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108 comments

I perfer the version (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260298)

where MP2 was recording in studio, gets wasted and gets it on with Suzanne Vega across the mixing deck leading to a bouncing bundle of MP3. It's much more rock and roll.

no messages from the devil either (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261010)

played 1000 times and still no messages from satan - sigh - i miss bible bashers.

More cutting-edge innovation? (4, Interesting)

terrencefw (605681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260360)

From TFA:

As director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology, Brandenburg continues to be involved in the cutting edge of digital music. Researchers under his supervision are working on technology that would, for example, analyze a user's tastes based on music he or she has already downloaded, search the Internet for other tunes in the same genre, and automatically assemble a playlist. Brandenburg is also involved in research to deliver more realistic, true-to-life media than anything now available. Perhaps he'll even help touch off another revolution.

Er, nothing like audioscrobbler/last.fm then?

I've been wondering... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260442)

Hey Slashdot, why are PC users such ugly dweebs [imageshack.us] in comparison to Mac users [imageshack.us]? Is it because nobody has the time or patience to put up with Windows/Linux except for friendless, sexless nerds like you?

Re:I've been wondering... (4, Informative)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260470)

Yes, but FreeBSD girls rule! [prague.tv].

Isn't this what you realy want? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261168)

Hmm, somehow I have a feeling that that cute red daemon would realy be happier on somebody else's T-shirt...

Re:I've been wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260830)

at least we get out to events where we can meet a real life hero in Torvalds, unlike you who hide away in a little room, masturbating over how cool you are posting troll comments on /.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

schmu_20mol (806069) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260696)

No, as audioscrobbler/last.fm is not based on analysing the music itself, rather on tag-networks that get built up by the users and some rules e.g. like one song of an artist, play some more from him/her.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260722)

> Er, nothing like audioscrobbler/last.fm then?

Nothing like as slow as last.fm, no.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (3, Insightful)

dam.capsule.org (183256) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260726)

I think that last.fm use the data from other users to determine what music you might like. In the same way amazon suggestion system uses.

The guy here seems to work on a system which would analyze the music itself (tempo, melody, ...) to find other matching tunes.

At least that's how I see it.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (4, Insightful)

mstra (38238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261636)

Ah, so Pandora, then?

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (2, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261856)

Nope. Pandora doesn't automatically analyze music. IIRC, they have a whole bunch of people who have studied music extensively who sit down and listen to a bunch of music. They then categorize each track/band by a whole ton of esoteric qualities that most people wouldn't be able to pick out--tempo/cadence, key, chord progressions, orchestration, types of harmonies, etc etc etc. It's these combinations of things that we generally are attracted to in music.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

bemoosed (1053854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262574)

The guy here seems to work on a system which would analyze the music itself (tempo, melody, ...) to find other matching tunes.
"...search the Internet for other tunes in the same genre" would indicate otherwise. And, tempo and melody do not even begin to indicate genre across the cultural spectrum of recorded music, let alone individual taste within genre or across genres. To even detect genre based upon parameters that even intensive and sophisticated analysis of an audio signal could identify would be an extremely difficult problem; and not something to be done on a mass scale anytime soon.

No, I expect it would be based upon tags, collective statistics and maybe a little individual training. Hardly "the cutting edge of digital music".

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

David Nabbit (924807) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263472)

Analyzing by tempo and melody would also expose the fact that 99% of the pop music being pushed by the RIAA is the same. And they wouldn't want anyone that out. Nope, gotta stop the pirates.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

penp (1072374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261842)

I would pay for something like Pandora if it worked on a portable music device. I love using Pandora but having to listen to it through a web browser is the only thing I hate about it. It'll be nice to see what happens with it in the future.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262248)

It might seem stupid but maybe if you get one of those PDAs with a web browser you will have what you want =o). Of course you only need Opera and the Flash plugin.

I have not used pandora a lot.. I preferred to use Last.FM (I was a subscriber) until they removed that feature. I have used pandora a bit but I think they do not have too many of the music I like (speed, heavy and gothic metal).

