Adam Carolla remembers the commercials he watched as a boy on the days he stayed home from school.
Learn to drive a big rig truck. Be a dental hygienist in just a few weeks. In short–get off the couch and get to work.
Now, the podcaster says that same commercial block teems with lawyers peddling class action lawsuits and other ways to get paid without putting down the remote.
Carolla is seeing that all-American story up close and personal. His legal fight with Personal Audio, the so-called “Patent Troll” suing him for allegedly trampling on its podcast innovation, is giving him a crash course in both the legal system and how journalism works.
“There’s probably some algorithm–for every 10 people you employ you get sued 1.27 times every four years,” he says. “It’s the new America we live in.”
Last week, Personal Audio sent out a press release saying Carolla refused to dismiss the lawsuit and continues to ask his fans for their fiscal support.
The fact of the matter is Adam Carolla is asking people to donate money to him for a lawsuit he no longer needs to defend,” says Brad Liddle, CEO of Personal Audio, in a statement.
Carolla says that’s misleading, adding that none of the news outlets reporting it contacted him for clarification or a rebuttal.
“[Personal Audio doesn’t] need my permission to drop the case. I can’t stop them from dropping the case,” he says, adding reporters should put their thinking caps on before hitting publish. Also, Carolla says the judge in the case warned against discussing details of the seat in public.
Personal Audio did agree to avoid a trial altogether at first, assuming Carolla would pony up $3 million. He refused.
Now, it’s more than just a single podcaster battling for his future. Fellow podcast giants, including Joe Rogan and Marc Maron, are teaming up with Carolla to fund his fight. The trial is expected to begin next month in Texas.
Carolla says his fundraising efforts to battle Personal Audio’s suit have netted roughly $500,000 from fans eager for his side to emerge victorious. He adds he’s personally “in the hole for six figures” so far. And he vows “full transparency and accounting” when the lawsuit smoke clears.
Meanwhile, the legal fees keep piling up.
“There’s a spigot that shoots quarters out of it that never gets turned off … until the case is dropped,” he says.
Carolla’s ultimate goal? Invalidate the patent in question.
“We’re trying to clear the path for podcasting in general,” he says. The patent “has to be poured into Al Capone’s vault, sealed with cement, never to rear its ugly head again.”
This week, the comedian is in the editing bay prepping Road Hard, a new indie comedy powered, in part, by a crowdfunding campaign held earlier this year.
“I sit staring at the same jokes over and again. I hate every one of them … but [test] audiences have responded well,” he says of the film’s progress.
“All I can do is deliver to the people … a funny, 90-minute low-budget indie film. If you liked my last one, you’ll like this one,” he says, referring to the well-received sports comedy The Hammer.
Carolla admits to being frustrated over the current suit, but in 2014 America it’s part of the game.
“For me, it’s onward and upward. I have to be more successful now,” he says. And he offers a gentle warning to Personal Audio about the potential PR fallout from its suit.
“I tell jokes for a living … they sue people for a living. Picking on the guy with the microphone isn’t the greatest strategy,” he says.