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Java Programming

Java Media Framework Drops MP3 186

Posted by chrisd
from the more-ammo-for-ogg dept.
realinvalidname writes "Sun had stopped downloads of its Java Media Framework about a week ago due to an undisclosed 'licensing issue.' Now we know what it is, as they've removed MP3 encoding and decoding from the JMF that's downloadable now. Of course, this isn't surprising given recent news about new MP3 licensing terms."
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Java Media Framework Drops MP3

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  • That's ok. (Score:1, Funny)

    by Dunhausen (455277)
    I prefer to just scroll through the 1's and 0's and decode them myself anyway.
    • by cscx (541332) on Monday September 02, 2002 @12:23AM (#4182522) Homepage
      I don't think that exempts you from the obligatory licensing fee.
      • I don't think that exempts you from the obligatory licensing fee.

        I think it does. It cannot be used for the reproduction of that sound (unless he is also a "really good singer" --- able to reproduce exact sound). But then again, I think Thompson would have a hard time convincing the courts that he should have to pay them for being a natural genius.

  • by clambert (519009) on Sunday September 01, 2002 @11:41PM (#4182400) Homepage
    Do they already have Ogg? Was it added? Or will they be adding it? --clambert
  • Unfortunate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shlong (121504)
    I'm a big Java supported, but this is unfortunate. It will only serve to make Java less relevant. You'd think that Sun could have worked out something with donating the licensing fees and made it a 'goodwill' guesture towards the Java community. Oh well.
    • Would this have been enough? Wouldn't the license require every product produced that includes the decoding modules be licensed? But then if this is the case, Sun could have just left it up to the people building the products. Just wondering. Hany
    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mark-t (151149)
      I see your point as to why you feel this is unfortunate, but would you mind explaining to the rest of us exactly why a company should invest licensing fees in something that's almost as free as air?
    • While this is definitely unfortunate, Sun has been pouring resources into this marvelous free platform with little (cash-money profit) to show for it for years now. I would think paying even a $1 per download would be pretty much out of the question for them.. How low can the licensing fees be?
    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @12:10AM (#4182486)
      The problem with Sun "donating" the licenses is that commercial products using JMF would normally be required to pay for the encoder. Say, a portable MP3 player running on an embedded Java platform. Sun is not in a position to say who will be using the codec in an acceptable way and who won't. So the only solution they have is to drop the distributed support. They had a similar situation a while back with the Java Cryptography Extension.

      All's not lost, however. JMF is a pluggable API, after all. Commercial products can make their own arrangements, while a freely-distributable codec could be made (by someone else) which can just be dropped in.

      As for Ogg... give them a bit of time. It's easier to remove something (especially for legal reasons) than it is to put a replacement in. If you can't wait, write an Ogg codec for JMF and everyone using JMF will be able to drop it in and take advantage of it. :)
    • Now that MP3 is now going to have a pricetag on it, it should be irradicated as far as I'm concerned. I think Sun is doing a service by dropping MP3 support. OggVorbis is the future.
      • Hmm. Don't think the word should is necessary there. More like will naturally be irradicated through stupidity.
      • "OggVorbis is the future."

        Help! I'm living in the future and the future is blocky !

        My music is compressed, my films are compressed, my digital TV is compressed ...

        How soon before trouser presses become trouser compressors ? Hey, they look like shorts but they were sold as slacks !

        Everything ... getting ... smaller !

        Artefacts ... everywhere !

        HlpMePls!

        graspee

    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plierhead (570797)
      Sun couldn't donate the license fees unless they struck a bulk deal with Thomson - they'd leave themselves wide open to someone downloading billions of copies of the JMF with the meter ticking for each one.

      This does suck though, the JMF is a really nice framework, we built a servlet that played MP3s through the office stereo system using it.

      The weird thing though is the disconnect here between Thomson, who claim the licensing rules have always been clear, and Sun, the sort of company who you would think would not embed someone else's IP unless they were very clear on the licensing issues. Sounds like Sun was very stupid and Thomson was very cunning.

      • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AJWM (19027)
        sounds like Sun was very stupid and Thomson was very cunning.

        Or that Thomson is plain lying about the licensing rules having always been clear.

        Given the recent change and the furor it generated, I'm inclined to the latter view myself.
      • I wouldn't say that Sun was stupid about this...the JMF was out many years before this patent stuff came up. Remember how Unisys handled GIF? Same sort of deal.

        If Sun is working on something with Thomson, they'd have to pull what's on the website until they got things settled, or they'd be in a world of hurt.

        And it's likely the lawyers, not the engineers that made that decision.

  • Yet another slime ball company trying to squeeze everyone for another drop of blood. Haven't people learned yet that there should be a royalty free standards for these types of things?

  • Then why not add in something like Ogg Vorbis? I'm sure I'm not the only one to hink of this. Seriously though, wouldn't any available, comparable quality codec fill in instead of mp3?
    • Re:If not mp3... (Score:4, Informative)

      by j3110 (193209) <samterrell@NospAm.gmail.com> on Monday September 02, 2002 @12:21AM (#4182515) Homepage
      It's a media framework. That means it's not SUN's job to make it work with everything :) You can add your own plugin audio codecs. Think of it as a portable version of the Windows Media Codec registry. I'm sure there will be sites that you can download MP3 plugins for the JMF. I'm pretty sure Ogg already exists, but I'm not sure about that. ( JavaZoom [javazoom.net] claims they have some kind of a version)

      Expect to see lots of codec's for JMF provided by third parties, the way it should be. Should be because SUN's programmers don't have the time nor inclination (nor obligation) to learn every little detail about every little file format. It'll be better in the end to have a more dedicated support for each codec whilst keeping the portability and API static for all codecs.
  • not the reason?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2002 @11:50PM (#4182424)
    Maybe someone should check out this article first:

    "Thomson has never charged a per unit royalty for freely distributed software decoders. For commercially sold decoders - primarily hardware mp3 players - the per-unit royalty has always been in place since the beginning of the program," a spokesman said"

    "A Thomson spokesman told NewsForge's Robin Miller that it was a ruse by Ogg Vorbis advocates to get publicity.® "

    http://www.theregus.com/content/4/26153.html
    • Re:not the reason?? (Score:3, Informative)

      by gnoshi (314933)
      As one would expect Thomson to say. What kind of poor-grade PR machines would they have to come up with anything less.

      Disclaimer: I am not a Java dev...
      That aside, there is a project to develop a Vorbis Java SPI [javazoom.net], which (from the impression I get) makes Java decoding of vorbis easy, and fits a standard interface. Or something.

      gnoshi
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Um..try reading what the License says, not what a suit says. Remember when push comes to shove that's what Thompson and a court of law will be going by.

      Besides why take out the passage from the license if it already agrees with a policy?
    • Re:not the reason?? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trogre (513942)
      This only applies to DECODERS. If you're using an ENCODER you're screwed.

      What they're basically saying is, "Don't make any mp3's but it's okay if you play them."

    • However, the implication is that for every device sold with that api in it would be charged for $0.75. That's something SUN wouldn't put up with.

      I'm absolutely sure Thompson would do his best to make a deal with SUN. However, SUN is a company like to do his own way. I'm not a SUN hater, in fact if their way is good it'd definitely benefitial to the industry, like this time.
    • Re:not the reason?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ftobin (48814) on Monday September 02, 2002 @01:10AM (#4182610) Homepage

      You're getting your information from a PR person. I'm getting mine from the licensing page [mp3licensing.com]. I see no such exception for free decoders.

      • Re:not the reason?? (Score:2, Informative)

        by StArSkY (128453)
        I agree. They are saying they have never charged for it. This is a statement of fact.... BUT now that it is removed from their licence, as menitioned by ftobin, they technically can, whenever they choose, pursue you for not adhering to the licence.

        For example, Sun could be sued in 5 years time and have to make a retrospective licence payment. Thompson are making sure they keep a few cards up their sleeve.

