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Freedb.org Returns to Life

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the good-to-see-them-back dept.

49

Trogre writes "The recently troubled free CD database freedb has been picked up by a group called Magix. From Kaiser's blog: 'Following my announcement that I would like to let freedb go, I was approached by many interested parties ... Even if I shall no longer be actively associated with freedb, I shall continue casting a critical glance on freedb's future. The decision in favour of MAGIX has given us a new prospect of further development, offered a congenial and comfortable atmosphere during difficult negotiations, and provided the newly implemented hardware with generous capacities.' This might be good news since Grip still doesn't support MusicBrainz."

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Freedb2? (2, Interesting)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330029)

And what's going to happen to Freedb2 [freedb2.org] (site that one of original founders forked from Freedb) then?

Re:Freedb2? (4, Informative)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330119)

It seems to have stagnated, possibly due to immense suspicion from everyone except the single developer. The project had been using modified GPL'd code from freedb without disclosing any substantial source code. It was this issue that caused the head freedb dev (Kaiser) to 'take action' against this guy without the consent of the other two devs who left and AFAIK are now part of neither project.

They seem to have taken it a bit personally if you ask me, but then again there might have been more going on than publically stated.

Re:Freedb2? (5, Informative)

Horar (521864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331505)

Once again I would like to set the record straight. http://freedb2.org/ [freedb2.org] was written from scratch by myself with no reference to any of the original freedb code whatsoever, and I am the sole copyright owner on all of that code. It was derived strictly from the published cddb specifications and the contents of the database itself. You are right in thinking that there was much more going on that was publicly stated.

http://freedb2.org/ [freedb2.org] continues to thrive and grow and has been very well supported. I would like to thank everybody for that, and can guarantee that you will be able to enjoy the superior levels of service offered by freedb2.org for a long time to come. Please feel free to email me directly should you have any specific questions about it.

Re:Freedb2? (5, Interesting)

Jay Carlson (28733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333731)

http://freedb2.org/ continues to thrive and grow and has been very well supported.

Cool. So where can I download your database?

I'm not joking. I can download wikipedia. I downloaded a couple versions of the original cddb back when we were all running off Sparcstations.

The way we got here was to freely exchange metadata about CDs we own. freedb2.org doesn't say anything about how to get at the data behind it. In fact, it doesn't really say anything at all about where its data came from. (Before you claim that you can't pay for the bandwidth to support downloads of your full database, trust me, I can find somewhere to host it for you.)

I typed in plenty of CD metadata. I showed you mine; so show me yours.

Not clear that the GFDL/GPL can cover the database (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334265)

After the split I exchanged an email or two with Horar about licensing problems he might be getting into, even though, thank God, IANAL.

The legalities of applying the GFDL or GPL to a database like the one managed by freedb.org are unclear. If you are interested and have deep pockets, you can try to get the courts to clear this up for us (although you might have to secretly agree to pay for Horar's lawyer, also, otherwise he might just shut down instead of waiting for a clear decision).

AFAIK, the data that the original CDDB developers made off with, to found what has become Gracenote, is not protected legally by any license in any way, since it was donated without any declared licensing, and it would seem to be hard to prove to the courts that those that donated somehow expected their contributions to be licensed in a particular manner.

I have my own personal opinion about what the original CDDB developers did, but they are almost certainly in the clear legally. Horar is on much less certain ground, but I'd be surprised if anyone bothers to take it to court.

Re:Not clear that the GFDL/GPL can cover the datab (3, Informative)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334631)

The legalities of applying the GFDL or GPL to a database like the one managed by freedb.org are unclear.

IANAL, however as I understand it under US law: it is not possible to apply any license to this database, because the licenses are grants of rights, based on the copyright of the owner. However, copyright does not apply to this data. No one can hold a copyright on 'facts', only 'expressions'. A clearly stated (though no more authoritative) explanation from the 'copyright' article on wikipedia:

Compilations of facts or data may also be copyrighted, but such a copyright is thin; it only applies to the particular selection and arrangement of the included items, not to the particular items themselves.

