In reply to Sandy Fleming

Pharos pharosofalexandria at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 29 20:08:18 UTC 2007

I've tried to research similar situations where the legal issues of a
whole writing system are dealt with, and the most analogous one I
could find was for the International Phonetic Alphabet.  The IPA is
updated every few years, so the newer symbols anyway are still under

I found an official-sounding copyright statement at the website of the
Department of Linguistics at the University of Victoria, British

The International Phonetic Association permits (with no limitations or
licensing restrictions and at no charge in the form of a license fee
or royalties) third parties to use (copy, publicly display, publicly
perform, publish/distribute and create derivative works based thereon)
the IPA symbols and IPA charts as part of or in products such as books
and software/hardware as long as the third party acknowledges the
International Phonetic Association as the copyright owner of the
International Phonetic Alphabet and the IPA charts.

This sort of simple notice sounds like what you may be looking for.
Of course copyrights for fonts or computer software is still a
different issue.

I'm not necessarily recommending this, but I thought you guys should
be aware of how the IPA has dealt with the issue.

On 5/29/07, Valerie Sutton <signwriting at> wrote:
> SignWriting List
> May 29, 2007
> On May 28, 2007, at 10:49 PM, GerardM wrote:
> > It seems obvious to me that with SignWriting seeking more people to
> > write their sign language, it is relevant to allow people use the
> > SignWriting characters and fonts, the software  and material as
> > freely as possible. In this way you grow an ecosystem that will be
> > of benefit to the whole community. It seems to me that SignWriting
> > is the best defence that sign languages have. It gains strength in
> > the number of people able to write and promote their sign language.
> Sandy, Gerard, Steve, Everyone -
> I think it is wonderful that Sandy wants to do his software! NO ONE
> is restricting Sandy or anyone to do their software. Of course it is
> obvious that everyone must be "allowed" to use fact
> I am begging everyone to use SignWriting.
> PLEASE use SignWriting! There are no restrictions or limitations. I
> never created any. If someone thinks there are limitations, they are
> creating them in their own mind....
> The very purpose of SignWriting is to be used by millions of people
> free and open, just as the Roman Alphabet is...
> This idea of licenses is creating as many problems as it is
> solving...making people feel like some how they will be excluded from
> the SignWriting family...NEVER. All are welcome.
> I am worried that someone will feel like a license keeps them from
> using SignWriting, even when it states that it is open and free. That
> is why I absolutely must write a personal and encouraging and open
> letter to the general public, and place it on our web sites, in which
> I explain in plain English that SignWriting is free for you and
> everyone to use.
> So Sandy, I just want to be sure that you know you are welcome to
> develop your software!
> OK. Next week I will try to write that open letter to everyone -
> And I hope everyone will relax about this issue. I am beginning to
> think that maybe it should be in the Public else can we
> encourage people to use SignWriting? You all assume that I have
> copyrighted everything...but actually I haven't...but it seems like
> no one believes me!
> And I don't want to waste the years I have left to live on the earth,
> worrying about limitations, when SignWriting is limitless...
> Val ;-)

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