From: Jukka K. Korpela (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Nov 23 2006 - 06:10:26 CST
On Thu, 23 Nov 2006, Elliotte Harold wrote:
> Kenneth Whistler wrote:
>> Any symbol that is created that way, with specific intent to
>> control its meaning and usage, falls in the same grey area
>> that trademarked logos do.
> I'm not so sure. I suspect these are closer to the copyright symbol, ©. That
> also has a very specific legal meaning.
I don't think it has, any more. The copyright sign _used_ to be relevant
in the old days, when some international treaties allowed countries to
impose formal requirements on copyright protection, such as the use of
a copyright statement that contains that specific character. In the
Berne convention, such formal requirements have explicitly been forbidden.
There might still be some countries that apply the old rules, but I doubt
Thus, the copyright sign has become just a conventional character used in
copyright announcements and, to some extent, a symbol for copyright
itself. Its use on copyright announcements can be regarded as use in text,
since the announcements, though typically short (© 2006 Jukka K. Korpela),
contain fragments of text. (However, it's different from the use of, say,
the registered sign ®, which is a text character in a clearer way, since
it may appear in paragraphs in normal text flow.)
> If you start using that symbol to mean something other than copyright, the
> lawyers would have a field day.
Actually, they wouldn't. If I started using © in place of a normal c
character, I would just make a fool of myself; I could not be sued.
But regarding what I see as the main issue here, I don't think that a
rigorous official or proprietary definition about the meaning a symbol
and conditions for using it constitute a reason _not_ to encode it as a
character. It is quite adequate to encode a symbol as a character even if
only some limited group of people are allowed to use it, and only in
specific contexts and meanings.
Neither do such definitions constitute a reason _for_ encoding a symbol as
a character. Assigning a specific meaning to a graphic symbol can be very
important in many ways, but it does not turn it into a character.
What matters is its actual or intended use as text character. Of course,
limitations and conditions _could_ conceivably be so strict and
effectively enforced that we should decide that it is not possible to use
the symbol as text character. _This_ is why company or trademark symbols
are generally not candidates for "characterhood".
-- Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
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