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I've done some searching around on how to interpret morse code inputted by a human. I haven't found any existing libraries or applications that do this, but I found some academic papers on how it can be done.

Before embarking on the journey of trying to interpret the academic language and advanced topics I have to know if it is okay for me to use these papers? What kind of license do they have? One I'm thinking of specifically is "A Morse-code recognition system with LMS and matching algorithms for persons with disabilities." but also others floating around. The paper mentioned appears to cost money to read, but then what? Can it have been patented? What rules apply here?

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Did you try to contact the author of the paper ? –  Ioan Paul Pirau Aug 29 '11 at 10:41
No I haven't yet, but that would be the next logical step. –  ErikPerik Aug 29 '11 at 11:03
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If the patent had been applied for before the paper was written, it would probably say in the paper. But it might have been patented AFTER the paper was written, so you'd best look up the authors at the USPTO website.

I am not a lawyer, but I don't think there is any license at all on algorithms that are published in academic papers. There would be a license on software that was produced by an academic institution, but that's a different thing.

However, what Academia just about always cares about more than licensing is getting proper credit for their discoveries. Thus you should credit that paper's authors and their institution in your app's About Box (if it has one), in the online help if it's a command-line program, or on your app's website if it's a web app. Also credit them in your documentation.

Finally email the authors to tell them that you are using their algorithm. The chances are pretty good that they didn't expect to make money from it, but the fact that their invention is being put to good use in industry will help them get grants, advanced in rank (say from associate professor to full professor) or maybe even get tenure.

I have seen an academic source code license that more or less says you can do what you want with the code provided the original authors get visible credit for their work. To do otherwise would be just like using their paper's results in your own paper without providing a citation, which is a form of plagiarism.

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To be exact, what the academics care about is getting credit. The university, on the other hand, often cares about getting patents and making money from them. –  Peter Taylor Aug 29 '11 at 12:09
I would disagree with the first paragraph. Most patented techniques published in academic papers are not mentioned in it. I personally think it would be great it authors would do that because patents are of course related work. On the other hand, the essence from every paper e.g. IBM publishes is patented. (Personal communication, I don't work for them or have I). –  dmeister Aug 29 '11 at 16:31
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Basically, that's dependent on the institution where the work was done and the issuers of the grants that funded it. There's no overall policy for that sort of thing. Contacting the author(s) would probably be your best option at this point.

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