Tengwar on a general purpose translation site

Julian Bradfield junicode at jcbradfield.org
Thu Mar 10 16:46:42 CST 2022

On 2022-03-10, William_J_G Overington via Unicode <unicode at corp.unicode.org> wrote:
> It seems to me that the goal to achieve for getting Tengwar encoded is 
> for there to be a joint press release by the Tolkien Estate and Unicode 
> Inc. announcing that encoding is to take place, with quotes from 
> representatives of both entities, together with a Notes for Editors 
> section of the press release with background information about Tengwar, 
> the Tolkien Estate and about the Unicode Inc. organization.

But the Tolkien Estate is not willing for tengwar to be encoded?

> I do not know enough about Tengwar to produce a proposal document for 
> this for consideration by the Unicode Technical Committee, I can, 
> however, make suggestions about the modalities.

Other people do, and have.

> Suppose that the proposal to the Unicode Technical Committee includes 
> the suggestion of a motion that the President of Unicode Inc. write a 
> letter, signed with pen and ink personally by the President of Unicode 
> Inc., not with a ballpoint pen, on good quality stationery, and sent, 
> unfolded, by the postal system to the Tolkien Estate with a printed copy 
> of the proposal saying that this proposal has been received and Unicode 
> Inc. would like to proceed with encoding please and requests discussion 
> in the hope of receiving approval from the Tolkien Estate. The letter 

The President of the Unicode Inc. is not a person known to the Tolkien
Estate, so I see no reason why they should care.

Michael Everson, who wrote the original proposal, and I, who wrote to
the Estate with a request for permission to encode, are both known to
the Tolkien Estate, and we both have 30+ years' experience in asking
for things from them. My letter explained carefully and at a level
appropriate for both the lawyers and the family what Unicode is, and
why encoding tengwar would be a good thing.

The Estate does not wish to release tengwar into the public domain to
the extent that would be required for an encoding.

Somebody asked about public evidence of their attitude. Here is what
their FAQ says 


  Tolkien’s invented languages and scripts are protected by
  copyright. You may use them for your own private interest and
  amusement, but you may not reproduce them in any form of publication
  or in connection with any group activity, commercial or otherwise. 

As people have remarked, there are interesting legal arguments about
whether this statement is true, but neither Unicode nor I can afford an
argument with an organization which is not short of money for lawyers.

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