RE: Indian Rupee Sign (U+20B9) proposal - copyright/licencing issue

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Tue Jul 20 2010 - 15:53:40 CDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Indian Rupee Sign (U+20B9) proposal - copyright/licencing issue"

    The Euro symbol could not have been encoded if it did not allow
    derivative designs or even only the original design, whose copyright
    still remains to the EC ; this would have contradicted the policy of
    Unicode which is that it does not encode glyphs but only abstract

    Anyway there was also the need to assert that the original design
    (reproduced in the Unicode and ISO 10646 charts) was licenced legally.
    The licence comes in fact from a European decision entered into law,
    that legalized the use of the logo by anyone, for any purpose, in any
    publication, including all derivatives.

    The copyright is still here on the original design, but it has been
    freed from almost all licencing requirements, by not even requiring to
    attribute the author or the copyright owner for the original design.
    The copyright remains because it just forbids anyone else from
    claiming that he owns the design of the original logo, and claiming
    royaltees on its usage or claiming author's attributions or fame on

    And this may explain why the EC did NOT enforce the requirement of the
    Euro symbol to keep the original design only. In fact I think that
    this is even a necessary condition for a glyph to be encoded as a
    character, that derived works MUST be allowed. and in that case, this
    gives more sense about why Unicode insists that the "representative
    glyphs" are NOT enforced as being unique for any given encoded

    So encoding a new character is not really a big problem, it can be
    made very easily and anticipated, but noone should assume that this
    can be done and used immediately by implementing it in fonts, BEFORE
    it has effectiveley been included in the coordinated universal
    character set. And I think this will only happen after the voting
    comities have formally approved the inclusion of the character in the
    universal repertoire, after verifying that the glyph was freed from
    licencing requirements (even if its copyright remains on the original
    glyph design).

    In other words, the Indian Rupiah will be encoded but will also allow
    variations of glyphs. And then the Indian government will not be able
    to forbid these derivations. But if it can, then the character MUST
    NOT be encoded.

    A mere "encouragement" sent to anyone to use the glyph is not a
    sufficient condition for the encoding. There must exist legal acts
    that make this use and the use of derivatives perfectly legal.

    And this must be true for any unfree logo or glyph or any other
    graphical design, that MUST NOT be encoded before its licencing has
    been liberalized in a way that does not even require giving author's
    attribution or the name of the copyright owner on the design.

    There must not be any possible counter-attack based on IP rights
    violation, just because the character has been used later in any
    publication. Such attack is still possible on the Windows logo or on
    the Apple logo, and that's why they can't and must not be encoded in
    the UCS as abstract characters.

    So yes the *original* Euro symbol design is a logo with strict
    definitions and a clear copyright still aplicable to it, but its
    derivatives are not (or they will be different logos with other
    additional copyrights applicable to them). And both of them (except
    the derivatives that have not also been freed) are liberalized in
    their usage by anyone for any purpose.

    At least the fact that the original design is liberalized allows
    countless varations without being bound to the terms of other
    licencing terms claimed in one of these derivatives. All derivatives
    just have to be based on the original and liberalized design or the
    design that appears within the Unicode and ISO 10646 charts.

    (Note that ONLY the glyph design that appears in these charts can be
    reproduced to create derivatives in fonts. Their numeric form as part
    of the document containing them is not free and cannot be directly
    imported to create a font).


    "Erkki I Kolehmainen" <> wrote:
    > The euro sign was originally defined in a manner similar to a strict logo.
    > The European Commission, however, very soon realized that it had to
    > be adjusted to the font style in order to be at all usable in any text. Thus,
    > it is wrong to say that they did try to claim that it was a logo.
    > Sincerely, Erkki I. Kolehmainen
    > Doug Ewell wrote:
    > >
    > > Philippe Verdy <verdy underscore p at wanadoo dot fr> wrote:
    > >
    > > > The final vote for approving the representative glyph will require
    > > > first getting an agreement with the Indian governement that still owns
    > > > the exclusive design, until it approves its use by the public and
    > > > implementation in fonts and keyboard layouts,
    > > > ...
    > > > The final vote will still be needed (and the formal authorization /
    > > > open licencing from India for what is still *their* glyph)
    > >
    > > This is the second time I have read this. Is it true? I know the
    > > European authorities tried to claim that the Euro sign was a logo, and
    > > had to remain unchanged regardless of the font style, and were unable to
    > > enforce that.
    > >
    > > Things that are truly logos, with IP rights owned by someone else,
    > > aren't supposed to be encoded. I'm sure that's not what the Indian
    > > government had in mind.

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