[R] Legality of copying from Splus.

Prof Brian D Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Jun 20 16:22:29 CEST 2002

On Thu, 20 Jun 2002, Rolf Turner wrote:

> A few days ago, I sent a question to the r-help list enquiring
> about the
> 		        *** LEGALITY ***
> of porting a function from Splus into R.  As a particular example,
> I referred to error.bar.
> Several people posted code for various versions of error.bar which
> they had written, but that was NOT WHAT I WAS ASKING FOR/ABOUT!!!
> [Can't anybody ***read*** these days?]
> I asked:  IS IT LEGAL/ETHICAL to take a copy of an Splus function
> (written in raw S), ***such as*** error.bar, and make it into an R
> function?  Is it OK to do this for one's own personal use?  What
> about making such a function available to other R users (who may not
> have Splus licenses)?
> Would the big guns from the R community please comment on this?

Isn't this a question about your S-PLUS license and to be addressed to your
intellectual property rights dept (and many Universities now have one)
and/or the ethics committee?  It is also country-specific (and that can
make a vast difference).  To find out about legality, ask a lawyer.

However, even a lawyer needs to know some of the details.  Here are two
extracts from the S+2000 License (for the US, I believe, since they are
clipped from a PDF manual) which indicate the scope of the claims which
such a license makes:

  Both the Software and the documentation are protected under
  applicable copyright laws, international treaty provisions, and trade
  secret statutes of the various states. This Agreement grants you a
  personal, limited, nonexclusive, nontransferable license to use the
  Software and the documentation.

  You may not translate, reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble
  the Software, except and only to the extent that such activity is
  expressly permitted by applicable law notwithstanding this limitation.

(BTW, these extracts are copyright too, used here under `fair use'

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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