Tengwar on a general purpose translation site

Richard Wordingham richard.wordingham at ntlworld.com
Tue Mar 15 14:33:18 CDT 2022

On Mon, 14 Mar 2022 21:45:28 -0400
"Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode" <unicode at corp.unicode.org> wrote:

> I dunno, it gets weird when you consider fonts and glyphs and stuff.  
> You can't actually copyright a font, apparently.

Font files can in general be subject to copyright, even if the glyphs
can't be. 

> And even if you
> could, so Tolkien's tengwar shapes might be protected, but what about
> Tengwar Optime (http://www.peter-wiegel.de/TengwarOptime.html)?  Or
> Elbic Caslon (http://www.peter-wiegel.de/ElbicCaslon.html)?  Could
> they argue that these were derivative works or something?  Probably.
> I don't know.  And I don't think it matters.

My strong suspicion is that they are, if the Tolkien Estate has its
claimed copyright, in breach of it.  When fonts have been licensed,
commercial use has been prohibited, but these fonts are released
under GPL with the font exception, and it states that in the name
table.  I don't know of any fonts that are still licensed.  With this
combination, only withholding the font can prevent commercial use.

> Unicode doesn't encode
> glyphs anyway.  I think quibbling over fonts and glyphs is kind of a
> red herring to the actual problem.

The identifying reference would probably have to be a book.


> On 3/14/22 21:26, Richard Wordingham via Unicode wrote:
> > On Tue, 15 Mar 2022 00:43:13 +0000
> > James Kass via Unicode <unicode at corp.unicode.org> wrote:
> >  
> >> Users who really, really need to see the glyphs can install an
> >> appropriate font and fire up Unibook or BabelMap.  

> > Won't the font be in breach of the alleged copyright?
> >
> > I presume the current English Wikipedia page on Tengwar is in
> > breach of the alleged copyright.

More information about the Unicode mailing list