Anyway, I might give it a try again.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

penp (1072374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265912)

The thing about Pandora is that it becomes more effective at finding music that you really like the more often you use it. It takes a while, but eventually you start to hear music that more closely matches your tastes - from bands that you've never heard before. The Music Genome Project (http://pandora.com/mgp.shtml [pandora.com]) is a fascinating idea to me and is what appeals to me more than a site like last.fm.

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (1)

araemo (603185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262808)

It isn't portable, but you can listen to Pandora through both of Slim Devices' products:

http://www.slimdevices.com/ [slimdevices.com]

Very spiffy, but out of my price range for a music player. My (high-end) computer speakers are good enough for me. ;)

Re:More cutting-edge innovation? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261232)

Pandora

audiogalaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18270630)

    • Don't you mean audiogalaxy?

Also, this is amazing:

Brandenburg hasn't become a dot-com zillionaire from his work on MP3, but he received a substantial cut of the royalty payments under a German law that entitles researchers to a share of the profits from their inventions. (He won't say how much.)
America should be more like germany. Heil Hitler!

There. Fixed that. (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260384)

Researchers under his supervision are working on technology that would, for example, analyze a user's tastes based on music he or she has already downloaded, search the Internet for other tunes in the same genre, and automatically assemble a playlist^W^W^W send cease and desist letters.

Royalties? (2, Interesting)

grolschie (610666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260386)

Even folk-rock singer Suzanne Vega inadvertently played a walk-on role in the creation of MP3. "I know on whose shoulders I stand and who else contributed a lot," says Brandenburg, now director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Ilmenau, Germany.
Words are cheap. Maybe the MP3 patent holders should share the royalties? :-)

When patents expire (2, Interesting)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260676)

The Fraunhofer patents expire April 2010, at which time MP3 algorithms become public domain. What will this mean? Cheaper players? Will mp3 be as free like ogg vorbis by then?

Re:When patents expire (4, Informative)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261154)

They were never valid anyway in the EU or the UK, since MP3 encoding is a mathematical operation and beyond the scope of patentability in those jurisdictions.

Re:When patents expire (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264958)

Will mp3 be as free like ogg vorbis by then?

No, it will be free like GIF/LZW, MPEG-1 video, MP2 audio, etc.

Re:Royalties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260680)

SHHH! Don't give anyone ideas. The RIAA will go after these guys and sue them for damages, take the MP3 patent in return and then price the MP3 licence out of existance and sue everyone that uses it..... it might make them more money than the current crop of non-music!

Picture of this guy (5, Funny)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260396)

I bet a lot of record company executives have a picture of this guy hanging in their office! On top of a darts board...

if wasn't this format, it would have been another (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260424)

I'm sure other compression formats exist or would have existed. With the advent of the Internet, it was inevitible that the record companies would be where they are today.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (2, Interesting)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260480)

I always thought that with the advent of broadband and cheap 10^2-gigabyte storage, FLAC would have overtook mp3, however it is not happened still. Probably by "fault" of portable players, where storage space is still critical. Are there any statistics on the average usage/trends of MP3 vs FLAC/Ogg Vorbis/wma/aac etc.?

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260610)

This is the second time I've heard of FLAC and I still don't know what it is and how it differ's from MP3. MP3 did well because it was small and one of the first on the seen that almost everything seemed to support. Its the interoperability, size and quality that are important. I can't hear the difference between a 192kbs MP3 and a audio CD most people can't, using earphones I can't hear a difference between 128kbs and a audio CD (I've found this to be fifty/fifty) and there is your problem. Early on you could get a lot of tracks on an MP3 player with 'good enough' quality and with 2gb,20gb MP3 players being around most people are tempted to encode them to 192kbs and they still got hundreds of songs on their device. FLAC, Ogg and WMA may offer substantial benifits (I know WMA offers a higher rate of compression for the same quality) but many MP3 players don't support those formats, so why bother storing your music in them?

