COPYRIGHT

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stevepoole
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COPYRIGHT

Postby stevepoole » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:57 am

Hi,
The 'SHRINK Travelling Salesman Program' will soon be OpenSource software. So no copyright is appropriate.
However, the team wishes to register authorship, to prevent others from claiming the algorithm's code or method.
This is necessary to ensure we can distribute the OpenSource without hindrance.

In France, we register it with the 'Institut National de Propriété Intellectuel', or deposit the dated code at a solictor's.

Does anyone know if such a system exists in England or abroad ?

Regards,
Steve Poole.


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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby RWAP » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:17 am

Strictly, you need actual advise from a specialist patent attorney. However, the general rules are:

There is no specific system in England and Wales (at least) - in the event of a dispute, it is always about proving that the date of the code being created preceded anyone else's use of the same code.

This can therefore be done in a variety of ways - the simplest is to post a copy of the code to yourself and keep it in an unopened letter with a clear post office date stamp on it.

You can also lodge a copy with a solicitor (of course).

Also, if you are going to upload the source to GitHub (or similar) have a look at their licenses to determine if any license suits your particular needs. Their repositories are of course date stamped, but who knows if GItHub will exist in the same format in 10, 20 years...

However, strictly, this does NOT protect the actual algorithm / approach; because software copyright court cases are based on "look and feel" of software rather than the actual specifics of how code works. Also, by making the code open source, you might struggle to find a suitable license to prevent the re-use of part of the published code without your consent.

If you want to protect the algorithm, the answer is patent protection, which needs registration of patents - this is unfortunately, very expensive, because you need to protect a worldwide patent or just in specific countries.

However, there are other potential options / considerations. The main question has to be what are you trying to protect against - is it a question of just keeping the credit for having created that specific algorithm, but you would have no objection to someone else using it provided that they gave the authors credit?

a) If you want to prevent re-use of the algorithm without consent, why publish the algorithm as part of the open source code?

b) Thankfully, the program has been developed on the QL, you could look to obfuscate the algorithm, by including it in a compiled program (which is called by means of pipes etc) - this is a little more secure than standard machine code but as has been proved recently, Supercharged code can now be de-compiled - Turbo will no doubt follow, but Q-Liberated code is more difficult. Also, outside of the QL community, any compiled program would be hard to de-compile in my opinion.

c) If it is just a matter of wanting the credit - then can you foresee any case in the future where you would be willing to take it to court, just to claim the credit? For example, if the algorithm was used in a hugely succcessful commercial program, it could prove an expensive exercise just to get credit for the algorithm, as there would be no financial loss in reality (if the algorithm could have been used provided they had given you credit!)


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tofro
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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby tofro » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:30 am

In a nutshell:

In most countries of the world, it is simply not possible to register a patent on a pure algorithm.

Most legislations consider algorithms ideas that cannot be patented (just like mathematic formulas, imagine Phytagoras of Samos would have patented his famous theorem, Bubble Sort, Bresenham's Line algorithm,...).

You can copyright your software, which will protect the specific implementation, but never the general idea behind it.

Tobias


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Derek_Stewart
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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby Derek_Stewart » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:51 am

Hi,

Why not use a GPL Licence.


Regards,

Derek
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XorA
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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby XorA » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:21 am

Derek_Stewart wrote:Why not use a GPL Licence.


That is about the strongest protection that is available, although in reality there is little comeback when someone steals your code!


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NormanDunbar
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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby NormanDunbar » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:49 pm

In the UK, we have a thing called Escrow.

When I worked in a software house, all our code was registered with the National Computing Centre in Manchester so that if the company went under, our customers were secure in the knowledge that they could obtain the source code to make their own fixes/changes and protect their investment.

HTH

Cheers,
Norm.


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tofro
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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby tofro » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:05 pm

Norman,

no need for an Escrow for code in the QL area:

Put it onto a microdrive and sell it at EBay. Simone will preserve it ;)

Tobias


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stevepoole
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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby stevepoole » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:22 pm

Thankyou for your detailed replies and suggestions.
In particular, Rich, our main concern is that if someone else claims our code or method, by them patenting it, we might be prevented from making it open_source...
We do have many emails with code attatchments on our computers, covering the entire protyping period, so perhaps that will be enough as proof of conception ?
Regards,
Steve Poole.


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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby RWAP » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:30 pm

stevepoole wrote:Thankyou for your detailed replies and suggestions.
In particular, Rich, our main concern is that if someone else claims our code or method, by them patenting it, we might be prevented from making it open_source...
We do have many emails with code attatchments on our computers, covering the entire protyping period, so perhaps that will be enough as proof of conception ?
Regards,
Steve Poole.


In that case, the answer is surely to make the code open source and published online as soon as possible. If someone then tries to claim that the code breaches their own intellectual property, then you will be able to show how your algorithm / code developed by use of the emails (make sure you get some printed off though in case you lose access to those emails in the future).

If they can prove that their intellectual property predates those emails, then there is nothing you can do unless you build a time machine...


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Peter
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Re: COPYRIGHT

Postby Peter » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:41 pm

RWAP wrote:If they can prove that their intellectual property predates those emails, then there is nothing you can do unless you build a time machine...

I don't think so. They wrote a "clean room" implementation without looking at anyone's code. I see no reasons why they should not release it under the terms of the General Public License.



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