From: Tim Wescott on
On 07/06/2010 12:09 PM, Nasser M. Abbasi wrote:
> I did not know where to ask this, I thought some experts here might know.
> I am writing a basic digital signal processing package in Mathematica
> (for me, for school work, and demos that I write, nothing commercial,
> will all be free code) which I use to do my housework, etc...
> I am actually trying to implement from scratch in Mathematica many of
> the Matlab useful DSP design functions where there is no Mathematica
> equivalent. This way I learn the algorithms better, and also have the
> function to reuse later in Mathematica. I have about 10 functions
> implemented so far. with 1,000 more to go :), I use textbooks to learn
> the algorithms from, and implement them that way.
> I am trying to keep each function the same name and API as the matlab
> ones. This will make it easier to use if I share my code later with
> students or others, as Matlab's DSP function are well known.
> For example, I use the name butter() to design a butterworth filter
> since this is the name used in Matlab, and use the same input and
> output. I hope that software function names are not copyrighted? I do
> not think so.
> My question is: When I document the API for my Mathematica function, and
> I do ?butter in Mathematica, I want it to display similar text as the
> Matlab help.
> So, can I copy some of the text shown when doing help for the Matlab
> function?
> Since I try to keep my function, as much as possible, to accept the same
> arguments and return the same output as Matlab's would (in a List for
> Mathematica, instead of in a vector in Matlab, etc...), it seems silly
> for me to keep trying to reword things, since they are already written
> well in Matlab help. So why not use the same text?
> Will this be ok? Or do I have to use my own words by rewriting the
> description of the input and output?
> Again, all the Mathematica code I am writing myself, but I am taking
> about parts of the documentation text.
> thanks
> --Nasser

If you don't get caught, or if you do and The MathWorks doesn't care,
yes you can.

Otherwise, it's copyrighted work, and you can't.

Figure on re-writing the help in your own words -- paraphrasing it is
probably OK, reading the algorithm, implementing the function, then
writing what you've done will be _excellent_ practice for documenting
your own work.

Copying all of the Matlab 'help' comments verbatim is like waving a
legal red flag in front of the MathWorks bull.


Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services

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