Re:Not clear that the GFDL/GPL can cover the datab (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16346197)

Unfortunately, US law has nothing to do with it; the FreeDB2 developer is in Australia. One of the worst aspects of Australian IP law is that facts from collations of data themselves are copyright protected, thanks mainly to a legal decision over 'reverse-engineering' of phone books.

This is also the reason Windows MCE & Vista have / will have no EPG in Australia - TV guide data is collated separately by a third party (HWW, which itself was recently bought by a television / media conglomerate (PBL / Nine)), and they jealously guard it against any use by devices which allow automated recording (PVRs, media centre PCs, etc) - ostensibly, to prevent "piracy" of the network's intellectual property (aka overseas TV shows broadcast 8 months after appearing on ChannelBT). If Microsoft decided they couldn't win against this legal aberration, I don't think you whinging on /. will make a dent...

The upshot of which is, don't expect FreeDB2 data to be available under any but the most onerous of licencing conditions. In fact, conspiracy-nut though it may sound, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the FreeDB2 developer was affiliated with one of the music / media conglomerates...

Re:Not clear that the GFDL/GPL can cover the datab (1)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348217)

Unfortunately, US law has nothing to do with it; the FreeDB2 developer is in Australia.

That sucks for Australian listeners, but copyright law is dictated by jurisdiction. If I am sitting in American, I can suck-down FreeDB2 data, and do anything that I want with it. For any copy of this data sitting in the US, no matter how it got there, it is practically in the public domain*. Australian law cannot impact this.

* The data is in the public domain, a particular 'expression' of the data can be copyrighted. So if I download a PDF of the data from an Australian website, that PDF can be copyrighted. But if I copy the raw text into a database, with no font, color, and layout information, then my database is not infringing on the 'expression' that was bound by copyright. I can do anything that I want to with this database.

Re:Freedb2? (1)

Horar (521864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16353249)

If you are serious then please contact me.

Re:Freedb2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337567)

there is a new project in the works at DAZ.com , it's still pretty shaky but the amount of cleanup they've done on the freedb stuff is quite amazing. Have a look and see what you think.

I also really like the way they credit the users for any work they've done.

Re:Freedb2? (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331673)

And what's going to happen to Freedb2 (site that one of original founders forked from Freedb) then?

I don't know, but I am buying a T-shirt from your link.

My prediction (1, Funny)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16332771)

FreeDB2 will be bought by IBM....

Re:My prediction (1)

Horar (521864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16332841)

LOL. Yes it's a point that has been made several times already.

The new name will be TrackType.org ... and you heard it here first.

Re:Freedb2? who cares..all RIAA spies forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337163)

Have always locked out 'freedb' and all the other internet spies that most all 'media players' seem to be infected with. All come with 'agreements' containing onerous vague 'permissions' and statements where users 'agree to be bound'! What is this stuff anyway? All I wanted to do was listen to a CD and instead I get treated to some unknown crook's sado-masochism dungeon complete with ropes to have usere 'bound'. Users are fools too as they 'agree to be bound' without knowing all the implications of 'being bound' but mindlessly click away thinking none of this can touch them. Another disturbing tidbit is the idea that the 'new' system intends to have special 'software'; and is a commercial for profit business complete with websites containing 'shopping cart' icons! Does this make your money disappear along with the remainder of your privacy...like it is MAGIXly gone?! What is this? Good thing that Linux allows the total lockout of this security hole. Windows 2K said they allowed lockout
of web and software spies by supposedly controlling the 'services' that facilitated them, but they did not really lock all of it out. WinXP is 'In-Yer-Face' nasty about not allowing 'end user' control of its 'software. I don't even want to think about 'Vista'. Certainly know that it interacts with hardware mods of new motherboards, north and south bridge chips, harddrives, and Intel CPU's to enforce nonviewable or modifiable secred DRM om all windows users. Good possibility that SuSE linux's will be also affected, as may be RedHat's product. Both of those distros were good once. The keyword is 'once'. SuSE is now the slave of Novell and we ALL know who they are. RedHat seems to want to kiss large corporate ass so much that they should ship their product in brown boxes. Enough rant...this will never get really posted by the managers of this site...and you all know why that is, don't you?

freedom at any price (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330037)

Following my announcement that I would like to let freedb go, I was approached by many interested parties

Well, given the name, I hope they got it for free.

