[SciPy-dev] license for code published in articles

Robert Kern robert.kern@gmail....
Tue Dec 2 19:37:38 CST 2008

On Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 19:19, Ondrej Certik <ondrej@certik.cz> wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 9:22 PM, Robert Kern <robert.kern@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 14:17,  <josef.pktd@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Is code that is published verbatim inside a paper (not as attachment)
>>> license restricted?
>> Yes, of course, provided that the code is otherwise copyrightable.
>>> The Journal of Statistical Software publishes code under GPL.
>>> Does GPL also apply to source snippets or functions that are included
>>> in the text of the article, or is there a fair use assumption on the
>>> text of the article?
>> Including code in scipy does not fall under fair use, so that's
>> neither here nor there.
>> You can ask the authors for permission, if you like, but it's best
>> just to read the paper, and write new code.
> Puting it the other way round --- when writing a paper I should
> explicitely state, that all code is BSD, then people should not be
> afraid of looking at it, right?

You might have to arrange such matters with the journal, which might
get sticky. Probably the best way is to have tarballs of the code in
the paper available for download with a LICENSE.txt. But I have no
direct experience negotiating with journals, so take that for what
it's worth.

But in general, people shouldn't be afraid of looking at code snippets
in papers. If the code is short enough to be in a paper, verbatim, it
is likely short enough to not be copyrightable by itself. And you
probably don't want to copy the code directly, anyways.

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless
enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as
though it had an underlying truth."
  -- Umberto Eco

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