[SciPy-user] scipy code contribution question

Ed Schofield edschofield@gmail....
Wed Jul 4 17:33:19 CDT 2007


On 7/4/07, Lev Givon <lev@columbia.edu> wrote:
> I recently had occasion to translate one of the functions in Matlab's
> signal processing toolkit not currently available in scipy into Python
> for my own nefarious purposes (i.e., reworking some extant Matlab code
> in Python). Might there be any copyright obstacles to my contributing
> it to scipy? I personally suspect not because
>
> - Mathworks' copyright specifically protects its Matlab code and
>   cannot constrain one from reimplementing non-patented and/or publicly
>   available algorithms in other languages;
> - my reimplementation is not an exact translation of said Matlab code;
>   and
> - the code of several scipy functions seems to have been directly
>   inspired by that of corresponding functions included in Matlab.


I think a translation of software into a different language would be
considered a "derivative work":

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ14.html
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/documents/documents_en.htm

This definition applies to a motion picture based on a play, so it
would also cover a less-than-exact translation. If several scipy
functions were "directly inspired by" functions from Matlab (or
Numerical Recipes, or other sources), this would pose us no problem --
but if there are any that look like they might be "derivative works",
and therefore infringing, let us know so we can root them out. I think
that we should err on the side of caution, with a zero-tolerance
policy for contaminated code.

Back to your original question, then: I'd suggest that you post some
documentation here about what steps the code takes, using your
judgment about how detailed to make it, and ask for a volunteer to
write a clean-room implementation. Sorry that this requires more work,
but I think it's important for the legitimacy of the project.

-- Ed


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