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260654)

FLAC is losslessly compressed, mp3 is lossily compressed. You can get down to about 50% of the original filesize with FLAC; with mp3 the limits are whatever you'll tolerate down to something ridiculously crappy (16kbps or something I think is the minimum?).

So FLAC is for when you care about quality over file size. It also isn't nearly as supported as mp3.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (5, Informative)

Yoozer (1055188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260884)

Really short explanation: FLAC is like Winzip for .wav files.

Longer explanation: Why you want to do this? You want the originals on your harddisk without bothering about ISO files which you'd have to mount first using Daemon Tools or something (which means you can't play 'm back directly). You don't want the completely ludicrous space requirements .wav demands. This way, you still have the originals - well, at least more "original" if the CD is scratched or stolen or destroyed. It's not even an esoteric audiophile reason; it's just that it works well for archiving (which in turn begs the question why you want to archive something on a portable player that faces risk every day, but hey).

As usual, Wikipedia has a page on the subject [wikipedia.org] :).

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (2, Insightful)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261852)

I rip all my cd's into iTunes as wav - I want the original. One issue with that though is there's no meta-data, another I just discovered when I bought an iPod - 8gb is about 12 albums, no where near enough for our one week vacation! So now I had to make AAC copies of every wav file in my collection (that only took 8 hours or so), create playlists using only the AAC files and put them on my iPod. Fun Wow! well, its gonna be really nice for that 3 hour wait in the airport on the way to Mexico.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

SmittyTheBold (14066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263958)

At the very least use Apple Lossless. It's like FLAC, but Apple-supported. It supports tags, artwork, and takes half the space.

And no, you're not losing anything. That's why "Lossless" is part of the name.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (2, Informative)

Spacezilla (972723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265206)

No! It doesn't beg the question! It RAISES the question!

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266050)

Thank you!

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261416)

"MP3 did well because it was small and one of the first on the seen that almost everything seemed to support. Its the interoperability, size and quality that are important."

Interoperability is a problem for FLAC (most hardware players don't support it), but it shouldn't be because FLAC is free and open. I wish DVD players/changers would play FLAC files the same way current CD players play mp3 files. Using FLAC, I can probabably fit every Led Zeppelin studio album on one single-layer DVD±R. I wouldn't need no stinkin' mega CD changer.

The importance of size is changing, which I think is the GP's point ("the advent of broadband and cheap 10^2-gigabyte storage"). FLAC is around 700-800 kbps and this is small enough for archiving and transferring today. Small-storage portable players can still benefit from smaller files, but with today's fast CPU's, FLAC files can be quickly transcoded (without "ripping") to MP3/AAC/Vorbis when needed.

As you know by now, the audio quality of FLAC is the same as the source (lossless). Transcoding from FLAC to MP3 will give you the same quality as ripping from CD to MP3, but much faster. Transcoding an iTunes Store AAC to MP3 will give you crappy audio quality.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

Josh Coalson (538042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262692)

Interoperability is a problem for FLAC (most hardware players don't support it), but it shouldn't be because FLAC is free and open. I wish DVD players/changers would play FLAC files the same way current CD players play mp3 files.


there are several that do, check out http://flac.sourceforge.net/links.html#hardware [sourceforge.net]

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (4, Insightful)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260640)

Its much more likely that people can't tell the difference. Most people think 128kbps mp3 is 'cd quality'. For those of us who know that that's a crock, there's V2 and V0, or even 320cbr. Almost nobody can tell the difference between 320 and flac. So why should people who want to download the latest slammin RnB hit want anything else?

Also with the way p2p mp3s are, if flac became popular, people would just transcode their 128kbps mp3s to flac.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260678)

Also with the way p2p mp3s are, if flac became popular, people would just transcode their 128kbps mp3s to flac.
Coool. That would recover the lost quality, then?

Informative (1)

dunc78 (583090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261770)

Should be informative, not funny, because sadly people think you can just make lost information reappear. I had somebody tell me that they could fit an entire HD movie, compressed losslessly, on a CD-R.

