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The Almighty Buck

Creative Boycotts CeBit Over MP3s 195

underwhelm writes "According to ZDNet, Creative Labs is boycotting CeBit because the trade show has banned all MP3-related devices, presumably at the behest of the 'content industry.'"
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Creative Boycotts CeBit

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  • if you'll note carefully, that is a fault on all of their pages, currently. I'd send them an email telling them they have a problem but they 1) are probably aware of it 2) i can't access their email contact page because of the following error message:

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e07' [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server] The conversion of a char data type to a datetime data type resulted in an out-of-range datetime value. /global/inc/banner.asp, line 192

  • I ment to say CeBit bend and bite, not Creative Labs. Pardon me.

  • I like the way you threw my comments back at me. Very witty.

    To put my original point in a more precise way -
    Associating MP3s with guns is a fucked idea.

    Sorry, this is about as off topic as I get. go molest someone else.

  • Very nice, Zinsser says "Be clear and concise."
  • Hehe of course :-) you got a point

    no make that, you got *the* point :-)

  • Obviously you're reading and math retarded. I have MP3 players, Minidisc and Sony's stick player. I've done the comparisons on files sized which you have obviously not done. The SDMI wrapper adds a few hundred bytes.

    Here's 10 minidiscs and a player; here's an MP3 player with 64Mb of Ram for the same price. Now,
    the minidisc gives 740 minutes of play time, and
    the MP3 player, say 90minutes. Now, you can get
    more expensive HD MP3 players but watch the price
    shoot up. See... *price* *performance*...

  • The FILE FORMAT itself is an open standard, adopted by IEEE, IIRC.
    That would be very unfortunate; I hope you are wrong. In any case, the file format is "open" in the sense that it is not secret, but there *are* patent restrictions on it.
    You can get non-proprietary encoder, which LAME is now. Maybe they renamed the program now it is its own encoder.
    Yes, LAME is not proprietary, however the algorithms it (illegally) uses *are* proprietary, in that they are patented and use through LAME is not authorized. Furthermore, it does not appear mathematically possible to encode MP3s without infringing Fraunhaufer's patents.
    The format decoders are totally free of proprietary IP and patents, IIRC.
    That's true. I realize that, in practice, mp3 almost seems free. But realize that the mp3 situation is precisely analogous to the GIF situation. The mp3 format is becoming a de facto standard but it is not quite popular enough, just as it once was with GIF. Right now, LAME and other encoders are in practice allowed to exist without serious resistence, just as GIF encoders once were permitted, before GIF became the de facto standard for non-lossy compressed images. I do not think it is paranoid to expect a GIF-like crack-down on MP3 encoders once MP3 becomes ubiquitous, especially as it becomes utilized in hardware which cannot simply be upgraded to add OGG support as our browsers are upgraded to add PNG support. Once MP3 achieves this ubiquity it will be too late for people to switch to another format without a great deal of work, just as it is proving very difficult to get people to switch to PNG right now.

    Fraunhaufer is relatively benevolent right now, because MP3 users are armed with the power to change format, and so they have ot be. But the history of GIF and others (esp. trademarks) teaches us that as soon as the power shifts into the hands of the corporation, the benevolence will end. So that's why I say burn all mp3s.

  • as far as I've heard Creative wasn't allowed to display their MP3-Players because CeBIT is a business-oriented fair, not a consumer-oriented fair. Creative will be at IFA, Berlin. Full article is at Heise Newsticker [heise.de] (in German language though).
  • I think it's really sad when record companies are stifling technological innovation just because it means the end of the Big Five screwing artists and the consumers by getting fat on big profits. If CD's weren't the price they were today chances are you would be worrying less about piracy and the "threat" of MP3 to the current order of things.

    MP3 is the format that puts the power back to the artist and the consumer where it belongs. You can't stop it, so the only smart thing to do is not to fight it but to roll with it. Take advantage of the MP3 explosion. If MP3 is so widespread then use it to spread word about new music (like MP3.com) and to make more money. But unless the Big Five pulls their head of their ass then they'll suffer the consequences.

    Self Bias Resistor
    "You'll never need more then 640k of memory." -Bill Gates

  • > It doesn't help when you spread FUD...

    No, but I'm not spreading FUD, unless by FUD you mean truth.

    > Not true. You have 2 routes, convert to ATRAC, or wrap the file with a SDMI compliant
    > wrapper which leaves the file in MP3 format but lets the player handle it like any other file.

    Fine, so there is an alternative to the ATRAC conversion--an alternative which *STILL* requires an extra, unnecessary, step. So, my point stands, since either way it's adding unneeded complexity. Is there any reason that to use an mp3 you already have, you would have to wrap it in SDMI bullshit? Umm, no, since you already have the mp3 in a non-SDMI format, there is no logical reason to impose this highly useless step. Bah.

    >>This takes time and effort and makes the files almost twice as large as a normal mp3.
    > Nope. ATRAC is as efficent, if not more so than MP3 than file compression.

    Yes, ATRAC is efficient; but you, evidently, are not. Had you been paying attention, you would have seen that I was talking about converting an existing mp3 file to ATRAC for use with Sony's badly designed mp3 players, mp3 players which do not in fact play standard mp3s since you have to either convert the mp3 file to ATRAC or, as you pointed out, give it an SDMI wrapper. Converting an mp3 file into an ATRAC file causes the file size to nearly double in many cases--I suppose this is a result of recompressing the file into an entirely different compression format.

    > You are
    > obviously repeating half remembered stuff from other /.'rs.

    No, you are obviously not paying attention. I'm repeating what I know FROM PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE. I'd never buy one of these Sony monstrosities, but a friend of mine has one that I've played with. Yes, from personal experience, recompressing an mp3 into ATRAC can double file size. I didn't even know the option existed to put an SDMI wrapper around an mp3 file and use that instead of ATRAC, which means that the software is either extremely bad or the type of Sony player my friend had doesn't have this option (I believe Sony makes at least 3 "mp3" players).

    > It can be suggested that
    > it will take twice the space because you'd have 2 copies of the file, one wrapped/
    > converted, one unwrapped.

    No, as I said you're just not paying attention. Try to read *before* you flame, kay?

    >>They obviously want to make it more complicated than necessary to use their mp3 players,
    > Insert CD. Select autocheckout. Press record. Player loaded. Hey, maybe you should
    > try using the stuff first?

    I never mentioned ripping from CDs to the mp3 player, something fewer people would want to do than to just download to the player mp3s which are already on his HD. As I said, using existing mp3 files is a pain in the ass. Why should they have to be converted first? Because Sony wants to make it difficult to use mp3 players, so that everyone will stay with/switch to MiniDisc. Sony needs to make one themselves to compete with the other companies making mp3 players, but that doesn't mean that Sony wants to make them easy to use; Sony has a long history of discouraging products even as they make them, to try to get people to switch to formats they better approve of. Umm, remember Beta, and how Sony tried to get everyone to switch from VHS to that but prices were never on par since Sony demanded royalty fees for each Beta-format product, whereas VHS was more affordable because Sony wasn't milking everyone?

