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CDDB Shutting Down Media Jukebox 156

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the remember-when-cddb-was-cool? dept.
shaun writes: "According to this thread on the Media Jukebox Talkback site, CDDB is refusing connections from Media Jukebox until the Media Jukebox guys sign an "exclusive agreement" to use CDDB's database. Taking a shared public resource private has destroyed their karma, but what can be done?" Are grip and xmcd next? How do you enforce exclusivity for an open source program? Everyone should use FreeDB instead anyway: It's everything that was once good about cddb, including that little free part that made cddb itself the defacto standard before it got too big for its britches.
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CDDB Shutting Down Media Jukebox

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  • What we need is a local proxy for CD requests that users can install (and use with all the same software the cddb does). This proxy could then randomise the agent string (if required) and firstly search FreeDB and then CDDB if FreeDB aint got it.

    In the instance that FreeDB doesn't have the album in question then the proxy will automatically fill it in using the cddb info. Nothing wrong with that since they cant copyright the data - only protect the service.
  • www.cdindex.org is what you're looking for. It's flexible, open, and nice. Unfortunately, it's not terribly complete, and also (mostly because of that) doesn't have a very large database yet.
  • Another place to checkout with cdindex.org [cdindex.org] their services is better since it support CD collections better with support for different author & copyright information for each song. It's also XML based (nice buzz word), entries go though a verification stage, and it supports OGG Vorbis & MP3 "signature" lookup to automatically attach information to MP3s. The only player I'm aware of right now that supports it is freeamp.org [freeamp.org] but I imagine that others could if it was not for the exclusive licence.

    Also it's supported by a major online music provider e-Music.com [emusic.com] so I think it actually has a chance of sticking arount.

    subsolar

  • Ok then. Make a CDDB "ripping" util that dumps everything into a comma-delimited file, which is then porked into a "totally separate" util that reads the glorious file and shoves the data back into FreeDB. Stupid laws only need stupid workarounds.
  • Hi, I would like to submit the following tweak for DiscPlay 4, formerly owned by Obvion Systems now owned by iCast, under Windows 95/98.

    In the registry go to
    HKEY_USERS\xxxx\Software\Obvion Systems\DiscPlay\CurrentVersion\CDDB
    where "xxxx" must be replaced with the username logged in

    Change the entries at Server List and Server to:
    freedb.freedb.org
    for both values.

    Notice: I use *both* W98 and S.u.S.E. 6.4 and each have their own "Good Things"(TM) And I Payed Nothing For Either One.

    ---
  • Also... Microsoft's ows CDPLAYER.EXE uses the same algorithm to store CD/Track info in CDPLAYER.INI. CDDB (Escient) didn't invent that algorithm.
    ---
  • Get the length of all the tracks in frames

    Minor brain fart - these are track offsets, not track lengths.

  • I suspect you got a nice "gift" of junk mail...
    -----
  • If I enter 1 CD or 1000, it makes no difference: the fact that cddb accepts info from their users means it should made freely available. If they want to take the time to enter the data in themselves and then charge for it, fine. But don't you dare take the data I freely gave and slap your "license" on it. Your arguement rests on the thinking that 1 or 2 contributions are inconsequential. Thats pure BS. Lets assume for a second that I only enter in 2 CDs....but then 3000 people do the same thing. Thats 6000 CDs they didn't have to do!!

    My biggest gripe is that when cddb first started going, I thought it was a "no-strings attached" database...now I reget ever adding my CDs to them. To cddb: STOP being so greedy.


    --------
  • Was CDDB GPL'ed when it started or at some point during its life? If so, does that version contain this "encoding" in it?

    xmcd [unc.edu] the orginal cddb-client has AFAIK always been GPL and it still is. xmcd certainly includes the disc-id algorithm. Originally, the cddb server software was also GPL, but newer versions is not. The software FreeDB is running is based on the original GPLed software


  • What if they had no idea how popular and expensive it would be to run CDDB back when they started it?
    Well, it's not quite that simple. They (Escient, Inc.) didn't start it. It was started by a couple of guys working indpendently. Along came Escient, from the highly elite and well capitalized enclave of Carmel, Indiana, and bought these guys out. To quote Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes fame, "I don't know which is worse: that everyone has his price, or that the price is always so low. "

    When the data was added by the users, it was added under the guise that the service was and would remain free (of cost, of encumbrances like ads in one's CD software).

    I say let the market decide. The market is what will favor free software in the end anyway. I use FreeDB. Why shouldn't we all? It provides the exact same service and has fewer costs. I don't end up having to pay in one way or another for Escient's giant multi-story office complex that I pass on highway 65 now and then. Now, if they want to give me a little office in the corner somewhere with a fat pipe, a reasonable salary and I can read Slashdot all day, the market may sway me somewhat differently...
  • Though there are far greater injustices out there that need to be corrected, this is a good place to start.

    This isn't sarcasm, I just want to thank you for this sentiment. You are right, there are greater injustices that need to be solved, but you don't fix the world in one fell swoop.

    I think you are absolutely right that this is a perfect project to test the mettle of this community. Let's see how big of an impact we can make. Then we can realistically scale our efforts towards other 'good causes'.

  • Hi, please, don't use the web-based search. It's a "proof of concept". Nothing more.
  • I've been doing that for months as well. The only complaint I have is that often the CDDB entries are rather shoddy in quality, so it's good to check them for typos before sending them on.
  • I am a freeware developer. Why should I sign the commercial license agreement?

