Re: The rules of encoding (from Re: Missing geometric shapes)

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2012 10:30:11 +0100

2012/11/8 William_J_G Overington <>:
> However, an encoding using a Private Use Area encoding has great problems in being implemented as a widespread system.

Wrong, this is what has been made during centuries if not millenium !
Initially a private use definition, which was not "encoded", but found
their way in widespread use once they were adopted by other editors
(possibly by using glyph variants, including those also introduced by
the initial author depending on the publisher he used and the amount
paid for the publication.

This is still true today: even if you define new glyphs, and as long
as you do not explicitly give permission to others to reused those
glyphs or variant of them, these glyphs remain private in terms of
copyright restrictions on their designs. Making your publication
"public" by depositing to a national library is not a situation where
you grant an open licence to others : the legal deposit made at a
national library is instead used as a proof of your date of work to
claim your copyright on this work.

> Also, I feel that implementation other than for research purposes using a Private Use Area encoding would cause problems for the future: I feel that a formal encoding is needed from the start.

Certainly no. For widespread use you first need to create a work,
claim ownership of copyrights, makde a legal deposit to proove it,
publish an explicit open licence statement allowing reuse of your
design by other authors, and then make your own work for convincing
others to reuse these glyphs (or derived variants of them) in a way
similar as yours.

It is when there will be similar reuses by others, in their own
publications, and when people will start communicating with them in a
sizeable community, on a long enough period (more than the year of
your initial publication), that the appearing "abstract" character
will be saif existant (Unicode or ISO won't consider these characters
as long as others than you alone are not using these designs legally
in their published interchanges, printed or not, have not been proven
to exist over a period consisting in more than 1 year by much more
than just 1 independant author).

> I feel that the rules for encoding such new symbols are out of date and not suitable for present day use.
> Unfortunately, it seems that there is not a way available for me to request formal consideration of the possibility of changing the rules.
> Technology has changed since the rules were made.

May be, but this just extended the number of technical medias useable
for publications (even if copyright issues have been restricting a bit
the legal reuses more tightly). There are still lots of documents
produced on various medias (at least all the same since milleniums).
Electronic documents are just newer medias for publications, but they
certainly don't create a new restriction to permit widespread use.

Also as the world population has grown a lot, the minimum size of the
community needed to demonstrate its existence has grown proportionally
(the requirements are larger for more recent documents, compared to
historic characters, whose community of users has however grown with
ages, because we can also include the new reusers of the historic
documents over the much larger period where these characters have not
been forgotten, allowing more documents to reuse them up to documents
produced today).

> Is it possible for formal consideration to be given to the possibility of changing the rules please?

Not the way you describe. You are trying to put the egg before the
chicken. But you forget that both the chiken and egg have a common
creator and are in fact exactly the same thing.

So even if yo uare still required to use private encoding, this is not
what is limiting the birth of an abstract character from your glyphs.
What is important is the number of documents reuing them, over a long
enough period, by a community of authors legally recognized (either
because they are dead since long enough htat their work have fallen in
the public domain, allowing a significant increase of the number of
reusers, or because the exclusive copyright claims have been relaxed
by an open licence so that other will be allowed to reuse your design
or variants of them in their publications, on various medias, not just
electronic ones).
Received on Thu Nov 08 2012 - 03:33:47 CST

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