Re:freedom at any price (1)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330159)

I hope so too. Why would a business pay for the responsibility of running a free service where ideally, the user is barely even aware of its presence? Will there be pop-up ads or animated company logos whenever a freedb search is performed? There is only one thing corporations care about, and it's not charity.

Re:freedom at any price (1, Insightful)

Horar (521864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331591)

I doubt that they got it for free. I would be pleased to be corrected on this, however it seems that although freedb.org reaped a considerable amount of money from the advertising on the old site, the funds were all used by Michael Kaiser for his own purposes, even though he never did any of the substantial amount of work that was involved. That was all done by Joerg Hevers and Ari Sundholm. I was involved in the project for 12 months before Michael ever put in an appearance and even then it was only when he smelled money.

Re:freedom at any price (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16333265)

... says the person who (with the single exception of the parent post) directs people to freedb2. Not getting anything from those Google Ads then?

Re:freedom at any price (1)

Coniptor (22220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16389685)

ESAD

Re:freedom at any price (1)

mannix_de (1010091) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334153)

From a very-well-informed source I know that there was at minimum one non-profit-organization that would have been able and willing to take care of freedb. Sure they were not able to pay for the domain, but to guarantee the FREE continuation of freedb at all costs. Unfortunately Michael made another decision and I wonder what made him act that way. I am pretty sure we will never know all the details of this MAGIX deal.

Re:freedom at any price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337839)

make that two, the people running ww.com offered to continue to run the service 'as is' indefinitely.

Grip? (-1, Troll)

salimma (115327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330083)

When most other CD rippers for both KDE and GNOME support MusicBrainz (amaroK, sound-juicer, banshee, etc.), there is less of a need to use Grip.

Personally, I switched over to sound-juicer when I discovered that sound-juicer embeds the MB metadata when encoding to Ogg or FLAC. It makes it much easier to refer to the particular track again later.

Re:Grip? (0, Offtopic)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330185)

I'd love to switch, but sound-juicer is still far behind grip in almost every way.

It crashes much more often, has far fewer options for, well, everything but especially encoding and tagging, and just generally feels like beta software.

Maybe in a couple of years it might approach the functionality of grip. Or perhaps by then grip will have MusizBrainz support :)

Re:Grip? (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330977)

It's a Gnome application, so a lot of the nice settings are tucked away and you need to fire up gconf-editor to edit them.

All of the folder/file name settings I used in Grip can be duplicated in sound-juicer. YMMV though.. and it's been quite stable since 2.14.0. The only thing it does not do is cache the result of CD look-ups, so if you want to rip a CD where there's no Internet access you're on your own.

Re:Grip? (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333407)

Sound-juicer really does not cut it. I just took a look at it's settings in GConf-editor and it's still far too limited. I'm not asking for much, but it just doesn't cut it. The only one that does what I need is KAudioCreator, but I'd really prefer a Gnome app.

All I really want it something that isn't bitrate based and can just run lame with these options:

lame --replaygain-accurate -q 0 --vbr-new --preset standard -p

KAudioCreator does, so it wins for me.

Re:Grip? (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16354647)

Sound-juicer really depends on GStreamer, and with FLAC at least, all the settings I could pass to the command-line flac encoder could be passed to the flacenc module..

Is the lame module for GStreamer more feature-limited? I use flac2mp3 to generate my MP3s, sorry.

Re:Grip? (1)

Horar (521864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331779)

Grip runs great with http://freedb2.org/ [freedb2.org]

In the future freedb2.org will be importing and merging the data from a number of sources such as MusicBrainz and, as the resources become available, making all that information accessible in real-time via RSS feeds and the like.

