Main Question or Discussion Point
Am I infringing copyright if I exactly reproduce the calculations in a paper on physics forums?
To a large extent, they can copyright what they want. The real test only arises if these things get litigated over.The American Mathematical Society copyrights papers which appear in their journals; I would say that the presentation of a calculation can be copyrighted, but not the calculation itself.
Who cares about that? The last time USA changed its copyright laws, it was to protect Disney's rights to Mickey Mouse, not geeks who want to learn physicsImagine if Newton or Leibnitz had copyrighted their work in calculus. Then, as a student, you would have to pay them in order to learn it, in order to use it in your projects, and if you wanted to sell a machine or program that used it.
You've been livin' in the past too long. Copyright has been a hot topic not only in the US but in international legal circles for some time. Now that it is so easy to reduce almost any content (photos, music, film, printed matter) to digital form, copyright is one of the trendiest of legal fields currently.Who cares about that? The last time USA changed its copyright laws, it was to protect Disney's rights to Mickey Mouse, not geeks who want to learn physics
Seriously though, as others said, you can't copyright an idea. You can only copyright some form of "document" (on paper, or electronic), and it your legal rights are the same whether it's a (non-crackpot, peer reviewed) proof that Einstein was wrong, or your kid's first attempt at finger painting.
So you can re-use "ideas" taken from books or scientific papers any way you like, but you can't just photocopy pages from the original book and re-published them as "your work".
As rollingstein said, your legal rights don't mean much unless you afford to pay some expensive lawyers to defend them. But most commercial (and academic) publishers have some lawyers on their payroll already, so trying your luck against them may not be a good game plan.
The issue is PF's liability when something copyrighted is posted here. It is a serious issue and we do our best to have all posts comply with appropriate rules and laws.If if such a ridiculous copyright did exist (being able to copyright a proof or a mathematical calculation) would you seriously not use it or reproduce it?
"Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once."
Well, that depends what spin you want to put on it. It's equally true that the US did not sign the Berne convention for the first 100 years of its existence.Copyright used to be governed by national laws of various types. Now, an international copyright law, governed by the Berne Convention of 1989, is the model. And yes, the US has adopted this convention and modified its copyright laws to bring them into harmony with the convention.
To expand on what I meant: Firms are always aggressive when writing contracts or at filing time. But in a typical case, if a filing / contract ever gets litigated before a judge, he may at the very start find large swathes unenforceable.As rollingstein said, your legal rights don't mean much unless you afford to pay some expensive lawyers to defend them. But most commercial (and academic) publishers have some lawyers on their payroll already, so trying your luck against them may not be a good game plan.