Tengwar on a general purpose translation site

Steve Downey sdowney at gmail.com
Wed Mar 9 22:22:34 CST 2022

My impression over the years, or decades, is that no one wants to get into
potentially expensive IP litigation. There are sound arguments that ConLang
scripts don't have trademark or copyright protections that ought to prevent
them being standardized. However, without an excellent defense team, there
is the risk of a ruling going the other way, causing trouble for everyone
everywhere for a long time. On top of that, it's not clear that the Unicode
Consortium should be encoding scripts produced by people who say they don't
want them encoded.

I suspect at this point we are a half generation away from these IP owners
getting serious internal agitation for standardisation ("Why haven't we
seen a picture of the Whole Earth"). And then the dam breaks and the
opposite problems are back.

On Wed, Mar 9, 2022 at 8:29 PM Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode <
unicode at corp.unicode.org> wrote:

> I sort of have to agree with Ken here (hey, it happens.)  What makes
> Unicode an encoding of *characters*, what makes U+0041 mean LATIN
> CAPITAL LETTER A, is that Unicode says that's what it is. In the name,
> yes, but the name isn't dispositive (there are misnamed characters); the
> rest of the standard also counts.  It's LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A, and not
> just UNICODE CHARACTER 0041. Unless the standard stipulates, in the
> actual character names or out of them, that codepoint XXX01 really
> corresponds to TENGWAR LETTER TINCO, then, well, it might as well just
> be UNICODE CHARACTER XXX01 or as Ken says, <private-use F0001>.
> Also, although everyone seems focussed on the glyphs, I think that
> really isn't the issue.  If I somehow invented an entirely new and
> original set of glyphs for Klingon, and somehow got them retroactively
> canonized and used and all that stuff (or to put it another way, if I
> invented or held the copyright on the glyph forms), I don't think
> Unicode would be any more comfortable about encoding KLINGON LETTER A or
> even PIQAD LETTER A than they are now.  It's not about the pictures, and
> Unicode doesn't encode glyphs.  Encoding Tengwar is or maybe is felt to
> be... doing *something* sortakinda related to IP owned by the Tolkien
> estate, and that's the sticking point.
> ~mark
> On 3/9/22 13:57, Ken Whistler via Unicode wrote:
> >
> > On 3/9/2022 10:38 AM, James Kass via Unicode wrote:
> >>
> >> Suppose a proposal works around any IP concerns, real or imaginary,
> >> by using generic character names along the lines of CJK ideographs.
> >> Such as:
> >>
> >> and so forth.
> >>
> >> The charts covering the ranges could be blank with a footnote
> >> explaining that the lack of glyphs is due to IP concerns.  The
> >> proposal could refer to earlier proposals for usage examples and the
> >> proposed range need not mention any author's name or copyrighted brands.
> >>
> >> Would such a proposal have any chance of moving forward towards
> >> acceptance?
> >
> > Well, insofar as this is attempt to "encode" characters without
> > providing reference glyphs or names or any meaningful semantics, it
> > isn't much different from just using:
> >
> > U+F0001 <private-use-F0001>
> > U+F0002 <private-use-F0002>
> > ...
> >
> > I don't see the UTC going for this kind of pseudo-private-use concept.
> > The whole point of *standardizing* characters is to spell out
> > precisely what they are so that interchange is reliable.
> >
> > --Ken
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
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