The trouble with freedb is that it never has been free enough and I am working hard to try to change that.

Re:Grip? (2, Interesting)

Trongy (64652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16332093)

Is Grip still creating invalid ogg files by default (with ID3 tags in the header)?

MusicBrainz (4, Informative)

BobNET (119675) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330093)

Most FreeDB/CDDB clients can access MusicBrainz through a CDDB gateway: http://musicbrainz.org/doc/CddbGateway [musicbrainz.org]

Re:MusicBrainz (1)

Dennis_123 (962330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16336481)

Doesn't work with foobar2000.

MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (4, Informative)

pen (7191) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330287)

CDDB and FreeDB are old news. MusicBrainz [musicbrainz.org] is by far superior. It accounts for different release years, different formats, multiple artists, compilation albums, etc. "Why would I need to use your site? What's wrong with FreeDB?" [musicbrainz.org] .

I'm not affiliated, just another happy user.

Re:MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (1)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331397)

CDDB and FreeDB are old news. MusicBrainz is by far superior

While I agree that freedb is lagging behind CDDB (Gracenote) in most if not all ways in technology and data format, it's absurd to say that musicbrainz is ahead of them both. Musicbrainz doesn't even support the concept of music genre, for crying out loud. The page you link to says that's because they can't figure out how to support genres correctly?! So does that mean if you use musicbrainz (man that name is weak) to rip your music, you have to manually go and assign genres to your songs or what? (I've never tried so I really don't know, but I assume so considering they said it themselves.) If so, what's the point of using it in the first place? I don't want to manually enter any data whatsoever - who does?

Last I checked, Gracenote supports everything musicbrainz does and more. Freedb has its dupe problems and somewhat stagnant technology, but it has genres, users who submit to it/edit the data (which mb hardly has), and a concept of what users actually need/want. So what gives with the musicbrainz propaganda?

Re:MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (3, Interesting)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331723)

Oh no! They don't support _genre_! Call the metadata police!

Genre is a broken concept and everybody knows it. Practically every CD ever released is listed in FreeDB under half a dozen different genres, all entries having slightly different errors. No FreeDB booster was ever able to sufficiently explain to me why, for example, Hotel California should be listed under New Age.

The multiple genre CDDB defect has this amusing side effect in all FreeDB-reliant CD rippers:

Multiple results found. Please choose:
1) The Same Title
2) The Same Title
3) The Same Title
4) The Same Title

The system is practically useless for anyone who actually cares about consistency in metadata and/or has a large collection to rip.

Re:MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (1)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333679)

You make a good point. Freedb genres are messed up, partially because the genre is actually part of the unique identifier. But that's not a good reason to omit genres from a new system such as musicbrainz that's supposed to "fix" problems with previous solutions. Genre systems do work if well maintained. And it is possible to map between different genre systems to make everyone happy, as there are many genre systems in existence. But to toss the baby out with the bathwater and not support genres at all is a pretty major punt.

You may scoff at the seeming unimportance of genres in a media recognition system and its metadata, but you do so at the peril of musicbrainz remaining irrelevant to the majority of users. Like it or not, users want genres assigned to the thousands of files they create, and any system that ignores it won't be taken seriously by either users or application developers that want to be successful.

Re:MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (2, Informative)

shish (588640) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334305)

No FreeDB booster was ever able to sufficiently explain to me why, for example, Hotel California should be listed under New Age.

IIRC, it's because the database entries are plain text files named "[genre]/[CD checksum].txt" -- if two different CDs have the same checksum, then they have to be in different genres. Also, one can't update the genre of a CD once entered, you can only create a new entry somewhere else.

Re:MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (1)

nlago (187984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16342487)

No FreeDB booster was ever able to sufficiently explain to me why, for example, Hotel California should be listed under New Age.

IIRC, it's because the database entries are plain text files named "[genre]/[CD checksum].txt" -- if two different CDs have the same checksum, then they have to be in different genres. Also, one can't update the genre of a CD once entered, you can only create a new entry somewhere else.