Machinima? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265668)

I had somebody tell me that they could fit an entire HD movie, compressed losslessly, on a CD-R.
Was the compression technique called machinima [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Informative (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268678)

I had somebody tell me that they could fit an entire HD movie, compressed losslessly, on a CD-R.

Yeah, well, see, what they do is they take all the bits and shave down the sides and make them hexagonal instead of square so that they can pack them together a lot tighter.

A micron here, a micron there, after a while, you're talking real gigabytes. (with apologies to the late Sen. Dirksen)

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261082)

Almost nobody can tell the difference between 320 and flac. So why should people who want to download the latest slammin RnB hit want anything else?

Right *slap on my head* this answers my first question pretty easily. Anyway I still can't find, just for curiosity, a stat on the usage of various music file formats (I guess doing stats on files shared on SoulSeek would be a good indicator). If anyone knows of one, I'd like to see it.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261506)

Almost nobody can tell the difference between 320 and flac. So why should people who want to download the latest slammin RnB hit want anything else?
And in what universe is the "latest slammin RnB hit" available for download (legally) at 320 kbps? iTunes is 128 kbps AAC. The highest bitrate I've seen for "hit" artists (RIAA controlled) is 192 kbps WMA.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

Chonine (840828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269736)

I store all of my music as FLAC, and I will tell you why.

Once upon a time, mp3 was 1/10th to 1/5th the size of the original PCM audio off the CD. At this time, the benefits of the space savings were huge, while the loss in quality was negligible. My entire CD collection of roughly 200 CDs, is roughly 100GB as PCM, strait ripped off the CD. When a 14GB hard drive was considered huge, yeah, I was happier to have my audio as 128Kbps mp3 files.

Now things have changed. The sizes of new hard drives are more than I know how to fill up. (Others know how though... ) So now I can ask myself... I have 500GB of free space. Would I rather use up 50GB (FLAC seems to be roughly 50% the size of the original on average) of that space and have files that are identical to the original CD? Or save another 40GB at some loss? Both are marginal differences, but I would say that the cost of the extra 40GB on my drive being used is less of a concern for me than having compressed audio. I mean, the whole point of the big drive is to store stuff, not to be as unused as possible. With these "original" FLACs, you can do neat things.

Lets say FLAC is improved, or FLAC2 comes out. I could convert my entire library from one to the other, lossless to lossless, but pick up any new features or better compression. Once you have your ogg/mp3/aac, you should really stick with it, and not reencode to something else. I could set up a media player to transcode to mp3 on the fly when I need, and as mp3 itself improves, I can always have the best of the best there.

Now, it fits my needs because the only music I have are from CDs that I buy, and I don't use a media player. I can stow my CD collection away and not have to deal with it, or worry about having to rerip it one day into the latest. I've done it twice, first with 100 or so CDs (into some VBR 160 format ages ago, slowly upping that bitrate as time went on), and after setting up this 500GB monstrocity, did it again with 200 CDs or so to FLAC. It isn't fun and so long as I am a good backer upper, never again. If you must have a media player that plays FLAC, they exist, or there exists an alt firmware to your player to do it. Recoding on the fly isn't too bad I hear, but certainly slows it down. Either way, 500GB on a media player is inevitable, so lossy audio has little purpose going into the future. Even bandwidth wise, FLAC seems to stream fine over a LAN, and I don't use it beyond that.

For other uses, including music piracy, or streaming across low bandwidth links, or non-music purposes, mp3 will always have its uses, but they are shrinking.

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262404)

'' I always thought that with the advent of broadband and cheap 10^2-gigabyte storage, FLAC would have overtook mp3, ''

The iPod doesn't support FLAC.

(It does support Apple Lossless, but player energy consumption is proportional to megabytes of music read, so you really don't want any lossless encoding on your iPod).

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260560)

Indeed, other compressed formats would have, and have, come about.

But as mp3 was the first to rule the net what is the added value of your observation?

Re:if wasn't this format, it would have been anoth (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260778)

The point was that the record industry can be upset with this individual for creating mp3 (not saying they are upset, just hypothetically), but that the end result was inevitible.

extended and changed (5, Interesting)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260486)

the mp3 format has been extended and changed so much, and had stuff added and removed (vbr, abr, and tagging.... tagging shouldnt have even been there, since mp3 is a datastream not a container), over time. its hardly the same format now.