    In almost all cases, you should authorize the commercial license agreement - even if your application is distributed as freeware. Here's why:

    First, remember that the commercial license is still completely free of charge as long as you do not exceed 250,000 users registered with the CDDB2 service. If you deliver your application upon payment, or deliver your application as a shareware application where users voluntarily send you a fee, you are clearly a commercial developer and should sign the commercial license agreement. However, there is no charge if you stay under 250,000 users registered with CDDB.

    If you deliver your application for free ("freeware") but derive some indirect revenue such as banner ads on the web site where you are distributing your application, then your application is considered a commercial application by CDDB and you should authorize the commercial license agreement. However, again, you are not charged unless you exceed 250,000 users.

    If you deliver freeware, don't have banner ads, or any other way of deriving revenue from your user base, but there is a possibility you might do something to derive revenue in the future (emphasis mine), you should still sign the commercial license agreement. Again, this costs you nothing if you are under 250,000 users.

    ---clip---

    Once an application exceeds 250,000 users registered with the CDDB2 service, there is a modest licensing fee. Simply, our fee schedule is as follows:
    0 to 250,000 registered users - Free
    250,000 to 1 million registered users - $9,500US
    Each additional million registered users - $9,500US

    Talk about sweeping statements... so, if I write a free-as-in-speech CD player, it becomes popular and over 250,000 users register with it, I have to cough up a cool $9,500?!?
  • I'm one of the first people to agree that making money is a good thing. I like having a roof over my head, food in my belly, the ability to have luxury in my life, and all of this comes about because companies are making money.

    I think the element of this that really sticks in people's craw is the fact a good portion of the labor that went into cddb was volunteer with the idea that contributing that labor guaranteed free access to all the information. The correct way for cddb to handle this would have been to have clearly stated their business model, giving those who contributed the option to contribute knowing that they would eventually be paying for their own labor or to contribute to a different project.

    I also believe there are other ways for cddb to make money off of that information (which I don't mind them doing, I just mind them earning money off of the free labor from the very people who performed that labor).

  • Thanks for the plug, chow!

    We have been trying to enter a contract with CDDB for quite some time now, but disagree with some of the language in the contract. A deadline came and went Friday and, unfortunately, our CEO and the folks from Gracenote were unable to reach each other to discuss a continuance and the service was shutdown. We hope to have the issue resolved soon.

    Rick Fritz
    Software Developer
    J River, Inc.
  • by rdnzl (60280)
    That should be "TOO big for its britches..."

    nk
  • by erat (2665) on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:26AM (#822525)
    All annoyanced with CDDB aside, I question the ethics of taking information submitted by people around the globe and making it closed/proprietary.

    Did Network Solutions buy them when I wasn't looking? This sounds like something they would do...
  • if you go to d.net's website you'll see a lot of boosterism and cheerleading and attempting to get people interested in their stats and the competition. how is that my fault? sounds like you yourself have gone through the stats checking phase.

    while their first achievement was cool, ultimately, the work that was being done was repetitive and of no use to anyone. cracking CSS keys, now that would be interesting... :)

  • I disagree. This kind of service CAN be sustained without any kind of commercial venture. After all, providing CD and track titles is a lot less bandwidth intensive than providing the whole music track, but Napster and Gnutella manage to do that pretty well.

    In fact, a distributed database / index should be built into Freenet, Gnutella, Napster, and other similar services. It's an obvious thing, so I think eventually it will be.

    That way, you don't put the whole load on one person's home DSL, you spread it out over thousands of people with DSL.

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • by Bwah (3970) <RndmNmbr@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:28AM (#822528)
    is that the source code and the database contents are available for FTP. This means I can setup a server on my local net to avoid slow disc IDs at work (due to overloaded links) and to avoid having to go online at home. (of course i guess this is only a problem for us poor schmucks who still only have dialup access ... :)

    dv
  • I have no problem at all with CDDB charging for their service, just as soon as they obtain all that track information using their own resources.

    What they've done is no different (in principle--obviously, cataloging CD's is trivial in comparison) than an organization like the American Red Cross one day becoming a for-profit corporation and providing services for a fee, but keeping all the donated money and resources.

    BTW, the argument that people with the "linux-mentality" won't pay for anything is lame and tired. You can do better.
  • by Nachtfalke (160) on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:31AM (#822530) Homepage
    I like CDDB as much as the next geek, but I think it's a little too limited, for example when it comes to samplers. Are there any other, free alternatives to CDDB that offer more flexibility, like a different artist for each track ? Maybe even something using XML, so it's buzzword-compliant *g*
  • Thank you.<p>I now have something to respond with whenever someone says "People are starving in Africa, and you're worried about software?" or something of the sort.
    --
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • Sadly, this is the trend with all free things - and understandable, because they DO have to make money. It's just a pity that they can't make money in a way that's more beneficial to the community as a whole.

    Chris

    Techies hiring techies. Recruiting done right. [r2services.com]

  • by happystink (204158) on Monday August 28, 2000 @04:05AM (#822533)
    Wrong. Absolutely wrong. Unless CDDB are threatening to sue anyone for making a similar database, this has nothing to do with copyright whatsoever. They just want to be paid to let mediajukebox use their service. I am saying this is right or wrong, but this has NOTHING to do with copyright.

