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Topic: Opus Patent Pool (Read 3833 times) previous topic - next topic
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Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #1
They do this now?
I hope they fail miserably.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #2
Pardon me, did they took Opus and are selling licencing rights? Can they do that?
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Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #3
Pardon me, did they took Opus and are selling licencing rights? Can they do that?

They say Dolby and Fraunhofer have patents they deem applicable to Opus.

This is once again a prime example of a policy of creating Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). They say they have applicable patents, but they do not publish a list. In fact the page says

Quote
Patent essentiality evaluation by independent experts is currently ongoing and a list of patents licensable under the Opus Pool will be published soon.

I read that as: we don't even know whether there are patents that are applicable to Opus. We just like to scare people, so they use someone elses product (which are products by Dolby or Fraunhofer in certain use cases).

It might be this 'soon' will stay there forever. Just give people the idea there might be applicable patents. Can't sue them over patents when it is not known which are meant. Once again, prime example of FUD.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.


Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #5
Would there be legal ground for suing these scammers for their FUD, then?
Just wondering.

This is so wrong.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #6
MS did the same with ANS.

Same thing will be done with Opus.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #7
2 questions: Which software could be affected by the vague wording? And, do players use native opus player or add own code to support opus on 2018 and 2019 phones?

One of my favorite aps on android app plays opus.  The app is largely free, but the paid version offers better file navigation.

So, by the wording, they claim only open source sw won't pay royalties, which is a very fuzzy statement: a commercial sw using the open source decoder might be exempt, or might not; free software is not necessarily open source; lots of free software using opus get paid for value added services.

Plus, I am now clueless if the audio player I use is likely using phone built in opus decoding libraries or included them into the apk.

I don't think the player could play xHE-AAC so I am not considering using it.  If opus support is taken out, I am going back to mp3, which is  a shame because I need the sub 24 kps range for my thousands of hours of voice recordings.

It doesn't  make sense that the press release tries to calm down fears of software fees, if they were only trying to scare people with fud.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #8
Plus, I am now clueless if the audio player I use is likely using phone built in opus decoding libraries or included them into the apk.
Then you probably shouldn't think on it too much. As you say, there are too many unknowns for you to figure this out. Just wait this out, I suspect the chances are quite high opus support will not be ripped out and nothing bad will happen.

Quote
It doesn't  make sense that the press release tries to calm down fears of software fees, if they were only trying to scare people with fud.
Of course it does. The open-source community, and specifically the part backing opus, might be very much able to fight back. With this statement they might be pre-emptively trying to make lawsuits by the open-source community against them 'inadmissible' on the ground of them being exempt from this patent pool. Just a guess, I'm not a lawyer.

Hardware manufacturers on the other hand, might not care much for legal proceedings and might not fight back. Especially smaller ones. In the case of hardware devices, there is simply too large a risk of the devices having to be recalled and/or scrapped. The chance of a patent 'enduring' might be small, but if it happens, the losses are far too great.

Anyway, three months have passed since the announcement, but no list of patents has been published yet, while the announcement says it is about 'hundreds of patents'. So much for it being published 'soon'.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #9
Has company/project bitten on this FUD-bait and stopped using Opus as a result?


Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #11
I'd be shocked if they ever actually list any patents publicly since the open source community and even more shocked if they try to go to court over it.
If there are any patents, it's likely that they're questionably valid, questionably applicable to Opus, or both.
Anyway, I think these people benefit more from FUD, say, leading people to go with AAC rather than Opus and license the AAC patents, than actually enforcing this.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #12
License terms have now been published

https://www.opuspool.com/licence-terms
Quote
Standard License Fee

License Fee: € 0.15 per unit
Additional Terms for Compliant Licensees(1)
The following discounts are available to Compliant Licensees:
- Annual License Fee Cap: € 15,000,000
- Past Practice: not payable for any Licensed Products sold in the period prior to January 1, 2023

(1) A Compliant Licensee is a willing licensee acting in good faith and in complete and continued compliance with the terms and conditions of Opus PLA (Patent License Agreement).
 
Terms for Early Licensees(2)

The following additional discounts are available to Early Licensees:
- License Fee: € 0.10 per unit
- Annual License Fee Cap: € 10,000,000
- Past Practice: not payable for any Licensed Products sold in the period prior to the Starting Date(3)

(2) An Early Licensee is a Compliant Licensee that executes the Opus PLA by the Starting Date.
(3) The Starting Date is the later of (i) October 1, 2023, or (ii) within six (6) months from the date Licensee first offers a Licensed Product for sale.

There's also a list of patents covered by that license published.

I have strong feelings regarding this development and I hope some sort of defense strategy can be implemented.




MOD Edit: Paragraph was edited per OP's request.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #13
It seems to me some patents on this list don't even exist?

FR3605534, GB3605534, NL3605534 and IL3605534 don't seem to exist, but EP3605534 does.

Same goes for NL2589046 and IT2589046, they don't exist, but EP2589046 does. GB2589046 is something completely different, not a patent of Dolby, and was only applied for in 2018. FR2589046 wasn't applied for by Dolby either, is titled "DEVICE FOR PREPARING INDUSTRIAL FOOD" (translated from DISPOSITIF POUR LA PREPARATION D'UN ALIMENT INDUSTRIEL) and has long expired.