    >> so that customers will switch back to CDs and MiniDiscs.
    > You mean them minidiscs which offer better price performance than MP3?

    Now you're just being retarded, comparing a type of media to a file format. Well, mp3s could easily be stored on MiniDiscs, you know. And, how pray tell do MiniDiscs offer better price/performance than mp3 players? Last time I went to Best Buy, MiniDiscs were pretty damned expensive. I could buy a whole spindle of quality Imation 12x 80min CD-Rs for the same price as a paltry few MiniDiscs, thanks to Sony's insane licensing fees. News flash: MiniDisc is losing, because of Sony's excessive royalty demands, just like consumer Beta lost for the same reason. MiniDisc devices have been out for far longer than mp3 players have, but with that huge advantage they haven't conquered the market. And, they won't, because of Sony's greed over their pet proprietary formats. mp3 players are getting cheaper and gaining larger capacities, but I have yet to see any significant evolutionary developments in MiniDic players. Sony's SACD format will fail for the same reason, especially since other companies are moving towards DVD-Audio; why should they pay Sony to license SACD, when they can use DVD-Audio for free (the major labels are all part of the DVD Consortium).

    But, I digress. My point stands about Sony's mp3 players being unnecessarily complicated in requiring ATRAC or SDMI conversion for existing mp3 files, and I continue to support my statement that Sony is supporting mp3 players half-heartedly, to try to take marketshare away from real mp3 player manufacturers like Creative and Diamond, while simultaneously using a poor implementation to try to leave consumers with a bad taste in their mouths which they'll unfairly blame on mp3 devices in general instead of on Sony in particular.

  • We need to stop the government from making these laws that turn the common person in a criminal. The government should NOT uphold laws that a huge percentage of its citizens don't obey - that's usually indicative that a law is unjust. Most people would never think about murdering somebody or breaking into a store and stealing stuff, because those things are morally wrong. However, many people don't think twice about downloading an mp3 or smoking pot. Why? Because these actions don't hurt anybody (except possibly the person doing them, but that's debatable anyway). The RIAA doesn't lose any money when you download an mp3 - they just don't get a sale which probably wouldn't have happened anyway.

    A good indicator of a corrupt government is the number of laws they pass - they gain a lot of power by making everybody a criminal in one form or another. Then, for example, if a group of people is peacefully protesting the government, they can shut them up by arresting them on other charges. This is a dangerous position to leave the government in. We need to speak up and have unjust laws overturned - the DCMA, UCITA, drug laws, encryption laws, and other vicimless crimes (including punching someone in the dark :-), as well as crimes which are specifically designed to protect the corporations and the media at the expense of the common citizen.
  • Oh my, has a mere codec become so dangerous as to threaten a conference?!

    Codec's are software, software is the implementation of an idea, and ideas are _very_ dangerous things if you are the status quo.

    Remove the rocks from my head to send email
  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @02:35AM (#784177) Homepage
    CeBIT and Creative were argueing about the target audience. MP3 and copyright issues were *not* the problem, a very loud consumer-oriented booth was. CeBIT wants to become a business fair (again), but Creative wants to attract consumers.

    As someone who has worked on CeBIT as booth personnel, let me tell you that multimedia booths are a real problem. There are regulations against too loud exhibitors, but many companies on CeBIT don't care. The organizers are now trying to enforce these rules a little bit more.

    CeBIT did *not* ban Creative, but *Creative* decided not to be there. Instead, Creative will be on next years' largest German consumer fair, the "Funkausstellung". This fair is not a specific IT business fair, but targets your average TV / vcr / dvd / stereo / videogame consumer.

    I *am* getting a bit nervous about Slashdot's namecalling recently.

  • I couldn't have said it better.
    Corperation's first responsibility is to thier sock holders. It is all well and good that they can be on the right side here but it is thier job to make money. Not to uphold the rights of computer users.
  • by Threed ( 886 )
    Back in the day, stealing someone's horse was worse than murder. They'd string you up without a trial and the sheriff would look the other way.

    I bet that back in the day, the average person felt that Justice was on his side. Nowadays, Justice is half crap-shoot / half payola.

    The real Threed's /. ID is lower than the real Bruce Perens'.

  • Get the facts straight before screaming "censorship". Please.

    CeBIT [cebit.de] is a business-, not a consumer-oriented trade show, or at least the makers want it to be. Since Creative's plans involved (again) to have a very large, very loud booth praising their consumer-devices, CeBIT told them they couldn't do that. That specifically. Creative pulled out entirely, and booked IFA [ifa-berlin.de] instead.

    CeBIT has since changed its mind, but Creative don't want to change their plans again, understandably enough.

    Details at (for example, this is in German): http://www.ix.de/newsticker/data /chr-11.09.00-002/ [www.ix.de].

  • Good point, I agree. The proliferation of devices and software that can play mp3s sometimes makes me forget that the format is actually proprietary. I prefer Ogg Vorbis too, but would support anything over an attempt to control playback of the file a la CSS and what some of these executives were proposing. At least anyone who has an mp3 can play it on whatever they like.
  • MS Word was used to assemble the Terrorist's Handbook... let's ban Word too!
  • Indeed the licensing is expensive, but you can buy a chip from SGS Thomson that does all the work. It's the STA013 [st.com]. The purchase price of the chip includes the license pre-paid. Kind of interesting that it's Thomson that controls the MP3 license fees [mp3licensing.com]. Somehow I doubt they'll make their chips able to do Vorbis or other formats. There is another chip [intermetall.de] that's actually easier to use and comes with the license pre-paid, but it is considerably more expensive. Chips like that cool looking new thing from Cirrus/Crystal [cirrus.com] are really just microcontrollers and it looks like you need a license, and it's not even clear from their website if the object-code-only library is provided for royalty or free (beer).

    For a player that fits into the world envisioned by Thomson & Fraunhofer IIS-A, it's really not that expensive to make a cool MP3 player...
    <shameless plug>
    ...like this one that I've been working on lately [pjrc.com].
    </shameless plug>

  • The FILE FORMAT itself is an open standard, adopted by IEEE, IIRC.

    Fraunhaufer had the original encoder. That's where the stickiness is. You can get non-proprietary encoder, which LAME is now. Maybe they renamed the program now it is its own encoder.

    All the encoder really is is a piece of software that decides which parts of the signal should be represented in the compressed file.

    The format decoders are totally free of proprietary IP and patents, IIRC. Some are shareware, freeware, GPL, although some are totally closed source payware, but no decoder pays royalties to read the format itself. Some might to use someone else's code tree though.

    There is a significant difference. SDMI enabled formats are definitely proprietary in every way and are far worse in this respect.

  • Further to the above, there is at least one manufacturer whose CD-ROM drives will not allow extraction of CD-DA, a restriction placed deliberately as a result of the dubious (at least, according to this manufacturer) legality of the resultant data.
  • Vorbis is also superior, providing better quality at similar sizes. I don't know if it's implemented yet, but they're planning on imbedding lyrics and other things into the files as well (no more relying on lyrics.ch).

