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Freedb.org Returns to Life 49

Posted by Zonk
from the good-to-see-them-back dept.
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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Freedb.org Returns to Life

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  • Freedb2? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:42PM (#16330029) Journal
    And what's going to happen to Freedb2 [freedb2.org] (site that one of original founders forked from Freedb) then?
    • Re:Freedb2? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trogre (513942) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:49PM (#16330119) Homepage
      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? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Horar (521864) <{slashdot} {at} {asmith.id.au}> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:03PM (#16331505) Homepage
        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? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Jay Carlson (28733) on Friday October 06, 2006 @03:20AM (#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.
          • 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

            • by indifferent children (842621) on Friday October 06, 2006 @06:42AM (#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.

              • by NoMaster (142776)
                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 / Ni
                • 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 copyrigh

          • by Horar (521864)
            If you are serious then please contact me.
    • by SkyDude (919251)
      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.
    • by wwwillem (253720)
      FreeDB2 will be bought by IBM....
      • by Horar (521864)
        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.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:43PM (#16330037) Homepage
    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.
    • by Lazerf4rt (969888)
      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: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Horar (521864)
        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 h
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

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

      • 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.
  • MusicBrainz (Score:5, Informative)

    by BobNET (119675) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:48PM (#16330093)
    Most FreeDB/CDDB clients can access MusicBrainz through a CDDB gateway: http://musicbrainz.org/doc/CddbGateway [musicbrainz.org]
  • by pen (7191) * on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:06PM (#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.

    • by tuxlove (316502)
      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
      • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:26PM (#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.
        • by tuxlove (316502)
          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
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by shish (588640)
          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.

          • by nlago (187984)

            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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          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.
    • by vanza (125693)
      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.)

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:16PM (#16330407) Homepage
    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeO (951) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:18PM (#16330421) Homepage
    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: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Teresita (982888)
      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."
    • by Horar (521864)
      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?
      • by mkaiser (20342)
        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.
        • by Horar (521864)
          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.
  • 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
  • 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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