[轉貼] MusicIP Obtains Patent for Acoustic Fingerprinting

April 13, 2006
By Bill Rosenblatt

MusicIP, a startup located in southern California formerly known as Predixis, announced last week that it was awarded a patent for its acoustic fingerprinting technology. U.S. Patent No. 7,013,301 covers a specific technique for computing an acoustic fingerprint, which is a small amount of data that captures the identity of a music track, the way a human fingerprint captures the identity of a person.


Acoustic fingerprinting has several interesting uses, including as a way of identifying music tracks being exchanged on file-sharing networks. The theory is that an acoustic fingerprint technology can monitor files being sent around such networks, analyze them, and determine the identity of the music so that the rights holders can control access to them. There are a handful of "copyright respecting P2P" music services that use acoustic fingerprinting and are currently in beta test, including Snocap (through the online retailer Mashboxx), which uses acoustic fingerprinting from Philips Content Recognition, and iMesh, which uses technology from Audible Magic. (Another such music service, Qtrax, is in development with Audible Magic's technology)

MusicIP intends its technology to be used for other purposes, including music search and recommendation. But the most interesting technology that MusicIP has developed is its MusicDNS service. Just as the Internet's domain name service (DNS) returns the IP address of a node on the Internet, given the node's name (e.g., www.drmwatch.com), MusicDNS returns a unique identifier that denotes the music in a given digital music file. MusicIP calls its identifier scheme the Music IP ID or MIP-ID.

This type of unique identifier scheme is important to rights management because it can be used as the "glue" to connect music recognition with various services, such as access control, metadata, royalty payments, controlled sharing, rights clearances, and so on. It actually serves a purpose similar to that of the music industry's existing ISWC (International Standard Works Code) ID standard -- which makes us wonder why MusicIP didn't use ISWCs instead of its own scheme.

MusicIP recognizes the importance of MusicDNS to rights management: it has entered into a partnership with Creative Commons that effectively enables musical artists to register their music in the MusicDNS fingerprint database along with Creative Commons rights metadata.

As for the patent, it covers MusicIP's specific method of acoustic fingerprinting, which involves a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition (SVD). It does not necessarily cover other acoustic fingerprinting methods, such as those of Audible Magic, which has its own patents.


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