    There are also plugins available for most mp3 players to use it, so you may want to give it a try. After all, it's completely unencumbered by patents, and it doesn't look like big business will try to get ahold of it just, so you can still feel like a rebel.
  • I've heard of similar things happening at other trade shows when a major exhibitor, such as Apple or Microsoft, threatens to pull out of the show unless their demands are met. It may be sleazy, but as far as I know, it isn't illegal.
  • In any case, the file format is "open" in the sense that it is not secret, but there *are* patent restrictions on it.

    Are there any patent restricitions other than the Fraunhoffer encoder? I haven't heard about it.

    AFAIK the Fraunhoffer encoder is the *only* proprietary thing about it, and Fraunhoffer *already* tried to crack down on its use. The encoder is only a human-psycho-acoustic model for stuffing the best bits into the file. Build your own psycho-acoustic model and encoder and you are set, AFIAK. Maybe you know more about the math than I do, but that's long been my impression.

    I support a move to make a totally free audio format, but in my opinion, the only reason corporate pressure will be applied to removing MP3 is to move us to much more *closed* formats rather than try to milk the MP3 for cash, because they want to milk some closed format for even more cash.

    Also, I was wrong on something else you didn't notice, I think it's an ISO standard, not IEEE, part of the MPEG-1 standard. Remember that? MPEG-1 Layer 3? The ISO reference code has some of Fraunhoffer's work and that's how these encoders got out in the first place, the reference code was freely available.
  • by ChristianBaekkelund ( 99069 ) <draco AT mit DOT edu> on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:29PM (#784189) Homepage
    This MP3 ridiculousness has reached an all time. CeBit is banning a compression/decompression scheme?! Oh my, has a mere codec become so dangerous as to threaten a conference?!

    I just can't believe it...What would you think if SIGGRAPH banned jpeg? This insane!

    Beware the dangerous codec!!!

  • AFAIK the Fraunhoffer encoder is the *only* proprietary thing about it, and Fraunhoffer *already* tried to crack down on its use.
    To some extent they have, but they haven't been doing so aggressively.
    Build your own psycho-acoustic model and encoder and you are set, AFIAK. Maybe you know more about the math than I do, but that's long been my impression.
    To the question of whether any patent-free mp3 encoders exist: Here [debian.org] is the announcement that Debian will not include mp3 encoders because of Fraunhaufer's patent, including a link to the patent on IBM's patent DB web site. Furthermore, according to the LAME web site [a-net.nl], "Personal and commercial use of compiled versions of LAME (or any other mp3 encoder) requires a patent license [a-net.nl]in some countries." The LAME web site server is notably located outside of the US.

    There is an MP3 IP FAQ [a-net.nl] which answers the question "16. If I don't use their source, can I make my own MP3 encoder without paying FhG?" with "If you infringe on their techniques, it is within their rights to seek recourse, whether or not you had help from them, or whether or not you intentionally or knowingly infriged."

    As to my claim that it may not be mathematically possible to create an MP3 encoder without infringing Fraunhaufer's patents -- I was just repeating what I have heard from many knowledgeable people. I doubt anyone has proved that it is impossible, but the bottom line is that nobody has done it yet, and the best policy is probably to refrain from using MP3 until someone does, if someone does. Or how about this: just don't use any patented encoders. That includes all existing MP3 encoders, so you'd better stick with OGG!

    For a complete overview of the MP3 patent situation see this page from mp3-tech.org mirrored on LAME's site: ht tp://javatest.a-net.nl/servlet/pedit.Main/http://w ww.mp3-tech.org/patents.html [a-net.nl]. Select quote: "You can try to write an MP3 encoder without using this [Fraunhaufer's patented] encoding scheme, so in this case you will not have to pay, but it's obvious that it's nearly impossible."

  • Though you may not agree with the reasons, but they are on your side for the moment.

    Just watch your back.

  • A long ways back Disney did a SIFI TV movie about an evil renigate group who use illegal technology.
    At the time I was like "How could technology be illegal"..
    Now I'm putting this all together...
    That was the launch pad for a sinister plot to strip us of advanced technology. To allow government agentcys to deside what we can and can not have.
    Eventually technology will be regulated by an agentcy like the FDA or FCC... Who will deside what medications you can have or who can brodcast and what they can broudcast.

    They will strip you of your freedoms.. Deside you can not have things like encryption and eventually even deside you can not publish certen information on the Internet as it could be used to instruct terrorists.

    They may even go so far as to require computers at ISPs so they can scan e-mail or implant back doors in software so that they may spy on other governments.

    I tell you the day is comming when you don't buy software but rent it..
    When you don't buy a computer but get it as part of a pacage deal with your Internet provider...

    I tell you they may even go so far as change the way TV is broudcast...

    We must stop this madness... log into your local BBS and send FidoNet mail to Presedent Ronald Regan about the potental treat to the future of techology...
    I mean when they are able to have portable digital file players I want mine....

    Note: This is a joke...

    Please note the diffrence between what the slashdot editor says and what the artical submitor said...
    In the case of this story... Slashdot didn't say a word...

    Anyway... It looks to me CeBit is basicly saying "No more MP3s" as a way to make the booths quieter.
    They are basicly trying to get rid of the consummer stuff and return to busness and kinda pushed Creative off to the home show... a smaller show that really isn't paying off...

    It's not really about MP3s.. it's about being loud during a busness expo...
  • So ... computers have been known to be used 'illegally' right? Why aren't they banned from this event? This is too insane to be true, please God say it's not true. This is just insane.

    Must give kudos to Creative though, surely others will follow suit. What bullshit.

    -- .sig --
  • Ban lights and watches as well...
    Electrical wiring... even structural technologys...

    Hmm I guess we'll be holding this expo in a cave... animal skins only....
  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:35PM (#784195) Homepage

    Please, think about the future. Consider Vorbis [vorbis.org] instead.

    It's "out of the frying pan and into the fire" if you stick with MP3. [remember the patents?]

  • by nihilogos ( 87025 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:36PM (#784196)
    I recently attended a conference and the Australian Online Musics industry. There was one panel on 'Digital Downloads' that demonstrated just this sort of mentality on the part of high-moment-of-inertia-type music executives, most of them were talking about how MP3 wasn't the appropriate format and then proceeded to plug their own ideas on the subject. One proposal even involved encoding the music with "unbreakable" encryption and requiring a user to log on to a central server for the key.

    Finally one of the panel stood up and said. I'm sorry, MP3s are here you're too late. There is hardware available, consumers like it and it has already been adopted as the defacto standard. You have no place to decide whether it gets adopted or not.

    I stood up and clapped.
  • Nobody ever died when an mp3 accidentally went off. The death rate due to violent crime (note: not the same thing as the rate of violent crime, which has changed little) didn't increase astronomically with the propagation of the mp3 in urban areas. Guns are inherently dangerous; mp3s are not. Don't confuse that with a moral issue.
  • Hi all, I am german, and I read the latest news in the german media about the case.

    It seems that the fair agency tried to suppress the presentation of MP3 Players in relation to ENDCONSUMERS. Creative stated that a presentation for business purposeses is NOT LIKE CREATIVE WANTS TO PRESENT THEIR DEVICES.

