question about using source code from talks and papers

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Post » Sat May 29, 2010 9:00 pm

so, is it legal to use source code from papers and such:

like this paper on perlin noise:
[url:209gad8c]http://mrl.nyu.edu/~perlin/paper445.pdf[/url:209gad8c]
links to this source code:
[url:209gad8c]http://mrl.nyu.edu/~perlin/noise/[/url:209gad8c]

and stam's famous talk on fluid dynamics, includes source code throughout, annotated with instructions like "add these macros to the beginning of your code"
[url:209gad8c]http://www.dgp.toronto.edu/people/stam/reality/Research/pdf/GDC03.pdf[/url:209gad8c]

I'm just not sure if it's legal to copy and paste this to use in your own commercial code.
if I were to make my own implementation, it would end up being close to identical, since I'd probably use the source code as a reference. I know very little about copyright law, including how it applies in these situations, and I can never find usage and licensing terms for these. Nor did googling any terms I could think of provide me the specific answer I need.

does anyone know for sure what the rules/laws are here, or where I can find the answer?
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Post » Sun May 30, 2010 12:13 am

That's an interesting question, and I'm afraid I don't know the answer. You could try answering at www.stackoverflow.com which is a popular programming Q&A site and someone there might know the answer. By the way, kudos for looking up information in academic papers :)
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Post » Sun May 30, 2010 12:29 am

The best you can do whenever unsure is to ask the creators themselves.

On Stem's homepage he clearly says that you should contact him if you want to use something of his talks and that you need the permission of the publishers if you want to use something from his publications.

Ken Perlin copyrighted his work, so you need his permission too.

It is only legal to copypaste for your own work, if the source is not copyrighted. If you are not sure about the copyright, the creator of the source is your best choice to ask :)
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Post » Sun May 30, 2010 12:45 am

Thanks ash and tula
I suppose my followup question is, it must be legal to use the ideas, and algorithms in the code then, as opposed to a copypaste, without asking specific permission from the author, correct?
I would assume the papers are published/talks given to spread and encourage the use of the ideas within?
Also, I see many people describing people's own implementations of both these among others. Countless google hits for each. So this is legal?
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Post » Sun May 30, 2010 12:58 am

[quote="lucid":1hu5kvaj]Thanks ash and tula
I suppose my followup question is, it must be legal to use the ideas, and algorithms in the code then, as opposed to a copypaste, without asking specific permission from the author, correct?
I would assume the papers are published/talks given to spread and encourage the use of the ideas within?
Also, I see many people describing people's own implementations of both these among others. Countless google hits for each. So this is legal?[/quote:1hu5kvaj]

That's a very, very complicated question. The problem is that there are so many variations of copyright laws throughout the world. For example, in germany the intellectual property remains to the causer even if he/she states otherwise. In the US you may give up your intellectual property. You see it isn't easy to answer. You can only play it by ear I'm afraid.
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Post » Sun May 30, 2010 1:39 am

thanks again, tula.
and also thanks ashley for suggesting stackoverflow
very active/helpful/professional community
they pretty much said what tulamide did

time to email some coders
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Post » Sun May 30, 2010 12:24 pm

Just going to post a link to your SO question in case anyone searches this thread in future.
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Post » Sun May 30, 2010 2:21 pm

Arrrgh
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