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Re: this is what I got in the mail.

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 18, 2003, 3:03
On Mon, 17 Mar 2003 20:28:21 +0000, Rik <rik@...> wrote:

>Surely, Teonaht is a code or cypher - a method of storing data together with >the information for interpreting that data correctly at some time in the >future. I'd argue that the "language" - which is the creation of one person - >is entirely copyrightable, and that Sally Caves would have a good chance of >enforcing that copyright should anyone try to profit from her intellectual >work. > >Codes and cyphers can be copyrighted - for example the .gif format for graphic >elements. And also computer languages - AMOS Basic (for Amiga) was >copyrighted, and I think Visual Basic is very much the property of Microsoft.
The gif format is covered by patent, not copyright (specifically a patent on the LZW compression technique it uses). The MP3 format has a similar flaw (a patent on the acoustic models used for compressing sound, or some such thing). I personally think the entire idea of software patents is unfortunate, wrong, and ultimately harmful to the software industry, but that's the only thing that makes sense for something like a file format, if it's a legitimate thing to have a monopoly on something like that. Computer programs, such as language compilers and development environments, are covered by copyright, but that wouldn't stop someone else from writing their own Visual Basic compiler if they really wanted to. In the old days, many companies sold Basic compilers and interpreters; the program itself, not the language it implemented, was copyrighted. If anything, then, the idea of using Teonaht as a method of encoding text would be patentable. But that's such an obvious use that it could never be patented (in any sane society, at least). The description of Teonaht, of course, would be covered by copyright. And while it's conceivable that Teonaht could be *used* as a code, as any other language could be, the relay games have shown that conlangs aren't particularly well suited for preserving the meaning of a text in another language unchanged (which isn't their intended purpose). Let's keep the lawyers out of what should be a fun and enjoyable hobby. (Unless the lawyers are in it to participate themselves, of course!) -- languages of Azir------> ---<>--- hmiller (Herman Miller) "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body, \ "Subject: teamouse" / there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin


Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>