Let's say I want to implement an algorithm based on a paper or book and publish it under a non-proprietary but not necessarily non-commercial-friendly license (e.g. on a blog).
Is it legal to do this?
I know that a general all covering answer cannot be either yes or no, so I want to know additionally how to find out quickly whether this is legal or not. Some examples would be great. Here are some examples for discussion
- Apache Commons Math stated in their developer guide, that all developers should check for license issues before committing and link to Numerical Recipes as an example. This is the first time ever I saw such a warning. I do not have access to this book (neither online nor in dead-tree-format). What does the legal warning looks like ?
- Papers linked for download on the page of the author normally do not contain a legal warning. Does it mean that the algorithms are ... free?
- According to wikipedia, Random Forest is a trademarked term. Does that mean, that noone is allowed to implement this algorithm ? One can give it another name (like Good-Luck-Forests), since reproducing the exact algorithm given that not all details are published in paper (normally) is nearly impossible.
- What about papers where the access is both restricted and not. See for example the paper "Alternatives to the Median Absolute Deviation", which has been published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, but which can be bought now via JSTOR or be downloaded from this page. Did Frank Masci, the uploader of this paper, break the law?
A lot of papers with or without restricted access can be found online.
Disclaimer: No answer should be treated as legal advice one can refer to before court.