TMZ reported that podcast company Cadence13 and Chris Hardwick, of the ID10T website, are having a legal battle involving money. It appears that TMZ has both sides of the situation.
According to TMZ, Cadence13 has filed a lawsuit against Chris Hardwick. Cadence13 claims that Chris Hardwick bowed out of a deal to produce a weekly podcast and failed to pay back the rest of his $1 million cash advance.
It appears that Chris Hardwick signed a two-year deal in 2018 to create four podcasts per month. Cadence13 claims that Chris Hardwick stopped making new episodes of the podcast in June of 2018.
The timing coincides with a Medium post written by Chloe Dykstra in which she reveals the emotional and sexual abuse she experienced from someone she used to date.
She didn’t name the person in her Medium article, but described the person as someone who was 20 years her senior and who went from being a “podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company.” That description could fit Chris Hardwick.
Cadence13 claims that it paid Chris Hardwick $1 million in advances, and says that he has not paid back the full amount after stopping his ID10T podcast. It appears that Cadence13 has recouped about $394K in ad revenue, and that they are suing Chris Hardwick for the remaining $606K.
A lawyer for Chris Hardwick contacted TMZ. The lawyer claims that Cadence13 owes Chris Hardwick $3 million and filing their lawsuit is their attempt to try and avoid fulfilling their obligations to pay him. The lawyer also claims that Chris Hardwick has delivered over 30 podcast episodes since October of 2018 and hasn’t been paid a dime.
In addition, the lawyer for Chris Hardwick says that the law firm representing Cadence13 in its lawsuit is the same one that “conducted a comprehensive investigation and exonerated Chris of the baseless allegations of (emotional and sexual abuse) referenced in the filing.” The lawyer says Chris Hardwick and his team will “take all appropriate steps to recover the millions of dollars which C13 contractually owes him.”
Earlier this month, Chris Hardwick announced the end of an era for Nerdist podcast. It has been rebranded as ID10T with Chris Hardwick, and will no longer be affiliated with Nerdist Industries. Instead, the ID10T with Chris Hardwick podcast will become part of the ID10T company that Chris Hardwick launched to sell collectible goods and host live events.
There is a rather lengthy description of ID10T with Chris Hardwick on iTunes:
I am Chris Hardwick. This podcast used to be called Nerdist. Now it is not. It is still basically just me talking about stuff and things with my two nerdy friends Jonah Ray and Matt Mira when they’re available, and usually someone more famous and smarter than all of us.
Swearing is fun, so we still do that occasionally. I hope you like this new iteration which is the same as before, but if a name hangs you up unhealthily I’m sure you will not hesitate to unfurl your rage not only in the ‘reviews’ section but also now on all the various social media platforms that have popped up since we started in 2010, effectively murdering blogs.
Hollywood Reporter interviewed Chris Hardwick about the rebrand. The Nerdist Podcast launched in February of 2010 and became the basis for Nerdist Industries, which built up a network of podcasts (and more). Nerdist Industries sold to Legendary Entertainment in 2012.
Chris Hardwick’s contract with Legendary Entertainment expired in 2017. He retains full ownership of The Nerdist Podcast and its library of episodes. But, Legendary Entertainment owns the name Nerdist. This explains the need for rebranding the podcast’s name, while keeping the content and style listeners have been enjoying.
The new name, ID10T, looked familiar to me. The About page on the ID10T company website reminded me of the meaning. “ID10T is a joke IT code that essentially means ‘user error’” You can probably work out how this code would be pronounced.
After a 45-day gag order required him to not speak about the settlement of the infamous podcast-patent troll lawsuit, Adam Carolla was finally able to discuss the matter on his show. Carolla, along with his usual cohosts and special guest legal counsel Mike August went over some details of the case. Here are some highlights:
- The so-called patent troll company, Personal Audio, sued Adam Carolla in a court district in East Texas known to be friendly to these types of lawsuits. Personal Audio also sued Apple under this patent in the same district and won to the tune of eight million dollars.
- Carolla’s team was spending about $100,000 per month in legal expenses during the lawsuit.
- Personal Audio stated its patent covers episodic content delivered via the Internet. The company sued NBC, CBS and Adam Carolla looking for royalty payments.
- The lawsuit was originally filed against Carolla in January 2013. It was scheduled to go to trial in September 2014. In July 2014, Personal Audio approached Carolla about dropping the suit because he had been successful in raising legal defense funds thru crowdsourcing as well as creating a lot of negative PR for Personal Audio by tying the name of the company to the term “patent troll.”
- Personal Audio initially filed their lawsuit against “Ace Broadcasting,” which isn’t a name officially used by Carolla. When they first tried to serve legal papers at Carolla’s studio they were turned away by Carolla’s staff for that very reason.
- At first, Carolla wasn’t concerned about the lawsuit as he believed he hadn’t done anything wrong. But Mike August was quick to explain that in patent suits, the burden of proof is shifted from the plaintiff to the defendant, causing the defendant to have to prove they didn’t violate the patent.
- In the papers served to Carolla, Personal Audio sent a 50-page, single-space document that was a copy of the patent with no further explanation of how the patent had been violated.
- The patent was originally granted in 1996 based on an idea to syndicate magazine articles online. In 2009, the holder of the patent applied for a sub-patent that would cover newer technologies such as podcasting. The sub-patent was approved in 2012, opening the door to these types of lawsuits.
- In the original lawsuit, Personal Audio demanded a payment of 3.5 million dollars. Mike August estimated that it’d cost 1.5 million to defend the case, and that’s why Carolla decided to fight the suit and turn to crowdsourcing for legal funds.
- According to Mike August, Carolla didn’t simply “settle” the lawsuit. Personal Audio dismissed the case because the company felt Carolla’s PR campaign was tainting the jury pool in East Texas which would make it harder for Personal Audio to win other lawsuits.
- Carolla’s team wanted Personal Audio to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice but they wouldn’t agree to that so the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that they can technically sue Carolla again for the same thing.
- Carolla had raised about $475,000 for his legal defense fund. Had he not accepted the dismissal, the lawsuit could’ve cost him more than a million dollars beyond what had already been raised.
- Carolla spent about $675,000 defending the case, so even with the crowdsourced funds, he’s still at a deficit over the case.
- CBS was sued on the same day as Carolla and the jury found CBS had infringed the patent and was ordered to pay 1.3 million dollars.
- As part of the terms of dismissing the case, Personal Audio had to publicly state that they wouldn’t file similar lawsuits against other podcasters that had publicly supported Carolla. Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick, Earwolf, Jay Mohr and Joe Rogan were specifically mentioned.
- Mike August believes that if Personal Audio had to do it all over again, they wouldn’t file another suit against Carolla as they’ve realized that there just isn’t enough money in podcasting to make these types of lawsuits worthwhile.
- Personal Audio had approximately ten different lawyers from three different firms working on the case. Carolla was using a single legal firm in Texas of three to five lawyers.
- Mike August states that the podcast patent only applied to Carolla’s website. Since the Carolla podcast is distributed thru multiple channels, this actually lowered the amount of damages Personal Audio could claim in the lawsuit.
Carolla wrapped up the discussion by saying, “I think we’ve struck a nice blow for podcasters. I think the water shall be safe, whether it’s this company, Personal Audio, or other companies that come after that. Which is really that… This is not the ATM that you guys think it is… Go sue somebody else.”
You can download or stream the entire episode thru the link at the top of this article (the lawsuit discussion starts at about 14:53). Keep in mind that The Adam Carolla Show does carry an explicit tag for colorful language.