        The PR stunt in saying nothing has change is true for today, but not necessarily tomorrow.
      • Re:not the reason?? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Cyberdyne (104305)
        You're getting your information from a PR person. I'm getting mine from the licensing page [mp3licensing.com]. I see no such exception for free decoders.

        The page you linked to states explicitly that MP3 decoders are not necessarily subject to per-unit royalties: either pay a per-unit fee ($0.75) or a one-time royalty of $50 000. Pay the latter, and you're covered for any number of decoders shipped. For any software company (Nullsoft/Winamp, Apple, whoever) this is small change - less than the cost of one man-year of coding.

        Granted, this is an issue if you're trying to run a non-commercial project on the cheap, and a big issue if you want to distribute free encoder software (no flat-rate option there - $2.50 per unit), but this shouldn't rip the MP3 players out of RedHat or Mandrake's distros any time soon. I imagine it's the encoder issue which caused this move?

        • by ftobin (48814)

          What you're saying makes it sound like it's reasonable for a company like RedHat (who isn't even the developer of the mp3 players in their distribution!) to pay $50,000 face up. Where do you get off?

        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)


          The page you linked to states explicitly that MP3 decoders are not necessarily subject to per-unit royalties: either pay a per-unit fee ($0.75) or a one-time royalty of $50 000. Pay the latter, and you're covered for any number of decoders shipped.


          That's all nice and fine. However, it misses the point.

          The attention came from a change to the license; specifically the removal [archive.org] of an exemption for software players/decoders distributed free of charge. And I believe THAT exclusion came about in responce to some concern over the license several years ago - although I might be remembering that wrong.

          If Thompson's agent was saying something along the lines of "we changed our license - its our technology and we can do that. Pay up or stop using our stuff" then fine. Or even if the rep had claimed it was all a mistake... a simple oversight... and the license was modified to include the origional exclusion, then even better. But that's not what is going on here.

          The license has changed. It is a very distinct and important change to the development community. And it is the very kind of change that a project like Ogg Vorbis has been created to handle.

          Meanwhile, there is a PR representative demanding that everybody ignore that license behind the curtain. And, of course, he also insists that any attention on this matter is not a responce to their own actions (changing their license) but a devious mud-slinging campaign by the Ogg Vorbis group.

          And an anonymous poster/shrill attempting to further Thomson's story while ignoring the contrary evidence included in the very article he/she mentions.
          • by alienw (585907)
            The attention came from a change to the license; specifically the removal [archive.org] of an exemption for software players/decoders distributed free of charge.

            The real reason they removed that exemption is so that players such as Winamp, which are commercial but distributed free of charge, have to pay a license fee. If you formally list an exception for free decoders, they wouldn't have to do that, because they technically are free (even though they are made by a large corporation and are supposed to make money). Also, pretty much anyone would be able to have an MP3 decoder in their application (even if it costs money) by shipping it separately free of charge. It's a gaping loophole. So, Thomson now is saying that the fees still apply to everyone, although Thomson is not enforcing them for what they consider free decoders. If you show me one free project that has gotten a cease-and-desist letter from Thomson, then I'll believe you. As it is, it does look like a Vorbis publicity stunt.

            I highly doubt that Thomson will ever start cracking down on free, open-source decoders, because it just doesn't make any business sense. Besides promoting Ogg Vorbis, it would also generate bad publicity for them and the MP3 format, while not earning them a single cent in extra revenues.
            • I highly doubt that Thomson will ever start cracking down on free, open-source decoders, because it just doesn't make any business sense.

              Maybe you're right, but I'd hate to be dependant on Thomson's good will some day in the future when the business is tanking and there's no reason for them NOT to try to enforce their patents as widely as possible.

            • OK, Thomson is being reasonable here. The conspiracy theorists will no doubt make a big deal out of this by saying that this is a selective enforcement license; should someone become a thorn in Thomson's side they will get sued off the face of the planet. I believe it is in Thomson's best interest to have free decoders widely available, and I think even their lawyers know that.

