By Tony Pittman – @tonypittman – http://twitter.com/tonypittman
On April 17, 2010, This Week in Tech chief, Leo Laporte expressed concerns about colleague, and friend, Jason Calacanis’ push to rapidly develop and grow his own podcast network site, titled “This Week In”. Leo runs a very successful podcasting network, based on the flagship show entitled “This Week in Tech”. The address for the network’s website is http://TWIT.TV . Jason has been a guest on Leo’s network many times. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of Jason Calacanis until he started appearing on TWiT.
Not many would argue that “This Week in…” prompts those in the technology media space to think of Leo’s flagship show and his network. Still, Leo did acknowledge that he does not own the “This Week In” trademark. In fact, he has made reference to “borrowing” it from a show about baseball.
So, when Jason, a friend and colleague of Leo, came and asked about doing some shows that carried the title “This Week In…” in front of them, Leo allegedly said “yes”. I believe Jason started out doing “This Week in Startups”, a show about how to start up new tech ventures – a topic not too similar to what is normally covered on Leo’s TWiT network. So, things were going swimmingly, it seems, until Jason took things too far and started launching This Week In shows that got more and more similar top topics covered by Leo, including “This Week In Android”, “This Week In iPad”, and “This Week In Gadgets”.
To me, the analogy is like a good friend or relative asking if they can borrow your car. In most cases, the answer would be “yes”. But, if a friend was to ask me to borrow the car, and then take my “yes” as clearance for them to drive it on a 3,000 mile cross-country excursion (taking advantage of my openness and trust), then I would have a major issue.
So, I feel for Leo in this situation. Does Jason have the legal right to do what he did? It appears so. Should he have done it? I don’t think so. Personally, I don’t think he should have even asked Leo about the use of “This Week In”, putting Leo in the position of having to tell a friend and colleague “no, don’t do that”.
Disclaimer: I don’t know Leo or Jason personally. This position is based entirely on outside observation. Jason defends his position here.