    I can understand this move pretty good. The fair agency wants to keep the CeBit fair as a "professional" fair for business to business relations. Several years ago the Cebit has become more and more a fair for games and the average age of visitors dropped. This lead to an inacceptable bias for any professional visitior. The solution was to split the Cebit up into CeBit (professional) and Cebit Home (Endconsumer).

  • I am all for the boycott, I think it makes sense. I haven't really visited CeBit in the past but now I plan not to go this year too. Nobody interesting would go to something like that anyway. Everybody join in and boycott CeBit!

  • Guns are inherently dangerous; mp3s are not. Don't confuse that with a moral issue.

    I've owned guns and shot guns since I was 5 years old and never had an incedent where someone was harmed. I've owned and used a hammer since I was 5 years old and done more harm to my self with it than I care to mention. But then I've also killed more deer with a car than I've killed with a gun ( I only shoot competition ). So those are only my personal facts but it seems to me that mp3 are as safe as a gun to me. Neither has caused any harm when I was around. In fact both have caused me to spend money that I would not have otherwised spent.
  • At least you didn't try to claim it was right. Well, not implicitly.
  • Yeah, sounds good. But how popular the Vorbis [vorbis.org] will be? And MP3 is a compression method, right? And isn't it so, that an algorithm for the compression method can be patented, not the compression method itself? Or am I mistaken?

  • err... they banned DeCSS, why not MP3?

  • More modern drives have a "digital audio out", which does digitally encoded audio to the soundcard, but I'm not sure if it's really an exact copy of the CDDA data

    It is an SPDIF output, thus a perfect copy of the digital data on the disc (there is a copybit thing though, but it's not difficult to get rid of it)

  • just a quick observation: hardware MP3 support (whatever real benefit it brings) is one of the selling points on a certain variation of Creative's SBLive card... Maybe this has something to do with it... Censorship and strongarm tactics sucks. RIAA must know they're fighting a losing battle if they're playing dirty like this.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:03PM (#784207) Homepage Journal
    Oh... Wait...
  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:40PM (#784209) Homepage Journal
    Guns are inherently dangerous; mp3s are not. Don't confuse that with a moral issue.
    Indeed. MP3 players don't kill people, Metallica kills people.
  • by Sir_Winston ( 107378 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:41PM (#784210)
    Just FYI, the SB Live! MP3+ soundcard doesn't have hardware mp3 compression/decompression. That's a common mistake, many people make it. The reason it's called the "MP3+" is merely because of the software bundle, which contains mp3 software--just as the "X-Gamer" version contains gaming software. You may as well just buy the plain Live! Value OEM and save money though, since it's basically the same card and there is plenty of mp3 software readily available and the bundle with the X-Gamer version has older games which can be picked up cheap if you really want them--but if you really wanted them you'd have them already, they're so old.

    I myself got the Live! Value OEM, and am very happy with it. I just wish I could have afforded the Live! Platinum, since the LiveDrive is both cool and useful. I mean, having all those audio connections mounted on a front drive bay is just plain cool looking, plus I'm always reaching behind the computer to switch audio connections anyway since I use it for a DVD player (Hollywood+ cards rock).

    But, the very idea of banning any mp3 players at CeBit is just disgusting. I mean, it's just a type of audio player, which you can use with your own paid-for CDs after all, just as you can legally make a mix tape or CD from CDs and tapes you bought. Funny how they're not banning MiniDisc devices, since they can be used to pirate music too with any soundcard that has an SP/DIF connector--just decompress the mp3s and burn them to MiniDisc. But, oh, wait, Sony makes a fortune from every MiniDisc device and media sold, so it's okay to have them present.

    And yes, Sony makes mp3 players, but half-heartedly--after all, at least one of their "mp3 players" requires that mp3 files be converted to the proprietary Sony "ATRAC" format before downloading them to the player. This takes time and effort and makes the files almost twice as large as a normal mp3. They obviously want to make it more complicated than necessary to use their mp3 players, so that customers will switch back to CDs and MiniDiscs. And, am I the only one who notices the ironic sound of "ATRAC," so similar to the doomed "8-track" format? Arrgh, the more I learn about Sony, the more I start to think that they're the most evil corporation this side of the future "Disney's AOL/Time-Warner" which I'm convinced will happen one day... They introduce a proprietary format for everything, in the attempt to keep people from using better, open formats--like trying to get their new 1.3GB CDs to be used by consumers instead of the better DVD and DVD-R formats which they are actively trying to hamper.

    But, I digress. All I can say is, you can bet that Sony had a hand in ensuring that mp3 devices would be banned from Cebit. I personally buy nothing Sony, and nothing by another brand which I know is made for them by Sony.

  • As a huge corporation, Creative is most certainly NOT doing this for the "principle", they are doing this because the continued attack on mp3's, which hinders their eventual acceptance, has a negative revenue effect for Creative.


    Creative is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, which in my mind is about the same as just doing nothing.

    Except that doing the right thing for the wrong reason has the potential to actually accomplish something, whereas doing nothing doesn't. If Creative receives support from the people who want the right thing for the right reason, it will encourage other companies to join the boycott. That would be a good thing, even though those companies would also be doing it for the wrong reason.


  • Ok, Creative, in light of these actions, and you're pretty damn good audio and video products, I'll forgive that CD-ROM breakdown I had recently.


    I believe the geek/hacker/techie community is a great group of people for a company to have on their side - in general we have a large amount of disposable money to frivolously spend on expensive gadgets and gizmos, and I believe listen pretty well to word of mouth about the quality of a company's products.
  • I mean, if its in MP3 format, then i guess it should automatically be made illeagal [sic] right?

    If you're not an MP3 patent licensee [mp3licensing.com], yes. But there's always the patent-free Vorbis [vorbis.com] codec.

    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! [8m.com]
  • by Trinition ( 114758 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @04:45AM (#784222) Homepage
    I e-mailed CeBIT [mailto] asking why they banned MP3 audio equipment. They replied:

    Thank you very much for your e-mail!

    We would like to inform you that we in fact never banned MP3 Players or the MPEG storage format from CeBIT. There will be around 25 companies in hall 9 this yearshowing MP3 players.

    ObviouslyCreativeLabs released a press article serveral days ago, saying that they are cancelling the CeBIT becausewe excluded MP3players from our nomenclature. This isdefinately not true and wedo not understand the reasons for such an article.


    Deutsche Messe AG

    Interesting, no?

  • by rhinoX ( 7448 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @08:54PM (#784224)
    Having spent the better part of the last four months on a project to build an mp3 player for commerical sale, I can tell you that this statement is WRONG. MP3 is incredibly expensive, and if Fraunhoeffer don't want you to license it, you won't.

    Commercial decoding:

    15k annual pre-pay + 2.50 / item shipped.

    Commercial encoding:
    Their object code:
    15k annual
    $250k minimum
    $5.00/copy shipped

    Their patents:
    15k annual
    $2.50/copy shipped.

    This is US dollars. I hardly consider this "free" by any means. They have over 13 patents on the format alone, who cares if you can encode it? You can't USE it unless you pay!

    Our project was scrapped because of these costs, and management's inability to grasp that there are other formats.