Re:extended and changed (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260768)

the mp3 format has been extended and changed so much, and had stuff added and removed (vbr, abr, and tagging.... tagging shouldnt have even been there, since mp3 is a datastream not a container), over time. its hardly the same format now.
So how do the patents stand up then?

Re:extended and changed (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260818)

if original decoders cant decode a standard mp3 now, technicaly, they shouldnt, since it should be classed as a different format.

Rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260894)

The changes are inconsequential fluff and do not represent any inventive step themselves.
Patents are awarded for inventions, tweaking the format of a file might make it incompatible but it isn't enough to get around a patent. You would have to invent a new way to compress to do that.

Re:extended and changed (1)

metalcoat (918779) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261092)

I disagree with the tagging effort. Although corrupt files happen I do not want to rely on one program's internal database.

1. What happens if the database is corrupted? (rather than just a few files)
2. How do I transfer said database to new program? (old program support withdrawn)
3. Transferring to devices would no longer support drag and drop to standard usb players.

Correct me anywhere I'm wrong, but I would love an extendable database that is universal to all programs.

Re:extended and changed (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261226)

If they'd bothered to wrap a proper container around mp3 to begin with, adding tags would be a lot easier and junk like the Xing header wouldn't be necessary. It doesn't help that ID3v2 is a prime example of the second-system effect [catb.org]. If a bit more foresight was taken when mp3 was pushed out the door, I expect it'd be a much better format than it is now.

Re:extended and changed (0)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262292)

the mp3 format has been extended and changed so much, and had stuff added and removed (vbr, abr, and tagging.... tagging shouldnt have even been there, since mp3 is a datastream not a container), over time. its hardly the same format now.
something to understand about the mpeg series, they are defined in terms of what a decoder must be able to decode so new methods of analysing the audio and deciding what is worth including and with what precision do not change the format.

Re:extended and changed (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264910)

its hardly the same format now.

No, it's exactly the same format now, as it always was. VBR vs CBR is an improvement, as are the much newer psycho-acoustic models, but it's still 100% MP3 format. The earliest decoders, if they weren't written to be very strict, could decode the newest MP3s just fine.

MOMMY, CAN I GO OUT AND KILL FREEBSD? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260554)

Mommy, can I go out and kill FreeBSD?

Uh... (1)

xuixinho (1044246) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260662)

"Suzanne Vega was a catastrophe. Terrible distortion," Brandenburg recalls.
So it was perfect and they screwed it up?

Re:Uh... (3, Interesting)

o'reor (581921) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261020)

Hi, I've been working for a few months myself on the subject of audio codecs, at Orange (France Telecom) R&D department, and I can confirm that Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" is a popular tune to test new codecs on (alongside with a tune from "The Cranberries" first album).

You can judge your codec on the overall quality of sound (distortion), the rendering of consonants, the residual noise in silences between two uttered words, etc. Of course, various other kinds of samples were used too (orchestral music, plain speech, male/female voices, and so on).

Developing codecs was fun, but I got tired of it after a while, and I went back to developing Linux programs on embedded systems in another company...

Tom's Diner: It was a fan (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18263948)

IIRC, the issue is a fan that was runnning "silently" in the studio where Vega recorded the song. Of course, "silence" for human ears is not silence for a perceputal audio codec. The result was that the codec was throwing critical bits away trying to encode this fan noise that nobody should have been able to hear, and the rest of the song came out terribly distorted.

Or at least, that's the story I heard from one of the MP3 and AAC inventors.

Re:Tom's Diner: It was a fan (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265574)

Similar to this, a simpler codec that I was considering (perhaps in 1994?) made one passage sound better because it didn't encode an audible background hum.

Re:Tom's Diner: It was a fan (2, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268552)

Okay, I just asked an expert in the field, and he told me that the issue with that song is that the mix makes little errors sound louder. I apologize, but I wasn't able to follow the technical details enough to explain them here.