    I guess anytime anyone does anything that could involve IP in any way whatsoever, Slashdot readers have been conditioned to start crying, shouting "this is evil!" and threaten to start 5 sourceforge projects copying whatever product they are currently angry at, so don't feel bad, it's not your fault for getting this wrong.

    sig:

  • by Karmageddon (186836) on Monday August 28, 2000 @04:05AM (#822534)
    Many posters here are talking about having entered songs into the CDDB and they wanted the info shared.

    Just to clarify, CDDB doesn't claim to own the song titles (the record companies do?), they claim to own the encoding that turns the length of all the tracks on a disc (the "uniqueness") into a code number to be looked up in the database. You are free to take the song titles from their database. What they'll try to stop is any use of that algorithm.

    I just thought I'd clarify because it makes a difference to how to circumvent their theft of everyone's hard work. The distributed.net idea would not suffer from this problem, BTW, not to mention it would be fun. SETI@CDDB! :) I'm sure d.net would never go for it, though, they'd rather bore us all to tears with a yet longer attempt to crack some obscure n-bit variant of a public key system. (d.net: we know that things can be cracked by brute [yawn] force. do something more interesting!]

  • The safeguard, as I understand it, is the ability for anyone to FTP themselves a copy of the FreeDB database and software, and to set up shop on their own.
  • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Monday August 28, 2000 @04:09AM (#822536) Journal
    The CDDB is a great concept, but poorly executed. Some of the information is woefully inaccurate, particularly on my obscure CD's. Typos abound in the listings as well.

    An "open source" (for want of a better word) replacement would need to have a verification step. Any data submitted, before being added, should be checked by someone. Maybe have a crew of volunteers (hell, I'd volunteer) who spend a few minutes a day verifiying entries. Maybe have the volunteers list their musical preferences so they would get music they know. With enough volunteers there would be a good chance that 95% of CD's would be already known. Failing that, a simple verification system to check spelling before admission would be good. (Okay, so some songs are spelt wrong deliberately...)

    I hope someone with the resources decides to run with this "open source" idea.

    It's too bad that a boycott wouldn't do anything. The only people with a clue as to what these corporate types are doing make up a real small percentage of the user base. *sigh*

    Mark my words. Google will be next.

    ---

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Monday August 28, 2000 @04:10AM (#822537)
    Are there safeguards to prevent FreeDB from doing the same thing some day?

    From the FreeDB site [freedb.org]:
    As Escient has been changed the terms of licence for accessing CDDB, some programmers complained that the new licence includes certain terms that threatens them in a way they cannot accept: If you want to access CDDB, you are not allowed to access any other CDDB-like database (this one, for example) and - while accessing the database - the programmer has to ensure, that a CDDB-logo is displayed (Funny sidenote: One programmer told me, that his cd-player will be banned if he is refusing to display the CDDB-logo. His software is a console-based program (it does not produce any graphical output) for blind people...). Always being able to choose is one of the advantages if the internet. If Escient forbids the use of other sources now, you can easily think of things coming next... Furthermore, many people submitted the information without charging anybody and they thought their help would remain free, because the initital licence was GPL (see: www.gnu.org for more information on GPL). Everything submitted to this site will be GPLed
    Looks safe to me.
    --
  • Unless Media Jukebox is CDDB2-enabled [cddb.com], it would be a simple matter to fool the server -- just substitute a different user-agent. No problem. The only way CDDB can know that the client is lying is to 1) reverse engineer (ie. use an http spy) the software in question, or 2) force everyone to use CDDB2. Eventually, the original CDDB is supposed to be turned off in favor of CDDB2.

    My ripper [sourceforge.net] (win32 only...), can be configured to use any CDDB out there, but I'm hesitant to disable the "official" *.cddb.com servers, since it should be the user's decision what to use.

    ---
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I can't believe the amount of hyperbole in this post. If you were just to read comments like this on slashdot you'd think programmers were treated like second class citizens and persecuted by the government constantly.

    "man, those poor programmers, they make more money than anyone and get huge job perks, but apparently the government is right on the cusp of outlawing them! it must be true, i read it oni slashdot.org!". Simmer down buddy, the government doesn't care about you.

    sig:

  • How to setup Winamp to use FreeDB instead of CDDB:

    (I did this on Windows NT)

    1. Browse to your Winamp directory

    2. Open winamp.ini with your favorite editor

    3. Go down to the section that says [CDDA/Line Input Driver]

    Change the following values to this:

    rt=888
    use_cddb=1
    rver=freedb.freedb.org

    Unfortunately, these values will get overwritten anytime you use Winamp to change the CDDB server. In this case, just go back and edit the .ini file.
  • Actually, www.musicbrainz.org [musicbrainz.org] is the successor to CDINDEX. Basically, we took the existing CD lookup infrastructure for CDINDEX, made a nice XML based client, and added single track based audio signatures, to create a system that can lookup cds, mp3's, and (coming soon) streams. In the last week, since we started the current open beta (which you can access through the freeamp player) we have built up over 15K song to metadata mappings, with more appearing every day. -Sean Ward
  • I don't recall agreeing to or signing any license agreement when I installed Linux, fired up the KDE CD player, and added freedb.org to the setup info.

    I seem to remember downloading the SDK for CDDB way back, and I think you'll find the this "license agreement" thing is on the part of the developer, not the user. So in fact it would the responsibility of the coder of the KDE CD player to ensure that if you CDDB, you dont use anything else.

  • For what it's worth, CDDB has re-enabled Media Jukebox's access to the database.

    Sadly, this isn't because the CDDB folks "saw the light," it's because the folks who make Media Jukebox signed a contract [musicex.com].

