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[Bug 22969] Clarify influence/reference to OpenAL, IPR considerations

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2013 10:25:50 +0000
To: public-audio@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-22969-5429-lqyXntEfhF@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=22969

--- Comment #1 from Olivier Thereaux <olivier.thereaux@bbc.co.uk> ---
With the help of the W3C Legal counsel, I have done an analysis of the
situation based on a recent version of OpenAL-soft (open source fork of OpenAL
- OpenAL itself seems to be completely AWOL).


The four parts of the web audio API where OpenAL is mentioned are:

(in 4.15. The AudioListener Interface)
>   // same as OpenAL (default 1)
>   attribute float dopplerFactor;

> My analysis: the name dopplerFactor is indeed the same as in the OpenAL library. That said, Doppler Factor is a well-known mathematical variable, and I don't think that there is significant IP or indeed any copyright concern in naming a variable after the mathematical variable it represents. I would remove the "same as OpenAL" which seems to be neither useful nor necessary.


(in 11. Spatialization / Panning)
> A common feature requirement for modern 3D games is the ability to dynamically spatialize and move multiple audio sources in 3D space. Game audio engines such as OpenAL, FMOD, Creative's EAX, Microsoft's XACT Audio, etc. have this ability.


My analysis: I don't know if this section is useful, but it is a non-issue as
far as IPR/copyright is concerned.

(in 12. Linear Effects using Convolution)
> A key feature of many game audio engines (OpenAL, FMOD, Creative's EAX, Microsoft's XACT Audio, etc.) is a reverberation effect for simulating the sound of being in an acoustic space.

Ditto above.

(In Changelog)
> date:        Mon Feb 06 16:52:39 2012 -0800
> * Add distance model constants for PannerNode according to the OpenAL spec


The changeset mentioned here is:
       https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/rev/7a158cdbb064

The relevant changes in the source of the spec were:
https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/rev/7a158cdbb064#l1.74
(up to line 88)

This part of the spec has since been deprecated and are now only present in the
(non normative) deprecation note.

The change set mentioned above also happens to be the only one ever mentioning
OpenAL.


Based on the above, my conclusion would be that there is no significant
borrowing/influence from OpenAL in the web audio API, other than similarities
which would occur naturally since the concepts and mathematical basis for the
two are the same. This conclusion was deemed reasonable by the W3C legal team.

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