Difference between Klingon and Tengwar

Mark E. Shoulson mark at kli.org
Sun Sep 19 18:37:44 CDT 2021

On 9/17/21 11:23 AM, Ken Whistler via Unicode wrote:
> Mark,
> By _users_ here, Peter doesn't mean some random end user using their 
> communicator (err, smart phone) to send piQaD messages at a StarTrek 
> fan convention, but rather the implementing companies who put piQaD 
> keyboards and fonts on those smart phones. If somebody wakes up at 
> Paramount and wonders, hmmm, does Apple (or Google, or Samsung, or 
> ...) have a license from us for that Klingon stuff they just put on 
> their phones, those are far juicier targets for an IP infringement 
> lawsuit, *even if* the likeliest outcome would not be a decisive win 
> in a court case, but rather just some out of court settlement. Even an 
> out of court settlement in some case like this would set a terrible 
> precedent, encouraging other people claiming IP rights on some writing 
> system being considered for encoding in the Unicode Standard.
> --Ken
That really, really sounds like reaching to me.  Keep in mind, there 
already *is* usage, which means there already *are* people sending 
messages and printing printing books.  See 
https://www.unicode.org/L2/L2016/16329-piqad-returns.pdf for some 
examples.  And I've never yet heard of Unicode hesitating to encode 
because of possible font issues.  Font issues are for font designers.  
The "sample glyphs" in the Unicode standard needn't be copies of what 
Paramount uses.  At some point, the cry of "but they could sue us 
anyway!" becomes hollow, because you know what? If they can sue you 
without a legal leg to stand on if you encode Klingon, they can sue you 
without a legal leg to stand on even if you *don't* encode Klingon.  
They can *always* sue you anyway.

And again, this all started because I asked for the rejection of Klingon 
to be rescinded.  A rejection that appears 
(https://www.unicode.org/L2/L2001/01212-RejectKlingon.html) to have been 
based on the "dignity" argument.  Is that argument still valid?  Do you 
really want Unicode to stand for it?  Is the "lack of usage" reason 
which was given at the time still valid?  If so, what do you make of the 
examples shown?  There's certainly room to discuss that.  Is there still 
a reason a *reject* Klingon, apart from the IP considerations?

(Are you worried about people getting sued for Mandombe or Blissymbols 
too?  Do they have a different status?)


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