    Vorbis is free. Period. You can get and change the code. You can make free players. You can make commerical players. You can use it in your other products. No one will come after you with a team of lawyers for not paying for Vorbis.

    I get sick of hearing about how "open" mp3 is.
  • Finally one of the panel stood up and said. I'm sorry, MP3s are here you're too late. There is hardware available, consumers like it and it has already been adopted as the defacto standard. You have no place to decide whether it gets adopted or not.

    And the Clue Meter reads 11 (on a scale of 1 to 10 -- I borrowed Spinal Tap's meter).
  • by aint ( 183045 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:51PM (#784230)
    Here is their Website [cebit.de] and here is their Contact Information [cebit.de]

    -- .sig --
  • Remember that the music industry is not acting very rationally. It can only react instinctively to MP3s, in much the same way an insect flails around after its head has been cut off. I personally believe that digital distribution will make it near impossible to make money selling individual copies of CDs. The music industry is trying to fight this instead of adapting to it, and its choices are probably being made by two different groups of people:

    1. Old, slow executives who are too tired to learn a new way of doing business.
    2. Young, cynical lawyers and consultants who are making a mint by telling those in group 1: "Yes, you can stop MP3s. By the way, here's my bill for last month."

    It makes me wonder if anybody hung around on the Titanic, selling pails.

    Francis Hwang

  • If you take your MP3 player to school, you should get arrested...
  • oem sblive value2 has the spdif out.

    but its not a true spdif output. its resampled. meaning: the internals of the card force a resampling of even the most common rate (44.1k) to the internally required 48k.

    yes, the spdif out will drive an outboard DAC or a DAT deck, etc. but regardless of what the input samplerate is, the output is ALWAYS 48k ;-(

    the sample-rate conversion is a bit noisy and adds noticeable distortion.

    don't ask me why they resample up to 48k when 99% of all the audio sources out there are cd-based which is 44.1. sigh...


  • More modern drives have a "digital audio out", which does digitally encoded audio to the soundcard, but I'm not sure if it's really an exact copy of the CDDA data.

    the digital audio out (of most modern ide cdrom drives) is a bastardized form of spdif. its the spdif logical frame format but the physical levels are TTL rather than the real standard of 0.5v p-p.

    but for most devices that take spdif-in, the TTL levels are ok and will work.

    and yes, it is a bit-for-bit extraction of the audio frames; its just that its 1:1 speed; ie, realtime. for better than realtime, you need to use a drive that has dae (digital audio extraction).

    its worth noting (for you power rippers out there) that very few cdrom changers will support DAE. I wonder why that is? is it because DAE is "just barely tolerated" by the bigWigs? and if you put the power of DAE into a changer, that could cause ALL SORTS OF CHAOS out there? makes me wonder..

    but at any rate, you could use the spdif out of the ide cdrom drives as a last resort to get digital audio without an intermediate analog step.


  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @09:13PM (#784239) Homepage
    Never doubt the power of government(s) making something illegal.

    Exactly. Just like Marijuana is illegal, as are "bongs." And we know nobody uses those right....right?

    There's only one thing more powerful than big business - and that's the will of the people. When the public is divided, politicians can do whatever they want. In this case, i think we all know where the public stands (the vast majority, at least) - all the corporate money in the world won't save a politician once he's been voted out of office.

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • Actually with the Live! Value OEM you can add the LiveDrive to it. You can't with the original Live! Value, as long as your model is CT48xx you can add the LiveDrive. The new Live! Value is CT4830, the old one was CT4760.
  • If you haven't already, to to Creative's web site [creativelabs.com]and give them some positive feedback on this. If you have the time (and stamps) send mail. Letters to management receive a lot more attention than online forms.

    Oldthink thinkcrime doubleplus ungood
  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:55PM (#784245) Homepage
    Wow - they're banning all devices related to mp3's???

    does this include sound cards, speakers, hard drives, RAM (which is evil because it loads mp3's partially into memory before playing them)??

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • Finally one of the panel stood up and said. I'm sorry, MP3s are here you're too late. There is hardware available, consumers like it and it has already been adopted as the defacto standard. You have no place to decide whether it gets adopted or not.

    I stood up and clapped.
    It's a sad day when advocacy of the adoption of patented, proprietary codecs merely on the basis of inertia is applauded. (I know that wasn't your point, but let's not put mp3 on a pedastal anyway.)

    [ogg vorbis for digital audio] [xiph.org]

  • by Halster ( 34667 ) <haldouglas&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:59PM (#784249) Homepage

    This is not simply stupid, or careless, it's just plain WRONG!

    This is just another case of people assuming that MP3's themselves are bad!

    ***NEWSFLASH - MP3 is just a FILE FORMAT***

    Regardless of how people use it, MP3's and all their associated gadgets have done nothing wrong, they are a part of technology as much as anything else!

    I say "go Creative", because it's about time that someone, or some company had the guts to take a stand!
    In fact, we should all take a stand, because I've had about enough of this. I like to be able to listen to all my songs without changing CD's. I also like to be able to have a backup of them all on one CD and on my HDD!
    It's time we showed some support for this move and all Boycott CeBit too, and instead use the time and money to go out and buy a Nomad!

    Power to the People!

    "How much truth can advertising buy?" - iNsuRge [insurge.com.au] - AK47
  • On the other hand, Creative has decided to make a first ever appearance at Internationale Funkausstellung [ifa-berlin.de] in Berlin next year. So CeBit is only increasing exposure for this other show. It's funny how a free market works that way.
  • ...that Mattel is my friend?

  • I would choose a car analogy instead because MP3 has much more in common with a vehicle (maybe a pizza delivery van :) than a weapon.

    Also, I think most people can better identify with the ownership/usefulness of a vehicle.

  • by e_lehman ( 143896 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @07:28PM (#784256)

    Did the VCR destroy the movie industry?

    Sadly, no.

    Did the tape recorder destroy the music industry?

    Um... no. *Damn*

    Did CD Burners kill the CD music business?

    Nooooo! *SOB* Cease your cruel, cruel taunts!

    Will the CD-ROM drives that allowed Digital Audio Extraction kill the CD market? Will MP3 do it either?


    Seriously, these technologies are not "okay" because the music and film industries will still rake in bucketloads of money despite them. Rather, they are "okay", period-- even if Jack Valenti and Edgar Bronfman are left sharing a tin of tuna warmeded over a back-alley fire. Sorry, dreaming again.

  • and here is a link to a german article [heise.de] at heise [heise.de]. According to the article the CeBit at least allowed to present MP3 players (well this is a consumeroriented product and i really don't see its place on a business fair). Why creative choose to cancel the CeBit home (the consumers part) presentation as well is beyond me too, i think it's either a slight overreaction on creatives part here, but the 'home' part really isn't that big OTOH, maybe they just needed an argument.

    In fact the splitting of CeBit didn't go exactly according to plan, most see the business part as the real thing and don't see sense in visiting what's mostly a big advertisement for the newest games/gadgets. So most people still go for CeBit (not "CeBit home") as can be seen from the fact, that there's really a lot of people there at Weekends while real business is done mostly in the week.
  • Actually, as much as you mock the "mp3 players are like guns" and suggest bogus new laws, I'd say you're closer to the truth than you know.