I specifically asked about this fan story and he said "No, that's not it."

Now that I think about it, this explanation is patently silly. The whole job of a perceptual audio codec is to throw away anything that human ears cannot hear; if inaudible fan noise is being preferentially encoded, that's a horrible bug in a perceptual coder.

steveha

Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (5, Interesting)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260730)

What isn't mentioned in Herr Brandenburg's interview is that Fraunhofer have been playing both sides. If you've bought an MP3 capable player, you've paid Fraunhofer royalties. But Fraunhofer have been playing both sides: developing tools to track MP3s using watermarks so record companies crack down on piracy:

http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/securi ty/story/0,10801,108506,00.html [computerworld.com]
http://p2pnet.net/index.php?page=reply&story=878 [p2pnet.net]

They've been expanding their IP business too: Next time you run BitTorrent or eMule (they do both), run it with a network tracker. You'll see computers from Fraunhofer affiliates all over the world taking a peek at what you're downloading.

http://greatinca.net/blog/emule-ip-blocker-hits-04 022006/ [greatinca.net]

Does this mean Fraunhofer's merry band of teutonic scientists can be both co-defendants and expert-witnesses in your case?

Re:Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (2, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261100)

Good link. For those who don't know.. An 'ipfilter.dat' file can block IPs from certain companies and agencies you may not want spying on you. And here's how to install it manually. 1)Rename a blank .txt file to-> ipfilter.dat 2)Download an IP Filter List off a security website ( see parent ) and copy its contents into your ipfilter.dat. You may have to Right Click->Open With->Notepad . 3)Copy it to "C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\uTorrent\" . 4)In uTorrent Options->Preferences->Advanced. Change ipfilter.enable to true . 5)Restart uTorrent

Re:Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (1)

richteas (244342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261182)

You'll see computers from Fraunhofer affiliates all over the world taking a peek at what you're downloading.

http://greatinca.net/blog/emule-ip-blocker-hits-04 [greatinca.net] 022006/

Does this mean Fraunhofer's merry band of teutonic scientists can be both co-defendants and expert-witnesses in your case?


No, it could also mean that Fraunhofer's merry band of teutonic scientists is no different than other people in their usage of P2P networks. The fact that computers from some Fraunhofer Institute shows up in some IP list doesn't mean they are on the network to monitor others or operate fake servers. Many of their scientists do research in other fields than compression technology/piracy tracking (http://www.fraunhofer.de/fhg/EN/research/index.js p [fraunhofer.de]), for what sane reason would they be tracking you?

Re:Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18270314)

There are several companies who have bounty contracts with the RIAA and MPAA to track piracy. BayTSP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BayTSP [wikipedia.org] is one. I read that Fraunhofer is another and that they'd expanded into tracking movies on BitTorrent. They scrape your PC, look for checksums and watermarks on your media, then contact the RIAA or MPAA if they find anything.

Check the logs on that original link which has attempts by Fraunhofer recorded, or fire up BitTorrent yourself and watch Fraunhofer come to you. Try it! It *is* possible that there are rogue employees at Fraunhofer pirating movies, but to do it directly from the offices of Fraunhofer at the same time as Fraunhofer is selling DRM tech to media owners seems a little hard to swallow. Seems more likely this is their DRM effort.

Re:Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261696)

What isn't mentioned in Herr Brandenburg's interview is that Fraunhofer have been playing both sides. If you've bought an MP3 capable player, you've paid Fraunhofer royalties. But Fraunhofer have been playing both sides: developing tools to track MP3s using watermarks so record companies crack down on piracy
Well, for one that are actually different institutes of the Fraunhofer group: He developed MP3 here [fraunhofer.de], now works here [fraunhofer.de], but the watermarks were developped (oddly enough) here [fraunhofer.de], then here [fraunhofer.de], and now here [fraunhofer.de]. Which is just a small number of the institutes in the FHG.

Re:Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18270550)

Here's the log entry from the one poking around inside eMule. Wonder if they were testing their DRM software or pirating.

193.174.64.0 - 193.174.67.255 Hits=2 [L2]Fraunhofer-Institut

Re:Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267614)

What isn't mentioned in Herr Brandenburg's interview is that Fraunhofer have been playing both sides.
Why is this considered playing both sides? I fail to see the connection.

Mp3 by itself is not "for" piracy. It is a media format, plain and simple. Legal mp3s are sold all over the internet, and I have an entire hard drive of completely legal mp3s I ripped from my own CD collection. Frauenhofer's involvement in piracy searches is testament to the fact that they want their products used for legal reasons, not for illegal ones. (It's also a good defense against making mp3 illegal because of the proliferation or encouragement of illegal use, a la Grokster.)

Analogy time! If a gun company worked with law enforcement to help raid the streets and seize illegally purchased weapons, would they be "playing both sides"? No... their product is sold for legal purposes, and they are simply helping enforce the current law by stopping illegal uses of their product.

Whether or not current law is just/fair/reasonable/appropriate is irrelevant to this particular discussion, and left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Fraunhofer: The people who made piracy possible (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18270458)

MP3 is the world's pirated music format of choice, and everyone knows it. Including Fraunhofer. The lawyerspeak and public hand wringing on articles such as this will keep them out of RIAA suits, but we know, and they know, and the RIAA know too.

Don't *really* expect Fraunhofer scientists to be expert witnesses for the prosecution at the very same trial they're co-defendants. Nevertheless it'd be fun to see the lawyer for the next poor sap dragged before the RIAA to try it. ;-)

I have an announcement to make... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261014)

Not only am I the rightful creator of the MP3 format, but I am also the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby girl...That is all...

Milking the patent (1)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261068)

MP3 patents have generated tens of millions in royalty payments for the nonprofit Fraunhofer, including $143 million in 2005, when the number of companies buying MP3 licenses peaked.

Presumably then, MP3 technology is going to net Fraunhofer over $1 billion over its lifetime.

Does this strike anyone else as kind of ridiculous? I mean, it's nice that cool inventions are rewarded. But $1 billion for one invention? I feel like this is the flipside of how patent law skews things in computer science. The other side being the cases where a tiny company is sued out of existence for using a linked list.

Re:Milking the patent (1)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262416)

In these days of outrageous compensation, with CEO's being gifted $200Million on retirement, it seems pretty reasonable to me that the inventor of a wildly popular technology would be compensated for it.

Or, how about Creative's settlement with Apple.. $100Million for a ridiculously obvious text menu system?

Consider how much the companies using the technology have made. Would it be better if that $1Billion was instead given 60% to Apple and the remaining 40% divided among the various other players?

If anything, it sounds like they were not compensated well enough (setting aside the whole issue of whether an algorithm should be patentable).

Re:Milking the patent (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264766)

Does this strike anyone else as kind of ridiculous?

No, since they actually invented it. If someone else had invented it, then gone out of business, and they'd bought up the patent and made tons of money on it, then it would be ridiculous.

Patent holder (0)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261730)

man most often cited as the inventor of.. I'm not familiar with the whos and who of mp3, but it was under my impression it was patented hense all these threats of lawsuits. So who really made it first? The patent holder or if different this guy.

f7uc4.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261734)

successe5 swith the that should be since then. More Told reporters,

Suzanne Vega on The ScreenSavers (1)

SixArmedJesus (513025) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262256)

I remember (back before TechTV got bought out and became crap) that Suzanne Vega was on The ScreenSavers and talking to Leo Laporte about this very topic. If I remember correctly, she was actually very unhappy about the whole MP3 idea, especially since it was her music that they used to help fine tune the codec. It surprises me a bit that the article states that Karlheinz met her at the MP3 commemoration event.

JJ Johnston should get credit too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18264938)

Karlheinz Brandenburg did much of his work on MP3 as a postdoc working under JJ Johnston at Bell Labs. JJ Johnston had done pioneering work on the psychoacoustic aspects of audio encoding, including a codec called PAC (Perceptual Audio Codec). Do a patent search for audio patents under the name "James D. Johnston".

JJ Johnston later went on to help develop AAC. These days, JJ Johnston works at Microsoft, developing audio technology.

In 2006 the IEEE awarded the James L. Flanagan Speech & Audio Processing Award to JJ Johnston.

http://home.comcast.net/~retired_old_jj/ [comcast.net]

http://www.ieee.org/portal/pages/about/awards/bios /2006FlanaganSpeechAudioProcessingAward.html [ieee.org]

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/ex-bell-labs -researcher-played-role/story.aspx?guid=%7B6D73DA9 E-AA07-4A2B-9D2B-25C7815974A3%7D&dist=MostReadHome [marketwatch.com]

Re:JJ Johnston should get credit too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18268382)

Actually, that's not quite right. JJ's first codec was called "PXFM", not "PAC". PAC in great part is what became MPEG-2 AAC. Those predictors are not his fault, though.

PXFM was a whole lot more primitive, there's a 1988?1989? paper on it.

PAC was work he did with Anibal Ferriera rather later than PXFM/ASPEC/MP3.

Overrated... (3, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265350)

MP3 is simply overrated. Today, with all the vast improvements to MP3 sound quality that have been made by LAME, such as VBR and psycho acoustic models, it's still less than a 33% bitrate reduction over MP2.

At the time (mid to late '90s) when it was still CBR, and sounded pretty lowsy. It was barely any improvement at all over the MP2 files that were popular around the web. What's worse, MP3 used significantly more CPU power to accomplish that small bitrate savings.

It seems those who forget history are doomed to repeat it... It's a whole new level of sad to find people talking encoding their music to high-bitrate MP3s for better sound quality... It's been pretty universally accepted for a very long time that, at 192K or above, MP2 sounds far better than MP3 can ever hope to, at any bitrate. The frequency domain coding required by MP3 causes distortions that the time domain coding of MP2 does not. This (plus better error resiliency) is why broadcasters use MP2, and won't touch MP3.

And nobody better try to tell me they need MP3s for compatibility... MP3 is 100% backwards compatible... Rename your MP2 files to .mp3 and any MP3 player in the world will handle it.

While I'm ranting... the same goes for MPEG video. MPEG-1 looks better than MPEG-2 videos at low bitrates, and even better than MPEG-4 (IMO) at very low bitrates. Any format that can play MPEG-4 can play MPEG-2, and anything that can play MPEG-2 can play MPEG-1 (which happens to be patent-free for years now).

German Law? (2, Interesting)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265540)

Brandenburg hasn't become a dot-com zillionaire from his work on MP3, but he received a substantial cut of the royalty payments under a German law that entitles researchers to a share of the profits from their inventions. (He won't say how much.)
What law is that? Do we have anything like that in the USA? Man, that sounds like a great law. Usually the researchers/scientists do all the real work and then the corporate execs get all the big salaries.

Re:German Law? (1)

Enlil (1062246) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266178)

in the U.S. investors/shareholders enjoy most of the profits from research; execs' profits come in at a dismal 2nd. incidentally, most of the research is funded by tax dollars via the NSF and defense spending, and the resultant technologies and products are then shelled out as corporate welfare (free tech for corporations). these technologies and products are then sold to consumers in the U.S. by the very companies they have subsidized. true story.

Re:German Law? (1)

Ozan (176854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269374)

It is the German "Arbeitnehmererfindungsgesetz", "employees' invention law". The employee receives a share of the earnings through patent royalties based on his involvement in the creation of the invention.

It considers the employees initiative and involvement in finding a new solution for a problem. How much exactly the employee is paid for is calculated in a complex formula. I could not find an english page about it but maybe you get the idea by looking at this http://www.arbeitnehmererfindungsgesetz.de/komment ar/verguetung.htm [arbeitnehm...sgesetz.de].

Re:German Law? (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269554)

Thanks for the link. I had German in high school, though I am _very_ rusty. While I am a natural born American, my heritage is German and Irish (grandparents), so those are two cultures that I really love.
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