So from a quick glance this list seems 'bloated' already. I'll have to dive into this a little more.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #14
So, first of all, I'm just some dummy somewhere on the internet. Don't take my word, this is all based on information available to the public.

I've looked at the European Patents.

- EP2207170, "System for audio decoding with filling of spectral holes". Expires halfway 2023. It seems this would be applicable to both encoding and decoding. I have no clue whether this applies to Opus. Even if it does, the patent expires soon.

- EP1873754, "Audio encoder, audio decoder and audio processor having a dynamically variable warping characteristic". Expires 2026. I have no clue whether this applies.

- EP2144171, "Audio encoder and decoder for encoding and decoding frames of a sampled audio signal". Expires 2028. I have no clue whether this applies

- EP2352147 and EP2304723, expire 2029. Apply to encoding and decoding, one patent for each. This patent specifically states using bandwidth extension. As far as I know, Opus doesn't do that. The Opus specification says:

The output of the Opus decode is the sum of the outputs from the SILK and CELT decoders with proper sample rate conversion and delay compensation on the SILK side, and optional  decimation (when decoding to sample rates less than 48 kHz) on the CELT side.

So there is no clever combining like the patents claim, simply added together.

- EP3364414, "Audio bandwidth extension decoder, corresponding method and computer program". Expires 2029. As far as I know Opus doesn't use bandwidth extension.

- EP3605534, EP2589046, EP3079153, EP3422346, EP3079152 and EP2757560, "Audio decoding with selective post-filtering ". Expires 2031. Applies to decoding. This first of these patents was filed at a point where the Opus specification wasn't final, but the draft was already 160 pages long, excluding the appendices.

- EP2625688, "Apparatus and method for processing an audio signal and for providing a higher temporal granularity for a combined unified speech and audio codec (usac)". Expires 2031, filed even later than the previous entry on this list. It seems to apply at least to decoding.

As noted before, the numbers of these European patents have been 'copied' as being French, British, Italian, Dutch patents, but these patent numbers do not seem to exist or are completely unrelated.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #15
A couple of the Dolby patents also seem to resolve around voice activity detection (VAD). While the official Opus library certainly includes VAD in the encoder to automatically switch encoder modes, this is not an "essential" part of the codec (ffmpeg has a CELT-only Opus encoder and no VAD as far as I can tell). Also, libopus uses a very advanced neural-net VAD method (https://jmvalin.ca/opus/opus-1.3/) that appears to be very different to the simplistic approaches (moving average over subband energy) Dolby has claimed. In addition, this should not apply whatsoever to the decoder.

I think this patent list may have been assembled more by keyword search than actual critical technical review.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #16
It's almost like they're going for quantity over quality for maximum FUD

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #17
It's almost like they're going for quantity over quality for maximum FUD

Their "Early Licensees" tier also smells a bit like "don't look too closely!" in my opinion. I assume they quickly want to aggregate a high number of licensees to construct an appearance of acceptance and validity.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #18
I'm still skeptical they'll actually sue since it sounds like their patent pool is questionably applicable

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #19
I just realised how clever the timing of this is. Currently the biggest hurdle to a wider Opus adoption is support in devices such as car stereos, portable media players, etc. It's the perfect time to either try to FUD that away (if that's your goal), or to at least scam some money off of it.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #20
opusfile hasn't been updated in over 2 years (problems with OpenSSL)

seems like they partnered with Dolby and Fraunhofer

legal issues aside, why isn't Opus more widely adopted?  is this something to do with VR audio?

and i didn't know what these were until i searched

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_pool

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #21
It seems to me some patents on this list don't even exist?

FR3605534, GB3605534, NL3605534 and IL3605534 don't seem to exist, but EP3605534 does.

Same goes for NL2589046 and IT2589046, they don't exist, but EP2589046 does. GB2589046 is something completely different, not a patent of Dolby, and was only applied for in 2018. FR2589046 wasn't applied for by Dolby either, is titled "DEVICE FOR PREPARING INDUSTRIAL FOOD" (translated from DISPOSITIF POUR LA PREPARATION D'UN ALIMENT INDUSTRIEL) and has long expired.

So from a quick glance this list seems 'bloated' already. I'll have to dive into this a little more.

Yeah, the FR, GB, NL, IL, and IT "patents" with the same numbers as the EP filing only mean that the EP filing listed those countries as EP countries relevant to the EP filing.  This large list, in general, includes a smaller number of base patents as well as their patent family member equivalents in other jurisdictions.

Re: Opus Patent Pool

Reply #22
So, I took a look at the pool, and that whole list of patents distills down to the following 16 base patents, FYI:

    US7447631
    US7516064
    US7873511
    US8195454
    US8296159
    US8457975
    US8892449
    US9082395
    US9100768
    US9111530
    US9224403
    US9589571
    US10026408
    US10229696
    US11081177
    US20130226570

Everything else is a patent family member of the above 16 patent filings (15 granted US patents, 1 pending US patent application).