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

"Olle E. Johansson" <oej@edvina.net> Thu, 30 May 2013 07:14 UTC

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Subject: [codec] Fwd: [asterisk-dev] Opus and VP8
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Please comment on this statement about Opus from Matt Jordan, the 
project leader for the Asterisk project.


Vidarebefordrat brev:

> Från: Matthew Jordan <mjordan@digium.com>
> Ämne: Re: [asterisk-dev] Opus and VP8
> Datum: 29 maj 2013 20:55:58 CEST
> Till: asterisk-dev@lists.digium.com
> Svara till: Asterisk Developers Mailing List <asterisk-dev@lists.digium.com>
> On 05/25/2013 05:19 AM, Hans Witvliet wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Olle E. Johansson <oej@edvina.net>
>> Reply-to: Asterisk Developers Mailing List
>> <asterisk-dev@lists.digium.com>
>> To: Asterisk Developers Mailing List <asterisk-dev@lists.digium.com>
>> Cc: Olle E. Johansson <oej@edvina.net>
>> 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 <lminiero@gmail.com>:
>>> 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, Xiph.org,
> 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: http://digium.com & http://asterisk.org