              The real reason they removed that exemption is so that players such as Winamp, which are commercial but distributed free of charge, have to pay a license fee. If you formally list an exception for free decoders, they wouldn't have to do that, because they technically are free (even though they are made by a large corporation and are supposed to make money). Also, pretty much anyone would be able to have an MP3 decoder in their application (even if it costs money) by shipping it separately free of charge. It's a gaping loophole. So, Thomson now is saying that the fees still apply to everyone, although Thomson is not enforcing them for what they consider free decoders.

              But now we come to the $64k question. Suppose a company A makes a commercial for profit product including a plug-in architecture such that some freely available and popular decoder (made by an OS group B, not by company A) can be downloaded and just plugs in. Clearly, company A is going for the loophole, but they can't be sued, they just provide generic plug-in interface that can be used for any legitimate purpose, and they don't make the mp3 decoder, or make it available for download. Suppose this becomes a popular product, and this method starts getting copied by other for profit software makers. Who gets sued? Company A? OS group B?



            • The real reason they removed that exemption is so that players such as Winamp, which are commercial but distributed free of charge, have to pay a license fee.


              Is that so? Then where is the exeption in their license for non-commercial use? There is no such thing. The license applies to everyone.


              So, Thomson now is saying that the fees still apply to everyone, although Thomson is not enforcing them for what they consider free decoders. If you show me one free project that has gotten a cease-and-desist letter from Thomson, then I'll believe you. As it is, it does look like a Vorbis publicity stunt.


              The place for Thomson to make these assurances is in their license. Anywhere else is just words. If Thomson were to take you to court over this issue, their case would certainly revolve around their license. You better have a better defense than a printout of an article from The Register.

              Is it a Vorbis publicity stunt? Hardly. Thomson changed their license on their own accord - and despite their spin, the change was considerable. It is only natural for the Ogg Vorbis group to point this out as the reason they exist is to protect developers from just this kind of license issue.

              Everything else is noise. It doesn't matter what Thomson's history is, nor their current policy (policy can change on a whim, with a new CEO, after a particularly convincing PowerPoint presentation from a new marketing hot-shot, etc). It doesn't matter what supposed business case against legal action you can come up with (who says you know all the facts? Can somebody come up with a counter-case?). What matters is the words within the license.

              To put bluntly:

              Its the license, stupid.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You'll notice that the statement by Thompson is one of policy, not license text. Thompson can change that policy at any time, since it amounts to non-enforcement of their rights to collect on the patent.

      Depending on the 'kindness of corporate strangers' with regards to just how long they will continue this non-collection policy seems a bad idea for anyone writing decoders.
    • "Thomson has never charged a per unit royalty for freely distributed software decoders. For commercially sold decoders - primarily hardware mp3 players - the per-unit royalty has always been in place since the beginning of the program,"

      We have always been at war with Eurasia.
  • Javalayer MP3 Player (Score:5, Informative)

    by jpavel (129734) <jpavel AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Sunday September 01, 2002 @11:54PM (#4182441)
    Fortunately, there is an open source Java MP3 decoder, JavaLayer [javazoom.net] that I've found to work quite nicely.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @12:15AM (#4182502)
      which still has the patent issue, which may well invalidate the project being GPL.
      • The existence of a patent somewhere in the world should not affect the GPL. After all, there are many places where MP3 isn't patented--should a patent in one part of the world invalidate the GPL license of a piece of software somewhere else?

        Basically, all the GPL can do is keep someone who holds a patent from redistributing the software unless the patent holder allows the patent to be used freely with the GPL'ed software and its derivatives.

        • The existence of a patent somewhere in the world should not affect the GPL.

          That is an excellent point. If this project is somehow patent-encumbered in the USA but not in Canada or Europe, then it should be perfectly legal to use it in Canada and Europe under the terms of the GPL as was intended by the author. However, it seems to me that this project and others like it would be illegal in the USA.