    Still, I think freeDB is a better alternative.

  • Once they nailed you to CDDB as the only provider (That's one of the requirements to get the license!), they'll start charging the user. Just give it time.

    How much time do you think it will take, exactly? Since this requirement has been around for well over a year now. (I know this because I was working on a piece of software that used CDDB at one point.)

    First law of the open market - if you CAN charge for something, you WILL

    Exactly. But do you honestly think CDDB could charge the users directly for the service? Hell no. If anything, it will be an indirect fee -- they charge the developers that write programs using CDDB (which is, after all, a value added incentive in their program). In return, they might choose to raise the price of the software to cover it.

    Regardless, I think it is a service well-worth paying for. If someone can maintain it for free, that's fine, too. But I don't try to pretend that everything should be free.

    -thomas


    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • cddb took our data and told us if would be free for other people to use.

    Uhhh, first of all, where did they say this? And second of all, even if they did actually say this, they *HAVE NOT* charged any users for CDDB access. It is still free to use.

    Why should developers, who add CDDB access as a value-added service, get to do so with no stipulations? It costs money to run CDDB, you know?

    Then they switched it on us and forced these rules on its users.

    Uhhh, no, they did nothing to the users. They added stipulations for DEVELOPERS adding CDDB to their programs.

    Thats fraud in my book.

    Then your book is not very well written. Consult a lawyer.

    You and your comments amount to nothing more than a sorry sack of crap.

    The truth hurts, don't it?

    -thomas


    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • I'm sick of the internet gimme, gimme, gimme attitude. It's frustrating for me personally, because I know people that have to battle this attitude in order to make a well-earned living.

    -thomas

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • oh i'm not arguing whether it's possible to copyright something like that, i'm saying that this case has NOTHING to do with copyright whatsoever, and to bring it up totally confuses the entire issue.

    sig:

  • I have no problem at all with CDDB charging for their service, just as soon as they obtain all that track information using their own resources

    They *DID*. Don't you see? Their resource is YOU. Your payment from CDDB is free access to the entire database of CD's, most of which YOU did not contribute in the first place. They are an information exchange.

    What they've done is no different (in principle--obviously, cataloging CD's is trivial in comparison) than an organization like the American Red Cross one day becoming a for-profit corporation and providing services for a fee, but keeping all the donated money and resources.

    That is probably the worst analogy I've ever heard.

    BTW, the argument that people with the "linux-mentality" won't pay for anything is lame and tired. You can do better.

    No, it fits perfectly. The people doing the complaining are mostly linux users. How do I know? Because the programs they are complaining about are primary used on Linux. Linux is free. Much of what surrounds linux in the way of services is free. Therefore, it makes sense that the people least willing to pay for "information services" are Linux "information-wants-to-be-free" and open source zealots.

    -thomas

    P.S. If you can do better to explain this "why should I pay for a useful service that used to be free" mentality, please do.

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • So you'd see it as okay if someone borrows you lawnmower and starts renting it out to people

    1. I paid for the lawnmower. It's mine. You did not pay for the listing of CD track names. It is not yours.

    2. You lend your lawnmower to someone with the specific intention that you will get it back. Please look up the word "borrow" in your dictionary if this point confuses you. CDDB never said to you, "please let us BORROW your list of track names."

    GNU take software you've contributed to thinking it was Free, and start selling it

    If I contribute software to GNU, it would be distributed under the GNU license. They are, as allowed by the license, permitted to charge for software that includes my code, as specified by the GPL (as long as source is provided).

    Your analogies are very poor.

    Without the users CDDB would be nothing

    EXACTLY! Without other users, you would not be able to pop in most any CD and instantly get all track names on your PC. And how is this made possible? By the hardware, network, and programming services of the people at CDDB. Work done by them that you apparantly feel is worthless.

    and by attacking open-source development, CDDB are attacking their users.

    Uhhh... again, flawed thinking. First of all, they aren't attacking open source development. Their stipulation is that you use only CDDB in your software, or not at all. Likewise, you display a small CDDB logo while downloading the information for the user. Both of these can be performed in open-source software.

    That is payment for services rendered, as far as I am concerned.

    -thomas

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • I don't understand you people... companies have to make money. I want to know what fairy land you are living in that people the size of Google can just survive without income. Have you read what kind of hardware they have backing up their search engine? Eventually the bill has to be footed somehow and how dare them try to do it by pulling in revenue!
  • What we need is a local proxy for CD requests that users can install (and use with all the same software the cddb does). This proxy could then randomise the agent string (if required) and firstly search FreeDB and then CDDB if FreeDB aint got it.

    Randomizing is good, but it would be better to randomly pick from the list of valid user-agent strings, taken from their list of "approved" applications. CDDB would be forced to either scrap the original service -- which I don't think they'll do until they reach critical mass of users for the second-generation (read "proprietary extension designed to snuff out the competetion") software -- or they would simply have to deal with it.

    The question is, would they sue? Could they sue? The original server was GPL'ed, and any application can use the original documentation or source code to talk to a server based on the original protocol.



    ---
  • by sheldon (2322) on Monday August 28, 2000 @04:22AM (#822552)
    They could just shut off their servers and go home.

    Bandwidth costs money. The number of applications which support the CDDB concept has increased tremendously since it's initiation. Consider for instance Microsoft's media player which ships with Win98/Win2000 now includes CDDB access.

    We're talking millions of users out there. Do you seriously think someone's home DSL can handle this?

