boost Defenses at Bloomberg

Weekly Poll

Don’t forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about how you get your news on-the-go:

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+