Last week, many fan-created podcasts that focus on Major League Baseball teams disappeared from the iTunes Store. It was assumed by many that the removal of these fan ‘casts was prompted by takedown requests from Major League Baseball. Outrage ensued in the podcasting and journalism communities. Most (if not all) of the shows that were removed from iTunes have since been reinstated. And while there haven’t been any official explanations on behalf of Apple or Major League Baseball, the reason the initial takedowns occurred has proven to be a cautionary tale for anyone producing an “unofficial fan podcast.”
While it’s hard to say exactly what happened during last week’s takedowns, it looks like they happened thru a combination of miscommunications and standard operating procedures; MLB sent a bunch of requests to Apple because MLB felt those ‘casts were infringing on its intellectual property. Apple responded in standard fashion by hiding those shows from search results within the iTunes Store. MLB wasn’t necessarily asking Apple to remove the offending shows, just to alert those shows that they need to change their names or artwork to conform with MLB’s rules. The Internet got mad, causing a wave of negative criticism to land on MLB. MLB attempted to clarify its position with Apple, causing Apple to return the previously hidden shows to the iTunes Store.