          Yet another reason why I'm thinking that advanced software development (hell, software development in general) may soon be moving out of the USA due to the prevailing legal climate in a manner similar to the way that some doctors are leaving due to the high cost of malpractice insurance created as a result of outrageous jury awards in malpractice suits.
  • Oh (Score:2, Troll)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Oh, you mean the recent news that you irresponsibly covered, without amending the original post, resulting in much ado about nothing, as basically nothing changed?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/26893.htm l

    Next time, when you post a story that's clearly going to cause paranoia and misunderstanding, try to be a bit more adult about it. Mod this down as far as you like - I like Ogg, too, but if this is what it takes for it to gain widespread acceptance, something's wrong.

    • Re:Oh (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Com2Kid (142006)
      Next time, when you post a story that's clearly going to cause paranoia and misunderstanding, try to be a bit more adult about it.

      Take all the fun outa reading /. now wouldn't it? Yee freakin gads, if a person just checks /. for all their news then yah they are gonna be screwed.

      Then again, err, /. has a comments section, want more info/discussion on/about a story? Go to comments. Oh look, you are already there, congrats.
    • Mod Parent Up! (Score:3, Informative)

      by cscx (541332)
      The licensing fee DOES NOT apply to software decoders, only hardware decoders.

      From the Register article:

      A Thomson spokesman told NewsForge's Robin Miller that it was a ruse by Ogg Vorbis advocates to get publicity.®

      Hmmph.


      • The licensing fee DOES NOT apply to software decoders, only hardware decoders.


        Really now? You might want to take a look at the link [mp3licensing.com] provided in that very same article you lifted the "publicity" quote. The licensing specifically lists prices for "PC Software Applications" as well as "Hardware Products".
        • Only for commercial software, however. Since everything in and around Slashdot is all about "Free Software" -- there isn't a problem. Read the Register article.


          • Only for commercial software, however. Since everything in and around Slashdot is all about "Free Software" -- there isn't a problem. Read the Register article.


            Yes. I've read the Register article. And I've read the license. And I missed the part in the license page that says these rates apply to only commercial software. In fact... if you follow the OTHER link [archive.org] provided by the Register article, you'll see that the exclusion to non-commercial/free software has been removed. And THAT is what created all the attention. Not some PR plot from the Ogg Vorbis group.
            • OK, foot in my mouth, but I believe that's what the Thomson guy said in the article. Perhaps someone should have attempted to contact Thomson first? Instead, Slashdot has turned into more of a rumor mill recently, going on totally unverified claims. Just cause something "disappeared" doesn't mean it doesn't still work that way. But making licensors look bad is one of the goals around here, so I'm not surprised that it was posed under false pretenses.
              • Fair enough. But a couple points...


                Just cause something "disappeared" doesn't mean it doesn't still work that way. But making licensors look bad is one of the goals around here, so I'm not surprised that it was posed under false pretenses.


                First, the Thomson rep had a great chance to point out that it was all a misunderstanding. That the removal of the exlusion was an oversight. He didn't. The rep talked about their "policy" and not their "license" - two very, very different things.

                Secondly, when it comes to licenses... the devil is very much in the details. What is or is not specifically spelled out is very important. One would expect a company such as Thomson Multimedia, who's very business is licensing technology, would understand this. If they took something out that had previously been promptly displayed... its a safe bet that it was not a mistake.

                Finally, Slashdot has an axe to grind with licensing. That's pretty clear. But then, anybody who has payed attention to technology over the past couple decades has seen the industry develop a standard mode of operation which uses licensing to remove as many consumer rights as possible. It is little wonder Slashdot reflects a seige mentality that a large number of its readership feels. Myself included.

                If Slashdot has managed to make a licensor look bad, it is very likely their own doing. And in Thomson's case... red herrings such as Ogg Vorbis aside... it is very much their own actions that has brought this attention. All Slashdot had to do was point to the links.
        • Also of note, this is why I am leaning towards Windows Media for streaming... streaming OGG is still too immature and not enough people know about it, and Real is out of the question due to their spyware and overpriced streaming server. (Own Win2k server? Windows media server is free!)


          • Also of note, this is why I am leaning towards Windows Media for streaming...


