Re: On the possibility of encoding webdings in Unicode (from Re: square bullets added to unicode.)

From: Jukka K. Korpela (
Date: Wed Jan 26 2011 - 05:35:38 CST

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    William_J_G Overington wrote:

    > Webdings has some very stylish graphic art,

    That’s a matter of opinion, but at least some of the glyphs can be
    characterized as creations, or “work” in the copyright sense, unlike, say,
    the shape of letter “A” as such, which is a collective product of centuries
    of human history. Individual glyph designs for “A” might be personal enough
    to be protected by copyright, but practical copyright issues tend to revolve
    around fonts as computer software rather than individual glyphs.

    > Copyright (c) 1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    Copyright statements in general are just statements by someone and do not
    constitute copyright.

    > If some or all of the webdings glyphs were to become encoded into
    > regular Unicode, would that only be possible with the explicit
    > intellectual property rights permission of Microsoft?

    Encoding a glyph as a character is not affected by copyright. Copyright
    might matter as regards to publishing a sample of the character, since that
    would be an act of copying and communicating to the public. This would
    normally be legal under “fair use” clauses or equivalents, and if this
    really were an issue, the standard could just define the character without
    showing any glyph for it but referring to some publicly available source
    that contains a glyph.

    > would it be something like

    Why not simply WEBDING PARK?

    > or would it be something like
    > so that the webding park glyph was regarded as just one possible
    > glyph for the character?

    Hardly. The very idea of dingbats is that the shape is the meaning. If you
    wish to encode a generic visual idea (like “grass with tree and path”) or a
    generic semantic idea (like “symbol for park”), then you’re outside
    dingbatland—and also outside the scope of character encoding standards.


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