    There is no way that the service could ever be sustained without some sort of commercial venture.

    Although it's certainly a service which the RIAA could take up as a free value-add to the music community. Not sure why they don't do it on their own since they already have access to this information without having to deal with people hand entering it and getting it wrong.
  • The only way CDDB can know that the client is lying is to 1) reverse engineer (ie. use an http spy) the software in question, or 2) force everyone to use CDDB2.

    Or 3) only accept connections from registered clients. Which would be way worse than the blocking of a single bloated windows-only toaster/coffee-machine.

    Not that I care much since I've been using FreeDB for all this stuff as long as I've been able to anyway.
    --

  • MS Judge 2000

    Fully RIAA and MPAA compliant

  • Is anyone working to get :CueCat coding cross-referencing with FreeDB? I want a MyCDCollection.com account so that I can scan in my UPCs and get the song listings and other info that's currently in CDDB/FreeDB (savable and searchable).

    (Slashdot story combining...Off-topic or insightful?)
    -----
  • do you have a link to 'cddb2-enabled' that doesn't get us non-developer folks a username/password prompt?
    ----------------------------
  • EXACTLY! Without other users, you would not be able to pop in most any CD and instantly get all track names on your PC. And how is this made possible? By the hardware, network, and programming services of the people at CDDB. Work done by them that you apparantly feel is worthless.

    Let me clarify my point: The users are important, but are meaningless if there is not someone there to provide the infrastructure, backbone, programming, and network resources required to maintain a database like this.

    -thomas

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • [Server burden] A distributed approach, a la
    Freenet, where everyone shares a little of the
    server load, seems like a wonderful solution. I
    would gladly give up a portion of my bandwidth
    (5%?) for the benefit of everyone.

    Considering that downloads aren't constant, and
    that I'm not the only source, I guess 5% would be
    an overestimate.

    [Stability] The distributed nature of such a
    system would also be resistent to unjust
    regulation.* (BS database regulation...)

    *Oversimplified: While I'm hesitent about
    duplicated a database that required ingenuity and
    monetary investment of private parties. However,
    one leeched, --how's that for bias ;)-- off the
    backs of the netizen's honest labor thought to be
    for the unrestricted benefit of all is
    disheartening. --I had put my fair share of time
    inputting CD data.

    There was a slashdotter whose mentioned: [Law is
    not morality...] Paraphrased

    [CDDB's actions] I resent what appears to be abuse
    of the public's good will. Similar to all the
    companies that try to layer software patents while
    utilizing software ideas/principles (in all the
    computer systems running their business) that
    were given freely for the greater good of society.

    --Perhapse an anti-software-patent patent-pool or
    coalition? *Chuckle* Don't get me started about
    the commercializtion of academia.

    [Qualifying my post]: I have not researched this
    topic with the rigor I usually prefer. But, it's
    piqued my interest as many Slashdot articles have.

    "'Try' or 'Try Not'; there is no Yoda."
  • Does anybody have, or know where I can obtain, a crack for winamp that would allow me to use freedb.org?
  • Ugh, that was my first post.
    I checked the posting guidlines and
    found that other people had mentioned
    similar things. Sorry =(
  • Perhaps the CDIndex [cdindex.org] (soon to be musicbrainz.org [musicbrainz.org]) people can answer this: would it be possible to merge the efforts of FreeDB and Musicbrainz? It seems very wasteful to duplicate the effort for a free CDDB replacement, not just for the project developers but for the end users typing in track info for both. I'm specifically wondering whether

    • the licences are compatible - CDIndex has its own licence which might conflict with the GPL
    • the underlying structure is compatible.

    The second question strikes me as particularly important - CDIndex is moving to a completely track-based design that should be media independent and make up for the limitations of the CDDB formula. The problem with this is that temporary backward compatibility with the CDDB would be a real asset in allowing people to use CDDB-enabled clients of various kinds and simply point them at a different server. It also better allows for the quiet updating people have been doing with clients like grip, where the CDDB info is re-uploaded from the client machine to FreeDB, slowly mirroring the database. To my knowledge, CDIndex has never been compatible with the CDDB format (even before switching to the track-based musicbrainz format).

  • So? Just don't accept the license agreement. Since when you do need a license to query a publicly-available server on The Internet? It doesn't even ask for a login id, for Yog's sake.


    ---
  • Take a look at this comment [slashdot.org].
    --
  • The original CDDB had a few dozen free mirrors run by volunteers. There's not really that much bandwidth involved -- much less than a popular web site.

    --

  • I'm sure d.net would never go for it, though, they'd rather bore us all to tears with a yet longer attempt to crack some obscure n-bit variant of a public key system. (d.net: we know that things can be cracked by brute [yawn] force. do something more interesting!]

    I've got to disagree with this. d.net is now working on the Optimal Golomb Ruler (OGR) project [distributed.net]. This is a project which has actual uses beyond just proving that it can be done. I'll leave the site above and it's links to explain it further.

  • Too bad that violates the CDDB license agreement, which says that if your program accesses CDDB then it cannot access any other databases.
  • I guess my point would be along the lines of unfair competition. If the database were uncopyrightable, then MediaJukebox could sue CDDB for unfair competition (refusal of service unless they sign an exclusive contract). But if the database is copyrightable then CDDB could actually sue someone who tried to get the information. This IS an issue with how much protection we give to database companies.