Well, this is more of an explanation of why FreeDB sucks, not an answer to the GP ;-)

Re:MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16334321)

I agree with you on the 'genre' field. But what I'd like to see is support for the id3v2 'composer', 'conductor', and 'lead performer(s)' fields.

Re:MusicBrainz is superior to FreeDB (1)

vanza (125693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16332973)

While I do agree that MusicBrainz is superior, it's still lacking a single field in the track information: whether the track is an audio track or a data track. I don't think adding a boolean field to their database would have been that difficult. :-)

(And no, this [musicbrainz.org] doesn't count. And I know CDDB doesn't have that info either.)

Man, this takes me back... (2, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330407)

One of the first sites I was asked to design was a CD trading system which never went anywhere. The founders were too cheap to license a database or build a system to grow one organically, but they wanted names of all of the artists, albums and song titles that people owned on the CDs they wanted to trade.

So at their request, I built a system which would send a query to the CDDB.com page (back before they became Gracenote), excise out the useful data, and store it, one album at a time.

I got it through proof of concept, and then explained while it was technically possible to continue in this vein (I had probably pulled three albums correctly in testing, one more at the demo), they would be fools to continue because the page format could change at any time, and if the fine folks at CDDB figured out what we were doing, the owners would be begging for a lawsuit.

They still didn't want to do the right thing, so the project eventually got dropped (I think Napster made the CD go bye-bye), I moved on to greener pastures, and the owners went on to found a handful of failed dot-bombs, I guess.

Ah, the good old days.

Thanks, Michael (5, Interesting)

MikeO (951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330421)

Hats off to Michael Kaiser for being the caretaker of freedb for the past 7+ years and remaining true to the community spirit the service represents.

Many digital music collections, mine included, owe a lot to freedb.

Re:Thanks, Michael (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16330951)

hear hear

Re:Thanks, Michael (2, Interesting)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331151)

I made all my CDs into MP3s at 256 kbps (about six LPs per data CD, and I can't hear the difference when its encoded above that). Freedb saved me from getting carpal tunnel. But now I don't need it and never will again, because I haven't bought a CD since 1999 (except for Melissa auf der Maur, but I support her art). There's a little thing called USENET. Heinlein would say, "It's raining soup, get a bucket."

Re:Thanks, Michael (2)

Horar (521864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16332009)

Please put the credit where it is due.

Joerg Hevers (and more recently, Ari Sundholm) did all the work while Michael Kaiser merely took all the credit and money. Why did you think they all resigned the way they did?

Re:Thanks, Michael (1)

mkaiser (20342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340543)

Andrew,

set up a _free_ service, operate it for 7 years, become successful with it and shut up until then. It takes more than you probably can handle on your own. Jörg and Ari left me after the *thought* you would play fair. To my knowledge, freedb2.org is still operated on YOUR own. Please explain, why Jörg and Ari refused to work with you.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16342435)

Here's some insight into what went on before the splitup.

Re:Thanks, Michael (1)

Horar (521864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16374325)

Operating freedb.org for 7 years and making it successful is indeed a laudable accomplishment and Joerg Hevers should be praised highly for it. However, you on the other hand are nothing but a domain squatter -- a worthless parasite -- and should be treated as such.

They should make the database public (1, Redundant)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331271)

The data is accessible by the public, but as far as I know, the whole database is not. "We" created it. The internet community at large are the ones who populated it with the data that now makes it worth something to someone. I hope the new caretakers of the database do something great with it, but I also would like them to make the whole damn thing accessible, if even for just a little while.

-S

Re:They should make the database public (3, Informative)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331329)

OK... public appology here. Me = moron.

http://www.freedb.org/en/download__database.10.htm l [freedb.org]

I could have sworn that I'd loooked for that before and couldn't find it.

-S (feeling like a dipshit)

MAGIX gets a thumbs (1)

fz00 (466988) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333259)

They're a good company. Their Music Studio software is practically free when CompUSA has its rebate deals on it. It's a great piece of software for $30 - $0. Just FYI
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