    • 5. No gun/MP3 sales at trade shows. Shit, this article is about restricting MP3 players from tradeshows.
    • 6. Trigger locks / "play-key" locks. A "play-key-lock" is exactly what SDMI is designed to implement.
    • 7. Registration of gun/MP3-player owners. The industry goal of all music in pay-per-listen formats implies per-user registration, or at least data-collection.
    • 9. Manufacturers of MP3 players pay for potentially lost CD sales or get sued by cities. Apparently you haven't been to Canada, where there's a "tax" on all blank media, or even in the States, where the "tax" applies to "music" CD-Rs, which are just like any other CD-R except that RIAA has browbeaten consumer electronics manufacturers into rejecting CD-Rs that don't have the extra bits that indicate payment of the tax.
    • 11. Why do you think it's taken three years for CD-based MP3 players to come out? And why do you see very little interest in this area from the manufacturers? What killed DAT?
    As long as we're comparing MP3 players and firearms (and you're trying to pretend that the person who made this comparison was clueless), you also forgot one:

    • 12. Most end-user modifications are felonies. SDMI backed up with DMCA makes "screw this pay-per-listen crap, I'll sample MP3s at the line-out jack" a felony. The maximum penalties are comparable to those associated with modifying a semi-automatic weapon to have full-auto capabilities.
  • by kris ( 824 ) <kris-slashdot@koehntopp.de> on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @09:40PM (#784266) Homepage
    According to the local press, the differences between CeBit and Creative are not about MP3, but about their conduct on the last CeBit.

    CeBit is currently a large fair, in fact it is the larges computer trade show on earth. Hannover cannot longer take all the people.

    CeBit tried to split the show into a consumer show called "CeBit Home" and tried to promote the curent CeBit as a strictly business tradeshow. They have not been doing well: CeBit Home is actually shrinking, and many consumer product specialists are showing on the main CeBit.

    Specifically: Creative undermined their marketing strategy at the last CeBit by having a loud and gaming oriented booth at the supposedly business oriented main CeBit. CeBit directorate wanted Creative to switch over to CeBit home, but Creative was not interested into a shrinking low profile fair.

    © Copyright 2000 Kristian Köhntopp
  • > > Never doubt the power of government(s) making something illegal.
    > Just like Marijuana is illegal, as are "bongs." And we know nobody uses those right....right?

    Which means that if you're carrying a bong which tests positive for once having had marijuana smoke passed through it, you get busted for "drug paraphenalia".

    Likewise - owning an MP3 player will be fine. Owning a computer will be fine. But owning an MP3 player will be probable cause for an officer to seize the computer and examine it for MP3 files. Even if you've deleted the MP3 files, if they can recover evidence (e.g. old bytes in the FAT portion of the disk) that the MP3 files were there, you go to jail.

    > In this case, i think we all know where the public stands (the vast majority, at least) - all the corporate money in the world won't save a politician once he's been voted out of office.

    Support for marijuana legalization is remarkably high in the US. Please explain why no major political candidate supports legalization.

    Even a small portion of the corporate money in the world appears to be quite sufficient to thwart the public's will.

  • by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @10:02PM (#784270) Homepage
    An MP3 player is like a gun, it is only as good or as bad as the person using it. It is silly to ban devices that can play an established, very widely used protocol, simply because some of the users choose to use it in ileagal ways.

    Ohh, righty then, we better call for some new laws then ...

    1. Permit needed for purchasing MP3 players.

    2. Mandatory waiting period before purchasing an MP3 player.

    3. Background check needed for MP3 player purchasers.

    4. Minimum age requirement.

    5. No sale of MP3 players at trade shows.

    6. "Play"-key lock per player required at sale.

    7. Registration of all MP3 player owner required.

    8. Carrying and operating license required for MP3 players.

    9. Manufactures of MP3 players pay for potentially lost CD sales, or be sued by the cities.

    10. Advertisements for MP3 players aimed at children should be forbidden.

    11. MP3 player manufactures should be paid not to produce players.

    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?
  • by SweenyTod ( 47651 ) <sweenytod.sweenytod@com> on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @07:04PM (#784272) Homepage
    I say.

    It's nice to see the larger players in the whole multimedia finally saying out loud that the whole MP3 thing is getting way out of hand.

    The RIAA are doing everybody a massive dis-service by their actions. What I find very offensive is that an American company's whinging and bitching is telling me what I can and can't do here in Australia.

    Still, money buys influence just as well in Australia as it does in the US, so I shouldn't be surprised.
  • In reply to your points:

    1) Never doubt the power of government(s) making something illegal. It would only take a couple of major governments together (the US, the EU, AU/NZ, and Japan) declaring that all A/V file formats MUST support digital rights management, possibly implemented under WIPO so countries have very little choice in passing laws to support it, for this format to be declared wiped from all servers. And when your shoices are A) Delete it or B) 5 years in jail... Lots of people will choose A. If it is not listed on US/EU search engines, it will drop off the public radar fairly quickly, and only be available on slower offshore servers. Still there if you search for it, but much less easily available.

    2) Ditto with #1, declare the format illegal, and you cannot manufacture or import devices that support that format in(to) the country. Without a device to buy, consumers will find something else that fulfills the same basic purpose. There are 2 or 3 competing audio file formats that are suitable for consumer devices, and support DRM.

    3) Frankly, businesses are more concerned with controlling what consumers want, through marketting/PR and other means, and selling controlled products, than in creating new markets... Large entrenched businesses, at least. Why do you think the first MP3 player wasn't from Sony?

    The CeBit organizers are people that depend on the goodwill of the major electronics/entertainment industry firms. This means that when most of the big members of an organization like the MPAA or RIAA says "Don't support this format" the trade show organizers will listen. No overt threats, no bribery, just a large powerful organization making known its wishes.
  • The by-line for the story is ZD UK, so a visit to their web site [zdnet.co.uk] tells me that CeBit say they did *not* ban Creative.
  • um, if you can listen to cdda on the drive, you can extract it. all (jesus, dont prove me wrong with a data only drive) drives do this
    Actually, there probably are some older scsi drives that don't play audio. But more importantly, there's a difference between a CDROM's ability to play an audio CD and its ability to rip CDDA data.

    When you "play an audio CD" on a standard old-school CDROM in a machine with some old soundblaster, the CDROM drive itself processes the CDDA data into an analog audio signal, which is then passed to the soundcard through that little CD audio cable like any line-level audio signal.

    More modern drives have a "digital audio out", which does digitally encoded audio to the soundcard, but I'm not sure if it's really an exact copy of the CDDA data.

    There's there Digital Audio Extraction (DAE), which is the ability of a drive to allow software to directly read the bitstream of an audio file from the CD disc as if it were a file. While most newer CDROMs support this feature on their buzzword list, many have compatibility problems in the real world, which makes finding a "good" CDROM drive for DAE (for converting later to MP3) a bitch sometimes.

