Re: [codec] [asterisk-dev] Opus and VP8

"Michael Graves" <> Sat, 29 June 2013 12:18 UTC

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From: "Michael Graves" <>
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Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2013 07:18:28 -0500
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Subject: Re: [codec] [asterisk-dev] Opus and VP8
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Earlier this week Mr Duffet & Mr Sokol performed a demo at WebRTC Expo in
Atlanta. It involved Asterisk on a Raspberry Pi interacting with Chrome via


TMC put the video online.


The implication is that Asterisk now or will soon handle Opus, web sockets,


Michael Graves 


From: [] On Behalf Of
Anthony Minessale
Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 7:04 PM
To: Cullen Jennings (fluffy)
Subject: Re: [codec] [asterisk-dev] Opus and VP8


I think everything you can iterate about VoIP / Internet / Security in
general leads to some patent claim or another.


We've had a working Opus module in FreeSWITCH for over a year now and our
new WebRTC beta utilizes it.

We're in a similar boat with video and have to do some work if we wanted to
achieve transcoding.


Asterisk already has Silk and CELT anyway so aren't they already opening
that can of worms?








On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 5:28 PM, Cullen Jennings (fluffy) <
<> > wrote:

Well, Asterisk does SIP and that has way more IPR on it than Opus, so uh, I
guess you will need to decide if you think some random claim on IETF web
site is a valid concern or not. Good luck. Note that blocking all forward
progress on asterisk by filing claims on an IETF web page is also a risk to
the project.

(Oh, and TLS has lots of IPR too)

PS - every effort possible has been made to ensure that Opus is GPL

On May 30, 2013, at 2:14 AM, Olle E. Johansson <
<> > wrote:

> Please comment on this statement about Opus from Matt Jordan, the
> project leader for the Asterisk project.
> Regards,
> /Olle
> Vidarebefordrat brev:
>> Från: Matthew Jordan < <> >
>> Ämne: Re: [asterisk-dev] Opus and VP8
>> Datum: 29 maj 2013 20:55:58 CEST
>> Till:
>> Svara till: Asterisk Developers Mailing List
< <> >
>> On 05/25/2013 05:19 AM, Hans Witvliet wrote:
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Olle E. Johansson < <> >
>>> Reply-to: Asterisk Developers Mailing List
>>> < <> >
>>> To: Asterisk Developers Mailing List <
<> >
>>> Cc: Olle E. Johansson < <> >
>>> Subject: Re: [asterisk-dev] Opus and VP8
>>> Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 13:26:29 +0200
>>> 24 maj 2013 kl. 12:51 skrev Lorenzo Miniero <
<> >:
>>>> PS: a few months ago I also talked, on the #asterisk-dev IRC, about
>>>> the support I added for both Opus (transcoding) and VP8 (passthrough)
>>>> in Asterisk, codecs that are currently the default ones used in
>>>> WebRTC. I checked whether there was an interest in a patch for them,
>>>> but at the time there were some concerns about the copyright status of
>>>> Opus that prevented it to be considered for integration in Asterisk.
>>>> Has this situation changed in the meanwhile? I can open a separate
>>>> thread for this if needed.
>>> Lorenzo,
>>> Good seeing you here!
>>> Due to legal issues I don't think Digium can accept a contribution of
>>> Opus and VP8 in the svn repositories today.
>>> I would encourage you, if you have these patches, to publish them on a
>>> web site like github or sourceforge so w all can help you test it. I
>>> really would like for these to be available for the community in an easy
>>> form.
>> <snip>
>> Hello! I'm going to comment here specifically to clarify Digium's
>> position on Opus and VP8 as codecs and their inclusion in Asterisk.
>> To start, pass through support in the form of a format module is fine
>> for both Opus and VP8. It involves no transcoding and hence cannot
>> violate any claims against their technology. We'd be happy to see format
>> modules in Asterisk.
>> VP8 is the easier of the two to clarify. A codec for VP8 is probably not
>> appropriate, regardless of any patent or IPR issues. Asterisk doesn't
>> perform video transcoding. Video transcoding is an intensive operation
>> that performs poorly without hardware augmentation. We've always taken
>> the stance that software video transcoding in Asterisk would cause more
>> problems then it would solve; as such, VP8 as a codec is best left
>> outside of Asterisk.
>> The real question is: what about Opus?
>> Before that, a word about the American patent system.
>> The American patent system has devolved into what can only be charitably
>> described as mafia-inspired extortion. Non-practicing entities (NPEs)
>> are groups of lawyers who have not and never will produce, market, or
>> sell a product. The only actions they perform are filing infringement
>> claims against businesses and individuals, regardless of whether or not
>> that business or individual actually violates a patent, with the sole
>> purpose of extracting as much money out of said business or individual
>> as they can. The cost of fighting these claims is enormous. The cost of
>> losing a fight against even one of these claims is crippling. The NPEs
>> know this. Technical merit, logic, rationale, or any kind of morality
>> has no applicability here: these folks exist solely to find new and more
>> creative ways to make claims against you and take your money.
>> They'd be happy to put you out of business in the process.
>> Back to Opus.
>> There are several IPRs filed against Opus with the unfortunate licensing
>> declaration of "Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory License to All
>> Implementers with Possible Royalty/Fee." These IPRs have not been
>> clarified, and the entities making these claims have not moved one way
>> or the other regarding their claims. If any one of these entities
>> decides to play the NPE game (see: Alcatel-Lucent), they could crush
>> Digium like a bug. They could go after every user, integrator, and
>> developer of Asterisk as well. It has the potential of spelling the end
>> of the Asterisk project. The risk of this unfortunately does not justify
>> the inclusion of Opus as a codec in Asterisk.
>> Question: I am a user, integrator, and developer of Asterisk that does
>> not work for Digium. Since Digium holds the copyright of Asterisk, how
>> am I at risk?
>> Answer: I have no idea. I do know that logic and reasoning does not
>> apply where patents are concerned. Caveat emptor.
>> Question: Asterisk is an open source project. Doesn't that protect me
>> somehow?
>> Answer: No. The GPLv2 specifically states "that any patent must be
>> licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all". There are
>> additional sections that further explain how patents affect software
>> licensed under GPLv2; suffice to say that the sections exist to protect
>> the freedom of the software; not to protect you from patent trolls.
>> Question: If all of this is true, why does Google, Mozilla,,
>> and others implement Opus?
>> Answer: They either have an army of lawyers, are willing to roll the
>> dice on their future, or are ignorant of how the patent system works.
>> Question: This is messed up. If all of this is true, how can we ever
>> innovate in areas where patents have ever been filed?
>> Answer: You can't. The system is broken.
>> Question: What can I do about it?
>> Answer: Contact your government officials. Complain. The only way this
>> situation will get fixed is if the laws are changed. Note that there is
>> at least one bill being brought up in the U.S. Senate to address these
>> exact deficiencies in the American patent system (and possibly more in
>> the House); if you are a U.S. citizen I highly recommend you contact
>> your elected Senators/Representatives and express your opinion(s).
>> I hope this helps everyone understand why we've made our decision. We
>> all hope that this situation changes in the near future, but until then,
>> we'll have to limit our support of these codecs in Asterisk to
>> pass-through only.
>> Thanks
>> Matt
>> --
>> Matthew Jordan
>> Digium, Inc. | Engineering Manager
>> 445 Jan Davis Drive NW - Huntsville, AL 35806 - USA
>> Check us out at: &
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Anthony Minessale II


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