            Yea. And Microsoft has a sterling reputation when it comes to licensing. Good choice. ;)

            I'm curious as to how difficult it would be to stream OGG. The BBC ran some pretty successful tests, it seemed. And there are others that are doing it. Getting users "there" would be (more or less) as easy as pointing a link to the OGG plugin for Winamp as well as other popular Windows music players that support OGG natively (such as Sonique).
            • I really would like to see some hard-core testing done on OGG. And I'd like to see it go more mainstream. But for now I'm tending to lean the other direction. But free is good :)
              • I think one of your best bets for good testing information would be the BBC's experiment. Slashdot had posted about it, and then posted again to note that the experiment had been extended. I would expect it generated a pretty decent amount of traffic for BBC's servers.

                There were a few positive comments from ex-pats who were enjoying the streams. And I believe a comment from the sysadmin running the test with an overall positive remark and invitation to hit the streams hard.

                It'd be nice to see their data on how well it ended up doing.
              • I'm really hoping for that as well. The 1.0 release has been absolutly amazing for radio level encoding for me. A show I've been off and on listening to has their archives up in real audio format, but unfourtunatly they split them and often their "whole episode" links are flawed. So I wind up having to use Stream Ripper to get the individual files. Then convert them to wav, and finally convert them to ogg before I can hear the episode without having to get up too often. I would have thought converting from real to ogg would have had an absolutly horrid end quality, but at quality level 0 it's actually sounded the same as the source. -1 on those files didnt get as good results, but from non re-encoded files it worked wonderfully for me and with equal or smaller file sizes. If some good studies started getting out there, a totally free alternitive I think would catch on quite quickly.
            • Winamp supports OGG out of the box for quite some time now.
            • Streaming OGG is no harder than streaming MP3's if you use something like the GNUMP3d [gnump3d.org] - and unfortunately named MP3/OGG vorbis streamer.

          • (Own Win2k server? Windows media server is free!)

            Can you show me where I can download an Windows Streaming Player for FreeBSD please?

            oh, I have to buy a copy of Windows you say. Hmm

          • "streaming OGG"

            Dude, I can't cub indo work doday, I got sdreamig ogg.

            graspee

      • From the Register article:

        A Thomson spokesman told NewsForge's Robin Miller that it was a ruse by Ogg Vorbis advocates to get publicity.

        Translation: "We changed our license terms, Xiph.org released an open letter [xiph.org] showing us how silly this move was, and since we don't exactly love them we would like to use this opportunity to dismiss this letter as childish propaganda AND use it as a smokescreen to avoid tricky questions and move on to easier questions." =)

    • as basically nothing changed?

      Much as you may wiish it different, and protestations by Thomson public relations folks aside, the license page did change. Words were removed that were there previously and the words that were removed were the ones that exempted free software from the license fee.

      resulting in much ado about nothing

      Not at all. Much ado, and if you don't think that the change makes any difference then you haven't been paying attention. Would you believe Microsoft's public relations people if they said that security on the Windows platform is as good as security on the Linux platform? I'm sure that words to that effect will have come from that quarter before.

      Public relations, advertising, bafflegab and wishful thinking don't make unpleasant realities go away and in this case the reality is that the terms of license have changed and free software for MP3 is no longer a safe project to undertake in the USA - as a programmer or distributor you may be placing yourself in legal jeopardy. Are you sure you want to take that chance?
    • by hayden (9724) on Monday September 02, 2002 @02:40AM (#4182738)
      From the article you posted:
      [In reference to charging licence fees] For commercially sold decoders - primarily hardware mp3 players
      Keyword, "primarily" meaning mostly but not only hardware decoders. Also:
      Therefore, there is no change in our licensing policy
      Keyword, "policy" meaning yes the licence has changed but our intent currently remains the same.

      Basically Thompson have said they currently don't plan to sue anyone making a software decoder but they don't grant you the right to use their patent either. Nobody selling or planning on selling software can use their patent without risk of infringement (and compensation pays triple if you knowingly infringe a patent) and being sued by Thompson in the future.

      What some PR flack said doesn't change that. It's only what's in the licence that counts.