  • I keep getting spams from Key3Media (the new name for ZD Events) about their trade shows. Unfortunately, every time I use my email to register for one show they take it as an invitation to spam me about the others. Among these shows are COMDEX and Linux Business Expo. Can't we work on our own trade shows about their spam policies?


  • by Crutcher ( 24607 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:05PM (#784282) Homepage
    I mean, CeBit is just a major technology Convention. its purpose in being is to keep tech companys aware of what each other are doing, and to hype up the media, so they can sell products to people that like gadgets, right?

    And everyone knows that MP3s and related technology are'nt enjoyed by people that will spend rediculously large percentages of their personal income buying gadgets, right?

    Its just a fad, and its a good thing that the MPAA and its friends are keeping the research going on 8-tracks, as thats where its at.

    -- Crutcher --
    #include <disclaimer.h>
  • An MP3 does not have the capability to directly harm someone. A gun does.

    You are obviously properly trained in the use of guns. But lets take someone who isn't properly trained in guns, and isn't properly trained in MP3s. They could harm someone with a gun, but not with an MP3. That's why guns aren't as safe as MP3s.
  • by systemapex ( 118750 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:07PM (#784287)
    You think SDMI-related devices are going to be banned? I see this as a lame attempt by the RIAA to push their standard into the limelight. All the mainstream media will be touting the *new* SDMI standard for music which *all* the major labels will be supporting and which is better than MP3 because it provides smaller files while providing better quality...
  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:08PM (#784290)
    An MP3 player is like a gun, it is only as good or as bad as the person using it. It is silly to ban devices that can play an established, very widely used protocol, simply because some of the users choose to use it in ileagal ways.. Wired uses Mp3's in many of its audio only interviews, perhaps they should be dragged out onto the street and beaten for using a "Bad" protocol, I mean, if its in MP3 format, then i guess it should automatically be made illeagal right?

    If God Droppd Acid, Would he see People???
  • Sure ya did. :)

    Do as I say, not as I do. I have all those CDs on my shelf too :P

  • Hold on a second. This is an industry trade show. But it can tell the industry which of its products it is allowed to showcase & which it is not. What the F--?

    Isn't this illegal somehow? If I have a product - a perfectly legal product - which I want to sell, why can't I showcase it an industry meeting?

    I wonder what other past technologies this HIGHLY-QUESTIONABLE practice has been able to stifle? So, whoever owns CeBit gets to decide the course of the industry and not the industry itself?

    This sticks to high heaven.

  • It's ironic that you mention that--with your apparent Netscape background..

    I was using Netscape 5PR2 for Windows .. Your expertise required: Bug with Netscape 5PR2 returning a nonstandard header? or careless programming on Creative Labs' end?

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win98; en-US; m17) Gecko/20000807 Netscape6/6.0b2

  • Sorry ..

    Requested, not Required

  • This is bull. For the millionth time, MP3s, although often illeagle copies, aren't always illeagle. There's thousands, maybe millions of MP3s available for free download, from the authors, for your listening pleasure. Taking these kind of measures because a company or group of companies don't like something is ridiculous. It's time we all, including those with power, stop this shit from happening. We are getting stepped on, and I'm personally sick of it. That would have been like banning CDRs when they first came out because they could be used to copy CDs, however, they have legitamate uses, including copying one's own CDs.

    All I'm saying is instead of bitching, maybe we should all get up and start to do something. Lets organize a serious boycott of the companies who are pulling these tactics, bug our friends and family until they too participate, do whatever you can to squash these assholes. Look, Napster may be violating their rights to a degree (like they haven't been fucking us in the ass for years), but it's unstoppable, and to make these blanket attacks on consumers and even manufacturers is out of hand.

  • Let's cut him some slack. Until this thread, I didn't know that MP3 wasn't a true "open" standard. There's a general misconception out there that MP3 is a truly open standard and not proprietary in any way. Now that I've read up on the proposed Vorbis standard, I hope they succeed although it stands just as much chance of surviving as the SDMI standard.
  • Its an IT trade show.

    what kind of hold could RIAA have over CeBit (apart from Sony pulling out) to get CeBit to ban any and all MP3 related devices from the show?

    Surely there are manufacturers other than Creative who have a vested interest in this as well...

  • Yes, the OEM Live! Value lacks the connector. However, most people aren't going to need it, and if they do then this can be solved for as little as $14. A company called Audience Digital Products makes add-on connectors for the Live! Value OEm and other SB cards, which connect to an onboard set of pins present on the soundcard. A review of some of their products is at http://www.rageunderground.com/articles/adp.shtml . This makes the Live! Value OEM a very attractive option for people on a budget who still need additional connectors; ADP also makes more expensive add-ons which have the functionality of the LiveDrive, but for less money than paying the premium for a SB Live! Platinum. They aren't as pretty as the LiveDrive, but they offer similar connection options.

  • by moonsammy ( 65351 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:11PM (#784320)
    What can possibly be gained by banning mp3 hardware? Think about it logically...

    1) The software exists. There is no way mp3 encoding/playing software is going to go away.
    2) The hardware exists. Plenty of mp3 players have been sold, and continue to be sold. There's no basis for a lawsuit against hardware manufacturers, as there's nothing remotely illegal about playing or creating mp3s.
    3) Consumers *love* mp3. Isn't the whole point of business (and by extension, trade shows) to create, market, and sell products and services that consumers want?

    This seems to indicate that either the CeBit organizers or some MAJOR participants had a very good motive to get mp3 devices off the floor. Bribery or stock deals (really just another form of bribery) wouldn't surprise me. Perhaps one of the exhibitors will be showing off some new audio encoding technology and use the fact that they're the only thing being shown to impress people?
  • by Cylix ( 55374 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2000 @06:11PM (#784324) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I know Creative is doing this for their benefit. Companies just don't do those sorts of things if it isn't in their interests.

    Still, I feel a great need to send a big hug and kiss to the people at Creative Labs. Even if your beating on the bully for your own reasons... the little guy who got his milk money taken last week will still be there to laugh and enjoy it.

    I'll start taking it like a man when I'm done crying ;)
  • Don't try and turn this into some sort of rallying cry against the RIAA and in support of Creative. As a huge corporation, Creative is most certainly NOT doing this for the "principle", they are doing this because the continued attack on mp3's, which hinders their eventual acceptance, has a negative revenue effect for Creative.

    Creative is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, which in my mind is about the same as just doing nothing.

  • hardware MP3 support (whatever real benefit it brings) is one of the selling points on a certain variation of Creative's SBLive card... Maybe this has something to do with it...

    Er, yeah, but ever heard of Creative's Nomad line of portable MP3 players? The most popular players out there? I suspect that's a bigger concern for them.

  • The failure rate of CD-R media is entirely dependent upon the quality of the materials and manufacturing process, and CD-R media from good manufacturers is just as long-lasting as any MiniDisc. Since Sony licenses MiniDisc media manufacture to some other companies, I'm sure the MiniDisc world is probably the same way.

