Comment in a leading German newspaper regarding the way UTC and Apple handle Emoji as an attack on Free Speech

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Sat Aug 27 22:10:14 CDT 2016

Well it is still not so universal as there are wide ranges of glyphs
excluded for now to encoding as characters:
- many icons used in cartography (there are progresses now, but in their
emoji form for use in talks/instant messaging/SMS, where they are colorful
but do not match the simple glyph used in maps that will use them in
multiple distinctive colors and sizes; often the 3D effects are
undesirable, most of the time shey should be monochomatic, and color/sizes
and other styles applied conditionally by some stylesheet)
- country flags have been included but many regional emblems are excluded
(as they don't match any ISO 3166-1 code)
- common road signs/street signs and signs for indoor facilities & services
- various symbols used in software UIs: many OSes have to provide an
additional font encoding them as PUAs or using some encoding specific to
the font containing them (much like it was with most dingbats in older
Adobe Postscript fonts)
- various box drawing characters used in legacy terminals (notably in
Teletext and on older 8-bit systems): a few of them were added from DOS/OEM

Of course corporate logos used in proprietary fonts for specific OSes
cannot be encoded for legal reasons (not as long as there's no licencing
permitting its inclusion in other fonts for other OSes): e.g. logos from
Apple and Microsoft for MacOS and Windows., but as well other logos for
various Unix editions and even Linux distributions, including the green bot
for Android), and other logos registered as trademarks, and logos used to
identify some national technical standards and indicating a conformance
(usage is restricted by the standard defining these logos, many of them
being supported by private organizations selling their licences).

All these logos have to be encoded transported as embedded or linked images
carrying their own copyright (which must be also transported along with
their graphic definition). As well we cannot encode glyphs representing
physical persons (e.g. based on a photo of Barak Obama), or containing
biometric data (e.g. fingerprints, DNA sequences, personal handwritten
signatures), or some protected artitectural designs (even if these are old
historic designs such as Greco-Roman designs), or logos representing some
coin faces.

As well we cnanot represent precise taxons (animalia or flora are very
roughly represented, but we don't go up to the species level, or even just
the gender)

2016-08-28 2:34 GMT+02:00 Asmus Freytag (c) <asmusf at>:

> On 8/27/2016 10:15 AM, Doug Ewell wrote:
>> Ken Whistler wrote:
>> I would contend that encoding wildly popular and extensively used
>>> little pictographs as characters makes a whole lot more sense in the
>>> abstract than encoding box-drawing graphic pieces for completely
>>> obsolete screen technology ever did.
>> Though to be fair, the screen technology was a lot less "completely
>> obsolete" in 1991, when the box drawing characters were encoded (Unicode
>> 1.0), than it is today.
> They came into the draft in the period from 1988 to 1990; during that
> period, dialogs using "text mode" displays were common for many
> applications, not just pure terminal emulation.
> To demonstrate that it was "universal" Unicode had to show that it could
> be used to replace the entire range of actively used character encodings.
> Just as the same universality argument is what drove the initial acceptance
> of emoji. And will drive acceptance of a whole host of other symbols and
> characters, no matter how well they stack up against the purity of
> principle.
> A./
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