Remember CDDB, the old database of CD’s that people built for people’s use. Well that dream got shot and killed when Gracenote, the company behind it, decided to close the platform and sell the data. It looks like private sector strikes again, big time. Sony has just announced that they bought Gracenote and their Database — remember the one that me, you and millions of others helped build — for $260m. Nice work S, now I wonder if there is a international law against buying/selling something that does not belong to you. Well ponder on that and start using freedb at freedb.org where things are protected by GPL and will always remain FREE.
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And now the rootkit gang can monitor which CDRs you stick into iTunes or Winamp. Chilling. Good time to change to an app that does not use Gracenote.
The History of Gracenote CDDB
Gracenote was originally started as CDDB. The founders originally ran the service as an open source service and many people and software developers contributed to entering CD’s into the database.
The founders then pulled a fast one. They sold the service and started telling people they own the database and created ugly license terms. This led to the alternative service called freedb which remains free (as in beer) and is licensed under the GPL, as the original CDDB was before the switcheroo.
Next they sent out ominous letters to people about potential patent violations. The Gracenote people then followed up by suing a former customer for switching to freedb, and then suing another former customer for creating their own music identification service.
In the meantime, they used the community generated data to help to close the original Napster, and earned a bad reputation.
Musicmatch, the second former customer that was sued was found not to be violating Gracenote’s patents.
By this time the company had made many enemies and the founder was trying to rewrite history on Wikipedia. This led the founder to do a long winded interview with Wired to defend his actions over the years.
After Gracenote lost its patent lawsuit to Musicmatch, other companies started to compete with the former CDDB.
The information above used to be available at the old Wikipedia article, but Gracenote had much of it removed by threatening the Wikipedia foundation with complaints. You can still read about it at the discussion on Wikipedia, but not at the current Wikipedia article.
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