    Getting media on a spindle doesn't mean it's not high-quality; Imation, for example, makes a very high quality disc, and uses the same discs on its spindles that it uses in its nice slimline cases. On sale, you can get them sometimes for as little as $30 for 50. And, the media will last in excess of fifty years, and probably closer to a century, without bit-rot. There was a story on /. a while back about testing CD-R media from different manufacturers by artificially aging them through exposure to high pressures, temperatures, and moisture levels over extended periods of time; you can probably find it by searching the archives.

    You're right that not all burners can use an 80-min CD-R to full capacity, but that's pretty much irrelevant since most people aren't using 4 year old 1-2x CD burners. My own Craetive burner was purchased two years ago, and has no problem with them. But, even very, very ancient CD players will be able to use an 80-min audio CD--I have a walkman from when I was in high school which plays them glitchlessly. Aside from which, a good CD burner and a decent portable CD player cost less new than a new MD player/recorder.

    If you want to go the uber-cool route, you could shell out a few more $$ and instead of getting a plain-Jane CD player, get something like a portable Encino Voyager CD MP3 player--easily fitting 150 high-quality mp3 recordings (192kbps or greater) onto a single medium.

    And contrary to the FUD surrounding the issue, mp3 sound is as high quality as most other compressed formats, probably including ATRAC. The key is to remember that bitrate affects audio quality immensely--a 128k mp3 will sound flat and dull on even a mid-range stereo system, if you're an audiophile; but, a 192k mp3 sounds as good as a CD on a high-end system, unless you have better hearing than most people do; and, anything greater than that sounds indistinguishable from CD audio even to highly skilled audiophiles with great hearing. I believe Ars Technica did an mp3 comparison which touched on these issues. Personally, I use HQ VBR mp3 encoding, which varies the bitrate up to 320kbps and down to 96kbps as necessary, depending on the demands of the stream at any given time. It produces absolutely flawless sound, as good as any CD.

    So, claims of CD-quality sound are absolutely true, if you create a high quality file. I find plenty of them on Napster, too, so I'm not the only audiophile who's keen to this. The resulting files are usually about 6-10MB, depending on bitrate--HQ VBR can produce smaller files than 256kbps files, and often they're even smaller than 192kbps files. And, you can call it piracy if you want, but I gleefully download any songs older than 14 years without any concern for copyright since the Constitution specified a copyright term of 14 years, and the extensions to this have been gained by heavy-handed and too-powerful corporations acting against the interests of the people. I also don't feel *too* bad about downloading new stuff from companies who are responsible for the DMCA and other extensions of copyright against the public interest. The only CDs I purchase any more are from bands who actually deserve my support, like Kittie, Chuck D, and people affiliated with indie labels. The music industry--and by that I mean the big corporations who are witholding IP from the public domain indefinitely, whereas it was originally supposed to be public domain after a reasonable 14 year term--don't deserve my money for abusing and taking away the rights of the people to public domain IP, but we *do* deserve to take from them since they withold IP which should rightfully be in the public domain. As David Boies, Napster attorney who was instrumental in the DoJ's case against Microsoft, pointed out, if a company or group of companies abuses its copyrights to gain or illegally exploit a monopoly, they lose their legal rights to those copyrights.

    I have nothing against the MD formet in itself--it's Sony's control of it I dislike, and that's why I will never use it. Sony tried to control us with Beta, they tried to prevent resale of CDs, and they're making a very flawed version of mp3 players, and they are among the worst offenders of the DVD Consortium and one of the multinationals responsible for the DMCA. I don't trust them, and in fact hate the world they want to create, where all content and IP is encrypted, rented, and no one can touch it but them.

  • And what stunned me most at CeBIT was the plethora of MP3 players. Not just the Rio, Lyra, Yepp and other well-known MP3 players, but also a huge host of them from Asia. The one that most impressed me was a credit card sized player, just thick enough to be able to put a 2mm jack socket in its side, with 128MB. CeBIT was all over this MP3 thing last year, and now they shun it? Quite the sudden change.

    And the reason? To protect the content providers? That's absolutely crazy. Most people who buy MP3 players actually do mostly use them to play music from their own CD collection, or maybe one or two songs snatched from Napster.

    I don't understand how a huge and influential organisation like CeBIT could possibly decide to ban all MP3-related stuff from their fair. Now that Creative is boycotting CeBIT, I'm pretty sure others like Diamond and Thomson may follow. And then suddenly CeBIT isn't the biggest computer fair anymore...

    Oh, if anybody does go to CeBIT despite all this, don't forget to check out the Münchner Halle. Ugly waitresses, but good beer and a nice stereotypical German atmosphere :)

    Never underestimate the power of stupidity
  • Wait a second, doesn't Microsoft Windows have MP3 codecs in its standard installation? Doesn't that mean Windows should be banned from CeBIT aswell?

    Never underestimate the power of stupidity
  • Well first off, for those that don't know, there's ogg vorbis [vorbis.org]. You know what I'm looking forward to? Its multi-channel capability. I've taken to getting concert DVDs, because I really like the surrond sound (the only reason I buy dvds is because I have DeCSS, so I have the capability of easily ripping stuff to use as I like.)

    What I plan to do is rip the surrond tracks from my dvds when ogg reaches maturity, and encode them for playing through a computer. What I _really_ would like to see is a CAR STEREO that has surround sound cabability. I mean, they're ALREADY hooked up to front and rear left and right. If I had a car stereo that could play ogg AND was surround sound aware, that would be just spiffy.

    "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is"

  • SDMI must die. We really need a serious campaign to raise public awairness and boycot SDMI products. Actually, I'd like to see a way to order stickers online which said "WARNING: This product uses SDMI to limit your music lissening options, limit your ability to share your music with your friends, etc." We could all order these stickers and go stick them on SDMI device that are sold in stores to warn the customers about the dangers of this standard.
  • It's some what unfair to compair Ogg to SDMI.
    Ogg works now in WinAmp, Sonique and XMMS. For WinAmp it's as easy as downloading a plugin and double clicking the .ogg file to play it.
    With plans to allow streaming ogg it can almost become a drop in replacement for MP3.
    SDMI requires it's whole authentication sceme to play files.
    The real barier to entry in a case like this is not the format but the changes the end users have to make. With Ogg there is little to none. With SDMI the end user is forced to adopt a new way of thinking about the music they listen to.
  • Well, I guess, what maore can you say? "Creative, maker of the Diamond Rio, is pissed and says"Hell No, We Wont Go!""

    You can't even say that. :) The Diamond Rio is by, well, Diamond. (Who have recently been absorbed into S3)

    Creative's players are the Nomads.

  • At least some corporation is standing up against this crap, even if it is in their economic interest.

    We don't have to take this crap from these steenking artists any more.

    Did the VCR destroy the movie industry? Did the tape recorder destroy the music industry? Did CD Burners kill the CD music business? Will the CD-ROM drives that allowed Digital Audio Extraction kill the CD market? Will MP3 do it either? Isn't this crap obvious??????!?!@#!@#

  • Go Creative!

    Represent the customers by declining to go to a trade show that doesn't want to display what they want.

    Another sign that the RIAA will eventually have to bow to popular demand - we got our music, and we aren't going back to the stone age on account of "intellectual property" or "copy protection", regardless of what congress belches out or how illegal they make it. The revolution has begun!


"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll