The Null Device

Meet the new MP3

The MP3 patentholders are rewriting the standard to include DRM copy-denial. Owning the patents, they are entitled to crack down on encoders using the old unencumbered MP3 format, or even borrow the RIAA's internet-user-suing infrastructure to go after indie bands who unlawfully put non-DRM-enhanced MP3s on their websites. Not that they'd necessarily do something like that; except, perhaps, if the RIAA paid them under the table to do so or something.

The penguinheads, of course, will go to Ogg Vorbis; apparently, there are now hardware devices which play Ogg files. (No word on whether this is done in a DSP chip, as MP3 decoding is, or whether the device's poor little CPU has to decode the OGG files itself, undoubtedly cutting battery life in half; I'd bet the latter.) Though there may be a window of time during which you cannot legally obtain a new device that plays your "old MP3" files (or even a secondhand one, especially if it relies on Flash ROM firmware which deteriorates within 10 years). All because the recording racket is desperate to preserve its precious scarcity from the depredations of the evil pirasites.

There are 1 comments on "Meet the new MP3":

Posted by: gjw Thu Mar 4 00:20:50 2004

The vast majority of hardware OGG encoders just use CPU, although a dedicated chip has been available for a few months. An advantage of OGG is that it can be decoded using integer maths only, which can save some processing power.

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