      Next time, when you post a story that's clearly going to cause paranoia and misunderstanding, try to be a bit more adult about it.
      Next time when you are clearing posting to spread misinformation and crap, try posting as you so you can get modded down for it.
    • Read the article more carefully. It says hardware players still need to pony up. That includes hardware players that use Java as their programming interface (something Sun is keen about.)

      So Sun's still got to get rid of it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @12:04AM (#4182468)
    I already pirate music.
    Why should I care if I have to pirate the codec as well?

    In case you're wondering, yes, I really do board boats, rape the women, kill the crew and take all the CDs on board. So there.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Then the Nimo Codec Pack [btinternet.com] is just what you're looking for. It's the very best collection of (windows-only) "illegal" codecs around.

      This convenient package of codec's would never be possible in a normal business environment. You'd drown in licensing hell first.

    • Oh... that is how you do it?

      Oops, I have been bording the women, raping the crew, killing the CDs, and taking the boat.
  • Confusion.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MortisUmbra (569191) on Monday September 02, 2002 @12:09AM (#4182485)
    I thought it was already decided that the "changes" weren't new at all to the MP3 license terms.... I could be wrong though but thats what I thought the follow-up said....
  • Cheapies...

    Seriously... Shell out the cash and give us the code... How lame (no pun)...

    If Sun was as big and powerful as MS, we'd be making Sun-of-a-bitch jokes just a Micro-soft penis choices...

    Cheapies...
  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Monday September 02, 2002 @01:10AM (#4182611) Homepage Journal
    This link [theregister.co.uk] is carrying the story. Apparantly thomson has also said that they never said that this was applicable to software mp3 players! They blame it on rumours by vorbis group. At newsforge [newsforge.com] thomson has said that ogg is trying to get publicity and attention etc., they actually never had any restrictive terms for software mp3 playeres... no royalties for those.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And you believe the hype the PR department is spewing out? They did in FACT change their licensing agreement to disclude mp3 decoders. Their PR department can state that they will never charge licensing for mp3 players till their face turns blue, but what is in the license is what matters. There is NO exclusion in the revised license that allows free mp3 decoders. The fears layed out by ogg vorbis may be extending a bit, but they are still true.

      I can think of another company that claimed that they would do one thing, but changed their mind when it suited them since their license stated otherwise.
  • by thelinuxking (574760) on Monday September 02, 2002 @01:33AM (#4182646)
    You know, if they left in the MP3 code, every time you wanted to use the Java Virtual Machine, you would have to insert your three quarters...
  • by AlgUSF (238240)
    I guess this is redundant, but Sun should start implementing ogg! I am a java developer, and I hope that Sun implements ogg in the next version of Java!

    ogg is to mp3, what png is to jpg?
    • No. PNG is to GIF what OGG is to MP3.
    • No, Ogg is to MP3 what PNG is to GIF. I think JPG counterpart is JNG, but I'm not sure. And yes you need all of MNG to "consume" all of the GIF features (PNG lacks animation). BTW what about FLAC? FLAC is to MP3 what PNG is to JPEG in the sense that FLAC (and PNG) are lossless, while MP3 (and JPEG) are lossy. Is FLAC (going to be) supported by these Java codecs?
  • Hrmph. The MP3 format has lived long enough. Like PNG is slowly replacing GIF, Ogg Vorbis should replace MP3. Do any of the big-name players support Ogg Vorbis out of the box yet?
    • Winamp does if you download the 'standard' version, but the 'lite' version doesn't (it just lacks the input plugin). On Linux, XMMS (the Winamp work-a-like) supports Ogg too.
  • Well maybe they're not about to go bankrupt -- but given that they seem to be too cheap to buy a license to distribute the MP3 decoder element of their software you have to wonder don't you?

    I noticed that they'd "temporarily suspended downloads" of the JMF when I went to download it a couple of weeks ago -- although no mention was made at that time exactly which license was the "issue" involved.

    Having co-authored a book about Java, having got the tee-shirt, having collected the coffee-mug, and having the Java-cap in my closet, I have to admit that I'm disappointed with the way Sun have screwed up what could have been a beautiful thing.

