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this is what I got in the mail

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Monday, March 17, 2003, 14:45
> I thought of doing this, though. He wants a language for his Dwarves: why > not sell one to him? He wants a language with some kind of rudimentary > structure, but mostly with vocabulary for spell casting and onomastics. I > thought, somewhat frivolously, of designing one for him and selling it to > him at ten dollars a word. <G> Or, more reasonably, twenty-five dollars > an hour. I'm a pretty decent linguist. I think an earthy, rich-sounding > ergative language would suit the ergonic Dwarves pretty well (if they are > anything like Tolkien's Dwarves). Why give my labor away free? Why give > away for free the labor I took in designing Teonaht, virtually a book or a > set of books that have taken me five years to mount on the Internet? If he > wants a language inventor, he should pay for her. What is arrogant (more > likely ignorant) about his request is that we're all dying to get our > languages used by some Roll Playing Game Master who thinks our conlang > would fit, say, their Trolls. Or their Orcs. Prro:ka!!
One reason to give away the fruits of one's arduous labours is to benefit the rest of mankind. I gratefully use a lot of freely given away software, including, god bless him, Herman's Thryomanes font (in its Livagian version). If this RPG chap is doing his project for profit, then some outrage is warranted, since he'd be wanting to rob you (unless thoughtlessly he simply hadn't got round to mentioning remuneration). But if he's doing it for love (which is the impression I got), then it isn't, though I too would have declined to have my conlang used, because I so strongly dislike Tolkien travesties. On the more general issue of copyright, we should own the exclusive right to profit from our labours, but in some respects copyright is a landgrab in the realm of ideas -- the first person to stake a claim gets all rights, and robs everyone else of territory in the world of ideas that, morally, should belong collectively to all. Imagine if conlangs were copyrightable: could the creator of the first ergative conlang sue all the others? Could the Tolkien estate sue all the latterday Sindarinoid avatars? --And.