IP protection




Please provide a short description of the state-of-the-art and/or current trends in the field? How does the result fit into it?
Keywords: digital preservation, audio restoration

Looking to what the market already offers, some results can be found. Some products dedicated to editing and restoring audio sources are available on the market. They range from 100 € to 50 k€ (HW + SW).

CEDAR Audio ( http://www.cedar-audio.com/ ) is a company dedicated solely to audio restoration and speech enhancement for film, post, TV and radio broadcast, CD and DVD mastering, libraries and archives, and for audio forensic investigation. CEDAR Tools™ is a suite of processes that brings the highest standards of audio restoration to the Pro Tools™ (PC) platform. Offering high resolution processing of up to forty-eight tracks simultaneously, CEDAR Tools provides excellent results, quickly, and with the minimum of user intervention. CEDAR is an expensive tool used especially by records companies to restore pop and rock audio sources to be stored on commercial DVDs.

Clarity ( by Plagent Processes http://www.plangentprocesses.com/ http://www.triggertone.com/term/Clarity_Audio_Restoration_by_Plangent_Processesis) is a combination of proprietary DSP software and hardware for the playback of 35mm magnetic sound film and audiotape that corrects the anomalies generated by both gross and subtle speed instability.
Sonic NoNoise ( http://www.avid.com/US/products/Sonic-NoNOISE ) is a plug in to the Pro Tools™ (PC) platforml for restoring audio recordings. Its advanced processes isolate and eliminate audio artifacts such as hiss, scratches, hum, and mechanical and impulsive noise. NoNOISE is not a single process or software module, but a set of powerful tools to remove bothersome noise without damage to the program material. NoNOISE can be used to restore old recordings, remove unwanted noises from field recordings, and repair audio materials that have suffered damage.

PRIME aims to  build a framework of tools and a network of archives that may help in a wide range of preservation tasks not yet performed due to technical and economical issues.

The CSC experience and tools are usable also in some uncovered domain like the electronic music that has been produced since the second half of nineties. On the other hand, there is the need (manifested by many archives) to preserve from definitive loss many artistic contributions with possibly scarce commercial interest.



What is the problem/need/knowledge gap that the research result is responding to?  How was it addressed before?
PRIME aims to cover some fields not covered by common tools like restoring electronic music (typically containing “wanted noise” or, in other words, non harmonic sounds) and to integrate hardware and software to build a customizable set of tools dedicated to the restoration of a particular archive. As appearing from web search, many excellent tools are available but they are not always in the same platform and they cover only specific fields of application. Thus, the value of the research result is to harmonized in an effective way just the tools needed for a certain restoration or preservation task.




What is the potential for further research?
The potential is related to the opportunity to solve new problems coming out from an extensive use of the framework over many archives.  The research may be applied to refine or develop new algorithms suitable to the new cases.





What is the proposed method of IPR-protection? (patent, license, trademark etc.)
About the protection of the algorithms, the copyright could be considered.

A similar level of protection can be made by the researcher by sending the software description and the software itself on a CD in a closed envelop by certified mail to himself. The stamp certifies the date of release of the software and can be used against claims of originality or to claim originality.

The patent could be a possibility for a complete “machine” to be considered as a product. At the moment, the product will be based on some commercial off the shelf components like a PC and some computer programs and thus a patent may be difficult to apply.







What are the steps that need to be taken in order to secure the IPR-protection? What is the cost of IPR-protection?
Copyright protection by the registration of the software on the Public Register for computer programs has a cost starting from 120 €.

A first view of patents with the keywords audio preservation,  restoring audio signals, audio restoration shows few not very relevant results.



It has to be considered that the proposed product is a complex product. If it is considered as an assembly of HW and SW, it is probably difficult to state that it’s not original. On the other hand, a detailed search may be necessary in function of single components.

The patent costs in Italy are around 2500 € (up front) + increasing annual fees from 60€ up to 650€ in the 20 year period. The estimated cost for the PCT application in the main countries is in the range of tens of k€.




What is you overall assessment of the scientific maturity of the research result?
The scientific contributions have are deeply tested and the needed effort is mostly on making them integrated and usable. This is why it can be stated that the result is mature.








Please put X as appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5
Scientific maturity         X
Synergies         X
State-of-the-art/innovation       X  
IPR-potential     X    




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