This is a PSA to all my fellow RPG podcasters.
There is a website out there called RPGPodcasts.com. You may have heard of it. You may have even submitted your show to their site. They aggregate RPG podcasts on their site. Once you submit your show, new episodes will show up on their site automatically.
What you may not have realized, as there is no mention of this when you submit your podcast to their site, is that they also have their own podcast feed on iTunes. If you submitted your show to their site, then there’s a very good chance that they are reposting your episodes in their own iTunes feed.
I submitted my own show, Game Master’s Journey, to the site, thinking it might get me some more exposure. I had no idea they would repost my episodes into their own “podcast”. The only way I even found out about it was that whenever I would search for Game Master’s Journey in iTunes, their podcast would also show up. Here is their show on iTunes. Out of curiosity, I checked it out, recognizing it from the website. I was surprised to see my newest episode in their feed.
This bothered me because I don’t want my show in their feed. I want people subscribing to my feed to get my show, not someone else’s. Not to mention the fact I never gave permission for them to redistribute my show. This is a breach of copyright law, plain and simple.
I set out to get my show removed. This was not easy to do. The only contact information on their site is an email address. I emailed this address back in August, and after two emails got a response. I was told my podcast would be removed from their site and iTunes feed. I checked over the next few weeks, and it did seem to be removed. However, now it’s back, as you can see in the image below.
Their site has no terms of service, and nowhere does it disclose that our shows will be posted in their own iTunes feed. You can see what little they do say here.
If you produce an RPG podcast, and you’ve submitted your show to their site, I urge you to check their feed on iTunes next time you release an episode. Even if you didn’t submit your show, you might want to check. I also urge you to email RPGpodcasts.com and request they remove your show from the iTunes feed. You can also report this breach of copyright to iTunes.
UPDATE: If you do check their iTunes feed for your show, you'll want to check a day or so after you release a new episode. They only have about 20 episodes in their feed at any given time, so if you check a few days after your latest episode comes out, you may not see it there because it was replaced with newer content.
If you’re wondering why this is a big deal, there are a few reasons. Obviously you want your listeners subscribed to your feed and coming to your website, not subscribed to an aggregate feed on iTunes. If you track your downloads like I do, then any downloads from the RPGPodcasts feed won’t be counted. Also, having your episodes showing up in multiple feeds in iTunes can potentially cause problems for you in regards to the rating and ranking of your show in iTunes, as iTunes has no way of knowing which feed is the real home of your episode. Finally, whoever is behind all this has ignored my requests to remove my show, so they can’t claim ignorance. If enough of us complain about this to RPGPodcasts.com and complain to iTunes, maybe something will be done about this.
UPDATE: I have just received a response from David. He says that he complied with my earlier request (which he did), but has since handed over operation of the site to "other parties" who pushed a backup of the database to the live site. He says his login still works and he's removing my show now.
This doesn't change the fact that what they're doing is unethical and illegal. I had to waste a lot of time and jump through some hoops to even find who to contact about this. Though he says he's not involved with the site anymore, David's is the only contact info on the site. It also doesn't change the fact that they're still posting other shows in their iTunes feed without permission. I contacted four other shows back in August when I first became aware of this, and not one of them knew their episodes were being reposted in the RPGPodcasts feed.
UPDATE: I just received an email from iTunes saying that they're removing RPGPodcasts from their podcast directory. I'm glad now that I took the time to report them.