    MyopicProwls

  • I have come to the conclusion, that the worst thing that can happen to CDDB is that the database is littered with erroneous entries.

    If we all decided to fill in data that wasn't correct, the base would render to be totally useless.

    Just an idea.

  • Fine, have it dump the contents into a file on your hard drive, then use another program to upload the values (maybe DeCDDB?), and delete the file on your hard drive. No database, no liscensing problems, and you can let CDDB burn in it's own greed.
  • One easy way to take care of this for Media Jukebox and everyone else. Don't use them. If everyone says uses some other service they will have no customers. Don't use clients that use it. If you have a favorite client write them and ask to not use CDDB and use FreeDB instead. If they want to be like this then they should be left behind.
    Molog

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • Tough luck. Grip will let you set any database you like; when ripping a CD, use CDDB for the first retrieval of CD/track titles, etc., switch the settings over to FreeDB, and submit them. I do it all the time.

  • I don't recall agreeing to or signing any license agreement when I installed Linux, fired up the KDE CD player, and added freedb.org to the setup info. I don't see how a license which the user never sees can be enforced; if CDDB doesn't want to send me CD track info, they have the power to have their server bounce me. As long as they make the info available publicly, the public will make use of it, license be damned.

    This copying from CDDB to FreeDB sounds cool - I would do that but apparently all of my CD's are already in FreeDB. I haven't had a failed lookup in months.

  • Firstly, they do have other ways of making money. They're owned by escient [escient.com] who makes all sorts of "convergence" entertainment products.

    Secondly, you're right, they took over cddb after a useful amount of seed work had been done for free. Quite ingenious, and quite evil of them. And like most evil things, it's been quite profitable for them too.

    The reason for the exclusvity clause in their contract is so it's hard to compete. I think the open source community should take the time to use freedb, or help on cdindex, so escient doesn't end up being the only purveyor of this information in the world, in which case I think we can all be sure that it won't be free anymore.
    ----------------------------

  • by Golias (176380) on Monday August 28, 2000 @05:30AM (#822575)
    It seems to me that what we need is a new boiler-plate agreement for stuff like this... just like the GPL and BSD licenses are set up to easilly protect free software.

    An Open Database Contract would clearly what uses are allowed to the company or individual that maintains it, and protect the rights of those who contribute to it.

    We should perhaps get an FSF lawyer or somebody to help us draft such a document, and then refuse to contribute our efforts to anybody who does not use it (or something very much like it).

    If we don't come up with something like this, future publicly-contributed content will suffer, because nobody will be able to be sure that the product of their labor will not suddenly become unavailable to them.


  • On the FreeDB site they say that the CDDB server was GPL'ed originally. Is this the case? Is that source code still available or have they attempted to change the license?

    Other than that, it is my firm belief that a company will reap what it sows and once enough people get sick of them then things like FreeDB will take off.

  • You do realise you're not in a position where you can retroactively modify terms of agreement?
  • Too bad that violates the CDDB license agreement, which says that if your program accesses CDDB then it cannot access any other databases.

    Unless CDDB becomes owned by a big organisation there is little they can do about it.
  • And second of all, even if they did actually say this, they *HAVE NOT* charged any users for CDDB access. It is still free to use.

    Free speach rather than free beer. The problem is that the people involved have not obtained explicit permission from the contributers that they be able to apply these specific distribution restrictions.
  • We all submitted CD information in good faith, expecting it to remain free. Why didn't it? Face it. They took something that used to be free and turned it commercial.

    Another way of seeing it would be to say that CDDB broke the licence under which the information was supplied to them.
    If they can suddenly come up with some licence then surely the original contributer can do the same (and sue them under UCITA if they are in the USA.)
  • The original CDDB had a few dozen free mirrors run by volunteers. There's not really that much bandwidth involved -- much less than a popular web site.

    Also teh CDDB protocol is certainly not optimised for least use of bandwidth.
  • Don't bet on it. I seem to remember a ruling a while ago where a database can be copyrighted even if the information it contains is in the public domain.
    The gist of the ruling was that the creation of the database in and of itself resulta in a copyrightable work, thus making it a breach of copyright to copy the database without the owner's permission.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday August 28, 2000 @04:49AM (#822591)
    agreed.

    its what I've been doing for yrs now.

    I point, primarily, at freedb. if that doesn't resolve, I point at cddb. if there's a match there a dialog pops up and says "should I submit entry to freedb?". I always say 'yes' unless the data is so wrong its just not worth it.

    the neat part of opensource is that I can change the 'id string' to say whatever I want. there is NO way to block my queries.

    they collect the work of The People yet try to band some for ridiculous reasons. I don't agree with this logic so I ignore their 'rules'. and I suggest others do too.

    (if I was going to write or publish my cddb lookup app, I would never hardcode in the db servernames. I'd hint/suggest to the user that they can set whatever env vars they want and that will be the search order. the app, then, would not be making policy and can't be sued or harassed; only the end user could. that would be my solution to this whole madness)

    --

  • cdindex (www.cdindex.org) was another one that got started when the first CDDB fiasco appeared...

    ---

  • by mattdm (1931) on Monday August 28, 2000 @04:58AM (#822595) Homepage
    In the old days, when the original cddb was free, there were a few dozen CDDB mirror sites. A co-worker and I ran one for a few years. When the thing went proprietary, they of course closed down all of the mirrors. They promised to send us a gift in exchange for all of the work we'd done for them (and bandwidth we'd given them), and asked for our address, which we gave (along with a request to reconsider the decision). Never got anything.

