[ID3 Dev] Problem with definitions of TPUB and TCOP, and the lack of a separate field for "Record Label"

Peter Bennett pgbennett at comcast.net
Tue Nov 1 17:05:45 PDT 2011

Since nobody has responded I will give my opinions on this.
The ID3 standard is very loosely applied and there is not really any
governing body.
Most applications are using ID3v2.3. ID3v2.4 is out there, but since
many applications and hardware devices do not support it, it is not very
useful. The same will apply to any new changes proposed.
Also, bear in mind that there is nothing to stop people from modifying
or removing the ID3 tags from a file.
There are many mp3 files out there with invalid tags, incorrect data in
frames, and tags formatted wrongly.
I think the best is for you to agree on a format with your customers,
and hopefully they will then got to other suppliers and get the
convention more widely followed.
If there are not frames for what you need, you can create your own User
defined text information frame (TXXX). There can be as many of these as
you need, each one with a unique description. You can use your web
address or domain in the description to keep it distinct from frames
used by others.
As far as the TCOP frame is concerned, the definition in ID3V2.3 is
rather vague, as you mentioned, but the ID3v2.4 definition adds some

   The 'Copyright message' frame, in which the string must begin with a
   year and a space character (making five characters), is intended for
   the copyright holder of the original sound, not the audio file
   itself. The absence of this frame means only that the copyright
   information is unavailable or has been removed, and must not be
   interpreted to mean that the audio is public domain. Every time this
   field is displayed the field must be preceded with "Copyright " (C) "
   ", where (C) is one character showing a C in a circle.

 You could use this definition with ID3v2.3 because it will still fit
the ID3v2.3 standard, and add some structure to the frame data.

The Publisher frame which could be label or publisher - you will have to
agree on some convention, probably putting the label in TPUB is most useful.

Let me know if I can assist with any implementation details, Jampal has
some features that may make things easier for you, like mass tagging of
files, supporting user defined tags, batch processing.

Peter Bennett
(Music lover and author of Jampal)

On 10/28/2011 5:43 PM, Steven Saffer wrote:
> Hi,
> Please see below e-mail I sent to Dan O'Neill, who has requested I
> send it to the list.
> There are two issues, namely with the definitions of the TCOP field
> and the TPUB field, but the more urgent issue is with the definition
> of the TPUB field:
> Definition of the TPUB field as "Label or Publisher" is problematic.
> There needs to be a specific field for the label -- see below for
> explanation.
> Thanks,
> Steven
> Steven Saffer B.E.Sc (EE), MBA
> President
> Abbeywood Records
> t: +1 416 441-9578
> f: +1 416 391-2646
> c: +1 416 301-0700
> steven at abbeywoodrecords.com <mailto:steven at abbeywoodrecords.com>
> http://abbeywoodrecords.com <http://abbeywoodrecords.com/>
> ________________________
> Dear Dan,
> Thanks for the prompt reply. I'm pleased to be on the list, especially
> since I have been involved in other standards groups, as a developer at
> the audio company TC Electronic, and an executive at TC Applied
> Technologies (http://tctechnologies.tc <http://tctechnologies.tc/>).
> Now running a record label, we
> have noticed that many of our partners are now asking for tagged mp3s of
> our catalog. I started digging into the spec as a result of uncovering
> differences in how these fields have been interpreted by developers of
> tagging apps, specifically MusicBrainz Picard and MP3Tag.
> As relates to TPUB, the issues I am seeing seem to be as a result of the
> very loose definition of the TPUB field ("either label OR publisher"), and
> also as a result of the lack of specifics around the TCOP field. Picard
> interprets and displays the TPUB field as the name of the label, whereas
> MP3Tag (and other tagging apps) display it as "Publisher".
> These differences will have a significant impact on the enforcing of
> copyright and the payment of royalties to artists, labels and publishers,
> specifically as relates to the reporting of usage to performing rights
> (and other) societies. For example, when an MP3 is submitted to an
> internet radio station that decides to use the included metadata to report
> to Soundexchange (the organization that collects money on behalf of
> featured performers), the label information is used. If the name of the
> publisher is used, there is a risk that the label will not see these
> royalties. There needs to be a separate field for the label name.
> A distinction needs to be made between the sound recording copyright owner
> (could be the same as the label but in case the content is licensed,
> that will not be
> the case), and the copyright in the composition (the publisher), and
> perhaps an additional field is necessary, as well as a clearer description
> of what these fields should contain. Although the description in the spec
> as relates to the TCOP field would seem to suggest that the name of the
> sound recording copyright owner is included in this field, it is not
> clearly defined and may be misunderstood by developers. Another source of
> confusion is that it is not clear whether the application should prefix
> the copyright field with the (C) symbol when displaying the information,
> or the person tagging should include the (C) symbol. It is also unclear
> whether the year should be included in the field itself when the recording
> is tagged, or this field will be prefixed with the data in the 'year'
> field when the metadata is displayed, or it will be displayed in the field
> heading in the app.
> As relates to the TPUB field, the label may be the same as the publisher,
> but typically they are different. As we see broader adoption of the
> standard and use of the metadata by the music industry, these are issues
> that should be dealt with now.
> Let me know if there is anything else you need, and if there are any
> upcoming meetings where this issue might be discussed.
> Looking forward to hearing from you.
> Best regards,
> Steven
> Steven Saffer B.E.Sc (EE), MBA
> President
> Abbeywood Records
> t: +1 416 441-9578
> f: +1 416 391-2646
> c: +1 416 301-0700
> steven at abbeywoodrecords.com <mailto:steven at abbeywoodrecords.com>
> http://abbeywoodrecords.com <http://abbeywoodrecords.com/>

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