This is from our press release, but I hope it's not too press releasey.
For some years now, Xiph.Org has been gently advocating royalty free codecs within the IETF as a viable and preferred alternative to patent-controlled technologies. Recently more groups within the IETF have also come forward to support free codec standardization work with in the IETF. On July 30th at the current IETF meeting in Stockholm, the IETF will hold a codecs BoF to take input on whether or not to form a standards Working Group for royalty free audio codecs. The creation of such a Working Group would have a major impact, opening the door to a Voice over IP stack completely free of licensing and royalty constraints. We're seeking to set up the same kind of open competition and cooperation we've seen on the web that's given rise to tons of investment and improvement in a very short period of time.
Giving input on the Working Group proposal does not require being in Sweden for the IETF meeting; Those who cannot attend in person can have their voice heard via the firstname.lastname@example.org chat room or by posting to the codec mailing list. We encourage people to attend, comment and discuss in person, via Jabber and on the mailing lists as opponents of the WG proposal are expected to be well-organized and out in force. The important thing is to clearly demonstrate that there is a large number of people in favor of creating the new Working Group.
There are currently two draft submissions to be discussed at the BoF. The first draft describes the new Xiph.Org CELT codec and the second describes the Skype SILK codec. These two draft proposals complement each other nicely. There is also declared intent to submit the SPIRIT IPMR wideband codec.
This Working Group proposal faces stiff opposition from current codec patent holders who benefit from the status quo that allows them to control competition from organizations whose business models cannot support per-channel royalties. Now is a very good time to speak up on this issue.
We hope to see you (physically or virtually) in large numbers for the BoF. Xiph.Org will be represented in person at the meeting by Christopher (Monty) Montgomery [Director] and Jean-Marc Valin [CELT Project Lead]. The BoF will be at 13:00 Stockholm time. The IETF will stream an mp3 audio feed of the BoF (and yes, we'll be setting up an Ogg feed of the audio as well as up-to-date information on the BoF).