Linked by jrincayc on Fri 15th Jul 2011 17:14 UTC
Legal Patent term calculation is complicated in the US because there are essentially two different systems and quite a few corner cases. Even with a list of patents, it can be tricky to determine when the patents are all expired. Since I am a computer programmer (and not a lawyer), I created a program to try and automate this. This paper discusses how patent term calculation works, and some results from a combination of hand and automatic term calculation for MP3, MPEG-2 and H.264.
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I agree that it is good to use Vorbis, Theora and WebM, but that still doesn't help if the video you want to see is encoded in MPEG-2 or the audio you want to hear is encoded in MP3. Unlike the GIF format, both encoding and decoding of MP3, MPEG-2 and H.264 are patented.

Edited 2011-07-19 02:47 UTC

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