    Either they're going to sink enough resource into Java to fix the bugs, create a more programmer friendly GUI classlib, and compete head-on with Microsoft's offerings -- or they're going to nickle and dime the project all the way to the grave. I fear the latter is more likely based on events of the past five years or so.

    Sad really -- I like Java.
  • I read an article about JMF not going to support mp3 anymore. An inch below: "Visual Studio .NET! Try it out now!". If you didn't know better, and had watched too much X-Files, you'd think it all was a clever marketing scheme from a Slashdot/Microsoft conspiracy to get developers switching to .NET. :-)
  • by Spazzz (577014) on Monday September 02, 2002 @08:42AM (#4183408)
    Statement from Thomson Multimedia, mp3 Licensing
    In a posting appearing Tuesday August 27, 2002 on the Web site 'slashdot.org,' an individual cited a change in the mp3 license fee structure of Thomson and Fraunhofer. The writer of the post apparently misread the mp3 licensing conditions, as Thomson's mp3 licensing policy has not experienced any change.

    To clarify, since the beginning of our mp3 licensing program in 1995, Thomson has never charged a per unit royalty for freely distributed software decoders. For commercially sold decoders - primarily hardware mp3 players - the per-unit royalty has always been in place since the beginning of the program.

    Therefore, there is no change in our licensing policy and we continue to believe that the royalty fees of .75 cents per mp3 player (on average selling over $200 dollars) has no measurable impact on the consumer experience.

    Stefan Geyersberger
    Business Manager - Audio & Multimedia
    So why the hell is everybody freaking out? I agree, just like GIFs, the MP3 format is encumbered by patents, and it's probably a good idea to start transitioning to a format that doesn't have this problem. However, the sky hasn't fallen yet.

    -J
    • http://www.petitiononline.com/pasp01/petition.html

      This gnu.org petition shows why. Many open source advocates view software patents as the biggest risk to freely available open source software. Lawsuits against many authors of smaller open source programs would bankrupt them personally (no corporate entity to hide behind), and also sour them on open source permanantly.

      The whole point of open source is to gain a sort of core set of freedom from direct corporate control, being under the thumb of Thomson, no matter how much they insist they aren't going to slit your throat with that knife they have against it, isn't a comforting throught.
  • Get the old one here (Score:2, Informative)

    by Danta (2241)
    Here are different sites that offer the old files. For those of us who are willing to pay the license fees only, of course.

    1 [uni-paderborn.de]
    2 [tu-darmstadt.de]
  • From Sun's JMF site [sun.com]: "If and when licensing issues can be resolved, we plan to return MP3 functionality back to JMF."

    If Thomson really does not intend to charge for free software decoders, as its PR department is loudly proclaiming, then the MP3 decoder should be very soon added to the JMF again.
  • If i was more paranoid id say it was a secret plot to move us all to DRM-ized formats.
  • So.. this is probably way off topic.. but.. what do people recommend for converting a huge mp3 library to ogg? I don't want to have to re-encode all of my CDs....
    • what do people recommend for converting a huge mp3 library to ogg? I don't want to have to re-encode all of my CDs....

      If you care at all about sound quality, just re-encode, and consider it a lesson for not having listened to all of us license nazis for the past few years. (:

      Seriously, taking an mp3 stream (with its artifacts), decoding it to PCM, then re-encoding to Ogg Vorbis format (with its artifacts) will give you inferior sound quality. I don't know how inferior, not having tried this, but be warned. (And, of course, don't judge the quality of the ogg codec by such results!)

      If you still think it's worth trying - well, cook up a shell script using mpg123, oggenc and your favorite id3 tag reader. In fact, I'll do it for you...

      [one hour later] OK, try mp32ogg [cadcamlab.org]. Requires perl, id3, mpg123 or equivalent, and oggenc from vorbis-tools. Tested on Debian Linux 3.1pre ("sarge") - may require tweaking on other OSes. No copyright, no warranty, etc. (:

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