[SciPy-dev] Numerical Recipes (was tagging 0.7rc1 this weekend?)

Alan Jackson alan@ajackson....
Fri Dec 19 17:25:48 CST 2008


On Sat, 20 Dec 2008 00:41:20 +0200
"Stéfan van der Walt" <stefan@sun.ac.za> wrote:

> 2008/12/16 Jarrod Millman <millman@berkeley.edu>:
> > 4.  3 functions in scipy/stats/stats.py.
> >
> > Partially resolved.  One down (Josef rewrote ks_2samp), two left
> > (ttest_ind and ttest_rel).
> 
> >From the NR license:
> 
> """Copyright does not protect ideas, but only the expression of those
> ideas in a particular form.  In the case of a computer program, the
> ideas consist of the program's methodology and algorithm, including
> the necessary sequence of steps adopted by the programmer.  The
> expression of those ideas is the program source code (particularly any
> arbitrary or stylistic choices embodied in it), its derived object
> code, and any other derivative work.
> 
> I am not convinced that their interpretation of copyright law is
> correct, but either way I think ttest_ind and ttest_rel are safe
> (according to *their* rules).  The code makes use of constructs such
> as "where" and broadcasting, that aren't available in C.  The author
> therefore took an idea from NR and reimplemented it in a novel way.

Most of what I know about copyright law is :
- it is complex and changes depending on the object being discussed
- publishers like to claim many more rights than they actually have

For example, for cookbooks, the recipe itself is explicitly not copyrightable,
only the layout in a book and the description. 

There is also a paper I read a few years ago about music copyright showing
examples of publishers trying to claim copyright for Bach sonatas!

I would not be surprised if their interpretation of copyright law for software
is substantially correct. That is probably why people try to patent software
now (one-click anyone?) - that way they get greater (though shorter term)
protection.

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