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Slightly off subject: Can I use text from help for an API for Matlab in my Mathematica function help?

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
0
Nasser
7/6/2010 7:09:10 PM
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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
http://www.wescottdesign.com

Do you need to implement control loops in software?
"Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" was written for you.
See details at http://www.wescottdesign.com/actfes/actfes.html
0
Tim
7/6/2010 7:13:25 PM
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