    --

  • CDDB is a perfect example of the disingenuous (but all too common) practice of taking work done (typing in track names) by many in a cooperative effort

    You act as if CDDB ripped you off. Look at the flipside -- did you ever offer to pay CDDB for the service they provided? Why not? It's useful isn't it? It costs them money to run that service. Why should you get it for free?

    the work was given with the understanding that it would continue to be available free without condition

    Work? Well, I suppose typing in 10-15 track names by way less than 1% of the people that use CDDB constitutes work. Anyway, why did the people doing this "work" think CDDB would continue to be free without condition? Was there a clause that I am not aware of that said it would be so?

    Again, why should it be? They provide a useful service.

    BTW, where's the RIAA? Surprised their panties aren't in a knot about lists of album names, titles, and track times being available for download. Or has Gracenote paid them off?

    Another stupid comment. Ever heard of "fair use." A list of track names is not a copyright infringement if the work being sold is the MUSIC described by the track names, and not the track names themselves.

    Why am I not surprised by the attitude on slashdot? The linux-mentality is that any service should be free, just because there are some people in the world that COULD or WOULD set it up for free.

    Try arguing on the merits here and face facts. You want CDDB to continue to provide and pay for an absolutely free service for you and your friends.

    Why should they?

    -thomas


    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • The example you used isn't the greatest... If you submit a patch to the FSF, it's going to be open and available to the general public. If someone offers a patch to the FSF and asks that it remain closed, the FSF will reject it.

    If a service is up front about how it will handle information, people who have information to submit will be able to make a solid judgement on where they would like to direct their info. If someone does not want a patch to GCC to be open to the public, they will know not to submit it to the FSF. Likewise, if I had known that my contributions to CDDB were going to be locked down at a later date, I would have directed the data to a service that would not put restrictions on it.
  • Here's the deal... CDDB has solicited data from users for quite some time w/o telling them (in my observation) that what they're giving to CDDB is going to be sold back to them at a later date. This, my friend, is questionable.

    To me, it's not questionable. You submit data for your one or two CD's that aren't in there. In return, you get the CDDB service for the rest of your CD's which are... seems INCREDIBLY FAIR to me. By the way, since when are they "selling" the data back to us? They are simply setting rules for programmers that use the CDDB with their programs. That is how they will advertise and make money.

    I have no qualms with people making money for providing a service. Be up front about it, though.

    How aren't they being up front about it? What if they had no idea how popular and expensive it would be to run CDDB back when they started it? Maybe they planned to make money off of advertising on their site, and it hasn't worked out. Are companies not allowed to change their minds?

    I put my information in CDDB so I would not have to store it in some other way.

    So you're trying to say that you find the CDDB service worthless, and that you only submitted your info to share it with others that also find it equally worthless?

    -thomas

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:34AM (#822604) Homepage
    Why not just start a mass backup of the CDDB into FreeDB and pick up where it left us off ? Just query every single possible disc-id and keep it somewhere warm. IANAL, but since this is information that was publicly submitted in the first place, I don't think they can sue anybody for copying what they copied in the first place. Although not every judge has a functional logic module in his/her brain.
  • You submitted that data in exchange for the service that CDDB provides. It's that simple.

    Except that CDDB changed the service they provided without the permission of their contributers.
  • I'm sorry. I'm practical
    Just went to FreeDB and entered 'Queen' as request. Here's what I got :
    1: Deacon Blue / Queen of The New Year (Single)
    2: Queensrÿche / Greatest Hits
    3: Queens of the Stone Age / Rated R
    4: Queens of the Stone Age / Rated R
    5: Queensryche / Rage For Order
    ... 17: Element / Red Meat & Beauty Queens E.P.
    23: Freddie Mercury / Queen
    25: The Royal Philarmonic Orchestra / Queen's Rhapsody
    This means that they have bad db format. Or wrong query format. Why didn't they just copy CDDB's format ?
  • This seems to be the way internet companies do business. First offer the product free until you have a large enough customer base, and then start charging them, and lose your whole customer base.

    The theory is that people won't change. However computer systems are less likely to be come "addicted" to specific services than are humans to specific drugs.
  • by scraggles (15540) on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:39AM (#822613) Homepage
    I use grip with freedb as primary. If freedb doesn't have it and cddb.com does, grip will prompt to update your primary server with the data off the secondary. That way freedb will become as good a hit rate as the proprietry one. Scrag.
  • by alecto (42429) on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:39AM (#822615) Homepage
    CDDB is a perfect example of the disingenuous (but all too common) practice of taking work done (typing in track names) by many in a cooperative effort without permission (the work was given with the understanding that it would continue to be available free without condition), then closing it off for commercial gain. See also Deja (Usenet posts--older archive removed).

    Are there safeguards to prevent FreeDB from doing the same thing some day? Had CDDB been required to pay authors some sum ($1?) for each CD cataloged, they likely would never have dared to choke this stuff off.

    (As an aside, if I had written MediaJukebox, I'd randomize the client identifier or masquerade various "authorized" clients (just like changing the user agent field to avoid sites that discriminate based on browser (or block wget)) Then if cddb (now <puke&gtGracenote&lt/puke>) blocked MediaJukebox they'd have the people who paid (or tagreed to conditions or kowtowed in some way) them upset. Then they could sue, causing more publicity for FreeDB :>)

    BTW, where's the RIAA? Surprised their panties aren't in a knot about lists of album names, titles, and track times being available for download. Or has Gracenote paid them off?
  • No need for this. No need at all...
    freeDB is already highly populated.. and if it's missing something.. submit it!

