FreeDB is a replacement of CDDB. It was formed when Escient changed the license of CDDB use, making it possible to discriminate against some client programs, placing restrictions on use of other CD databases, and so on. Plus, it was no longer guaranteed that the CD information would stay free, as everyone had expected...
Here's one story about this found on FreeDB site:
Funny sidenote: One programmer told me, that
his cd-player will be banned if he is refusing to display the CDDB-logo. His software is a console-based program (it does not produce any graphical output) for blind people...
...of course, this is just one of the "insane restrictions CDDB now has." FreeDB, of course, doesn't have this. I've even got correct song info from there most of the time! Strange, isn't it?
FreeDB uses the same protocol as CDDB. Just tell your CD player program to use freedb.freedb.org as the CDDB server, and email@example.com as the submission address.
XMMS naturally uses this as default. All FreeDB information (server + the actual database) is published under GPL.