Copyleft Symbol

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Feb 15 11:32:01 CST 2016

Asmus Freytag wrote:

> with the non-standard symbols like the copyleft, there's the desire to
> not encode stuff based on "passing activism". 

David Faulks wrote:

> The samples I have seem to be from people who want to make a statement
> via an anti-copyright message

The lengthy thread from 2000, and the shorter one from 2012, show that
the objections at those times fell into three main categories:

(1) Lack of (sufficient) evidence of use as an element of running text,
as opposed to a logo.

There's an interesting passage on the FSF page "What is Copyleft?" about
this symbol:

"It is a legal mistake to use a backwards C in a circle instead of a
copyright symbol. Copyleft is based legally on copyright, so the work
should have a copyright notice. A copyright notice requires either the
copyright symbol (a C in a circle) or the word 'Copyright'. [ ... ] A
backwards C in a circle has no special legal significance, so it doesn't
make a copyright notice."

(2) Concern that the symbol was a passing fad. Christopher and Ken noted
that the fact we are talking about it again 15 years later probably
answers that concern.

(3) The social-statement aspect.

António wrote in 2012, referring to the copyleft symbol plus the others
he just cited (e.g. Creative Commons): "I am convinced that they were
not accepted for encoding (if they were ever even formally proposed) due
purely to ideological reasons." However, I checked the UTC document
register going back to 2000 and could not find a proposal with the word
"copyleft" in its title, so perhaps these have not been proposed after

The recent acceptance by UTC of BITCOIN SIGN, which is also often
perceived as a logo and also sometimes associated with a social
movement, might indicate greater willingness of UTC to encode the
copyleft symbol, even discounting the effects of the Emoji Revolution.

But as always, at least for non-emoji characters, a formal proposal is
probably mandatory.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO ����

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