    That's how CDDB got populated in the first place. It's easy, and the cumulative effect is amazing.

    Just turn your back on CDDB. This behavior is rediculous.
  • yes, I have to admit that I started with the sources from 'grip' and hacked on it.

    I haven't yet added the auto-randomize of the client-id, but if I ever get rejected simply by my client-id name, I'll certainly strike back by either emulating one of the standard agents or just rotating between random names.

    cddb: give it up and free the database you got FREE from your users!

    --

  • while looking for a head car audio head unit ('radio') I found that kenwood is releasing an mp3 player that uses regular iso cd images.

    they referenced the cddb logo and said something like 'use our software to label your discs'.

    so if cddb has got kenwood's attention, you know it went mainstream.

    --

  • The CDDB guys hate blind people? There's a headline for you...
  • by Jamie Zawinski (775) <jwz@jwz.org> on Monday August 28, 2000 @06:49AM (#822635) Homepage

    I agree with others who have said that all this whining about CDDB is pointless, since FreeDB exists, and has a huge amount of data in it already.

    However, FreeDB very much needs help. There are a number of bugs and horrible misfeatures in it, and the main developer seems to have close to zero time to work on it. Pretty much any time I've found a problem, his response has been, ``yeah, too bad I don't have any time.''

    Not that there's anything wrong with that: he's doing a big service to all of us by keeping it running at all. But, if any of you do have the time and ability, it seems to me that FreeDB desperately needs a co-developer.

  • by kevin lyda (4803) on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:39AM (#822638) Homepage
    i entered in over two dozen of my cd's into cddb back in it's early days. i did it with the intention of sharing that info with everyone. i'm not sure that there was a notice at the time saying that the data could be taken into a closed form, but maybe there was.

    it certainly solidifies my resolve to publish my code under the gpl and not any other license. this kind of crap pisses me off and the leeches out there don't even get the moral equivilant of heartburn when they close off access to the very people that built their system. yet another reason to hate suits.
  • Official notice to Media Jukebox!
    The data I have submitted to CDDB belongs in the public domain and you cannot ban the free use thereof.
  • by MyopicProwls (122482) on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:43AM (#822641) Homepage
    See now this is the problem with allowing a company to 'copyright' a database which contains otherwise uncopyrightably data. The fact that the president's name is Bill Clinton is obviously public domain knowledge, but if I put his name (and, say, all the other presidents' names) in a database, all of a sudden it's copyrightable?

    In the same way, cddb is full of information which is not only public domain but which was largely submitted by users of the system anyway! I know I've submitted CD track information to cddb before.

    How have lobbyists been /so/ successful in convincing lawmakers that everything needs to be protected by copyright?

    MyopicProwls

  • From: Freecddb's Why page [freedb.org]
    "(Funny sidenote: One programmer told me, that his cd-player will be banned if he is refusing to display the CDDB-logo. His software is a console-based program (it does not produce any graphical output) for blind people...)."
  • Looking at the files on that site, it looks like the freedb database is bigger, and has likely assimilated the old cddb.
    ---
  • by rcw-work (30090) on Monday August 28, 2000 @07:09AM (#822651)
    Just to clarify, CDDB doesn't claim to own the song titles (the record companies do?), they claim to own the encoding that turns the length of all the tracks on a disc (the "uniqueness") into a code number to be looked up in the database. You are free to take the song titles from their database. What they'll try to stop is any use of that algorithm.

    Whether this is true or not, it's pathetic. FreeDB uses the same algorithm.

    Anyway, this is a description of the algorithm just so you can see how stupid it is:

    The discid looks like a 32 bit hex number, but in reality it's not - it's an 8 bit checksum, a 16 bit number representing the total length of the disc in seconds, and an 8 bit number representing the number of tracks on the disc.

    It's mind-warpingly simple. Ignoring MSF offsets for the sake of discussion, this is how it's done:

    Get the length of all the tracks in frames, like so:
    22047 44492 69957 85152 113637 129910 148045 165852 178462 200282 215427
    Divide them all by 75 so you have track lengths in seconds:
    293 593 932 1135 1515 1732 1973 2211 2379 2670 2872
    This is the really really brilliant part - Add all the decimal digits together like so:
    2+9+3+5+9+3+9+3+2+1+1+3+5+1+5+1+5+1+7+3+2+1+9+7+3+ 2+2+1+1+2+3+7+9+2+6+7+0+2+8+7+2
    It's 161 or 0xa1. Convert the length of the disc and number of tracks to hex too (0xc87 and 0xc) and put them together - 0xa10c870c. This is only a little bit off from the real discid (a30c850c), and only because of the MSF offsets I skipped over.

    Read the cd-discid source code [lly.org] for the full algorithm.

    I would be utterly amazed if they could protect this algorithm in court - it's literally just addition.

  • www.cdindex.org is trying to come up with a flexible alternative, but I don't think they have anything usable yet.

    CDDB is ok for what it wants to do - given a cd in a drive, id it, but it's way too limitted as a generic media database. Hopefully a better effort will succeed.
  • by nickol (208154) on Monday August 28, 2000 @03:52AM (#822661)
    No need to ' query every single disk-id '. Patch software to use FreeDB as primary source, CDDB as secondary and to COPY contents found in CDDB into FreeDB.
    Then just sit down and listen.

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