Scenario: Some computer science results are published at a major conference. Someone different than the authors of those results then creates a software program that uses those results / techniques to provide a service. NONE of the software in that program is based on software written by the researchers who published results at the original conference. Rather, the software in question simply uses general techniques presented in the research.

Question: Does the person who wrote the software need to mention the research results when copyrighting the software? In other words, does the creator of the software have to say that the software is "based" on the research results?

1 Answer 1


Generally, no; copyright is an exclusive right to copy a particular expression of information. Making use of that information isn't a violation of copyright.

(Although citing a source like this isn't required by law, it is required by academic ethics; if the creator of the new program is involved in academia, she can potentially expect to be fired from her job if she doesn't appropriately credit the paper on which her work is based.)

It is possible, however, that the authors of those results obtained a patent on their methods. If so, then anybody wishing to use those methods must have the permission of the patent holders (which usually requires paying them whatever amount of money they demand); merely giving them credit doesn't suffice.

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