CC Hold Music? Yes, Really.

digiumDigium, the parent company that hosts and maintains the open source telephony & PBX project called Asterisk, recently replaced the on-hold music featured in their distributions to CC BY-SA licensed works from OpSound. Using freely licensed CC music in open source projects has always made sense to us, but Digium’s John Todd discusses why they finally made the switch on the company’s blog:

In some nations (Australia and France, to pick two that have been brought to our attention) there are some who are claiming that we do not have the rights outlined above, and that our users therefore are in a similar situation where they may be in violation of license terms.

John goes on to explain that since CC licenses are easy to use, well defined, and accepted internationally, the choice was clear to them:

This is very far outside of Digium’s ability or interest to manage, nor do we wish to become involved in the protracted series of legal proceedings required to sort out this licensing issue. So we have chosen another path that is more clear to us: we will eliminate the files of questionable license from Asterisk, and replace them with music that has clearly defined and more acceptable licensing terms which are compatible with both the Asterisk license, and with any reasonable redistribution methods that might be used by others who re-package Asterisk.

(emphasis added)

Just think, the next time you get placed on hold, there’s a good chance you’ll be listening to some copyleft music!

8 thoughts on “CC Hold Music? Yes, Really.”

  1. Even more wacky – Open Voice, an Australian PBX provider that also uses Asterix, makes its automated voice messages available under CC. I’d love to see a remix of some of these. Particularly some of their “fun” ones – like “something is terribly wrong”, “I grow bored of this conversation” and “we’re off gambling and getting drunk”.


  2. Jessica – Interestingly, all of the prompts you mentioned are available already under Creative Commons licensing as part of Asterisk! There is a sound archive called “sounds-extras” which can be optionally loaded from standard Asterisk which includes those prompts and a bunch more. Allison Smith ( was kind enough to donate those in her voice under that license to match the rest of the prompts.

  3. How does one handle attribution for music played on a phone system while a caller is on hold? Is it enough to announce a website to visit to get more information? Does it need to be done per-song, or are longer intervals OK?

  4. There some grimly case. If had built a Asterisk server in commercial organization, can I use CC distributed compositions as background in Voice-menus or Music-on-Hold in that server? Converting to asterisk’s audio files I can do myself, but do I violate CC-License by wearing my(organization’s) asterisk in that converted music?

    Probable source of music:
    VoIP PBX would be settled in Russia, Moscow.

    Please, reply here or email if any ideas. Thanks.

  5. Do these files have to be used with Asterisk? I’m looking for free/CC/public MOH audio to include on our MOH players that we include with our PABX sales. Does the CC license allow for this? I won’t be editing it in any way or passing it off as our own. Can I use these files?

  6. I am looking to use some different hold music for my company. We already pay PRS for commercial music but there is a lot of cc licensed stuff that is loads better. Do I need anything else or can I have a list of contributors on my website?

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