Why does g729 still require licensing?


According to Wikipedia (among other sources) :

Also : http://www.sipro.com/G729.html

I am wondering why we still need to purchase g729 licenses and/or pay royalties if Asterisk must transcode audio for any reason and if there are actually limits on how many g729 calls may pass through Asterisk in direct mode. Also I would like to know if I can currently record g729 audio calls without purchasing a license or pay any royalty. All official sources are clearly stating that the unexpired licenses should not impose any royalties (i.e. per use fee) – see Sipro link above.


It still need copyright licensing.

You will need to find an open source implementation that is not based on code with commercial use restrictions. The allegedly open source implementation that was around whilst the patent was live actually had a void licence, because the purported licence was GPL, but it contained code identified by its upstream supplier as not for commercial use, invalidating the GPL.

If you want a royalty free G.729, you need to write it yourself, form the specification, not from the existing sample code.

Do I need to buy a license if I use Asterisk to make calls using g729 in direct media mode?

Do I need a license if I wish to record such calls?

I am using it internally, not for commercial use.

Thank you.

Are you referring to the one that’s been up for awhile at (link deleted by board admin)? Did not know that…

It’s my understand that you will need a license if you are transcoding the media from g729 to another format. You can configure your setup to avoid this. (saving the recording in .g729, setting up each peer to only use g729)

If you need to buy a licence, the Digium g.729 codec will not work without one. I believe Monitor will record without transcoding, but MixMonitor has to convert to linear to do the mixing. Media pass through, whether direct media or via the Asterisk core, does not require codecs (g.729 won’t work with inband DTMF, so that is not an issue). However, you will not be able to send any asterisk generated tones, only recorded announcements

You will have to ask Digium sales about whether free licences are available, for their codec.

Commercial use in terms of the sample code does not mean providing services to third parties. Any use by a business would be commercial, as would be use by an educational institution for administrative purpose. The only valid use I could see of the sample code with Asterisk would be to evaluate how the codec performs, but you still have the problem that the Asterisk module that uses that is in breach of the GPL, and has no other licence.

We use https://github.com/BelledonneCommunications/bcg729 which is an open-source implementation, not derived from the ITU-T reference. The reference implementation from ITU-T at https://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-G.729 is quite usable as well, unclear what (if any) its license conditions are. Very easy to wire these into Asterisk as a codec module if you’re inclined to tinker, or there are various solutions around that use these free, open-source and (now) patent-free libraries. The one that shall not be mentioned has (optional) dependencies on Intel IPP which has its own license concerns. It also allows a build against bcg729.

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The real question is: why is Digium still charging money to use their version if the patent holders are not collecting any more.

Probably because they licensed the code under a combined copyright and patent licence, rather than implementing it themselves.

Not sure how one privately copyrights an ITU recommendation.

Whatever the reason, the fact that you are not getting any replies from the Digium people on the forum suggests that it is a commercial decision of Digium, that has not yet been changed. The Digium people are not going to comment on commercial decisions before the official press release.