Difference between Klingon and Tengwar

Sławomir Osipiuk sosipiuk at gmail.com
Sun Sep 19 10:13:54 CDT 2021

On Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 6:21 AM David Starner via Unicode
<unicode at corp.unicode.org> wrote:
> This is not complete, but there's eight scripts that, if copyright
> applies to scripts, are copyrighted in life+70 nations. (There's more,
> but I stopped looking, and left out several maybes.) For most of these
> Unicode has ignored any copyright the creators may own entirely; even
> for those like Osage, where I know there was Unicode-creator contact,
> I don't know of anything on paper.

The scripts you mentioned (I admit I haven't looked at all of them)
are different from Klingon, however. Their creators intended that they
be used for communication. Their inclusion in Unicode furthers that
aim, and it's a reasonable assumption that their creators consider it
a benefit.

Klingon originated as a movie/TV prop, owned by a production company
whose primary goal is profit (or, more charitably, entertainment).
Their entire attitude toward anything that could even remotely be
their IP is greedy, as can be expected of such a company. They may not
see any benefit to encoding unless it nets them money, or at least
positive advertising.

Additionally, the issue of "dignity" (or whatever one chooses to call
it) is real. A script intended to aid the speakers of a natural
language (especially a minority one), to preserve a centuries-old
cultural history, or to assist people who cannot communicate via
standard speech, will be seen as noble and positive. A script invented
as part of a fictional work, and adopted only by eccentric fans of
that work, will be seen generally as trivial and weird.

So while Klingon is, in a philosophical sense, not much different from
any constructed script, it is different in a practical sense. Its
risk-to-(perceived)-benefit ratio is much larger.

> Unicode has acted as if the creators of the Osage or Adlam scripts won't sue for control, which, given a Pepe the Frog type situation, I'm not sure I entirely trust.

It was a guess, but a good one. Just like it's a decent guess that
Paramount might sue for Klingon. There are no hard lines here, just
probabilities that make some propositions more appealing than others.

FWIW, I'd like to see Klingon included. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Sławomir Osipiuk

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