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Re: [web-audio-api] Clarify influence/reference to OpenAL, IPR considerations (#70)

From: Olivier Thereaux <notifications@github.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 07:29:27 -0700
To: WebAudio/web-audio-api <web-audio-api@noreply.github.com>
Message-ID: <WebAudio/web-audio-api/issues/70/24244133@github.com>
> [Original comment](https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=22969#0) by Olivier Thereaux on W3C Bugzilla. Tue, 27 Aug 2013 10:25:50 GMT

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:

The relevant changes in the source of the spec were:
(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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