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Can you copyright a language?

 
 
Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-24-2006
Here's an interesting one: an indigenous Chilean tribe is objecting to
Microsoft bringing out its software in their language
<http://theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=35943>, and it looks like
they're going to sue to stop it.

My question is, surely Microsoft had to do the translation with the help of
people who knew the language anyway. So was their use of the language in
this way a violation of their licensing terms?
 
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Jason Clinton
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      11-24-2006
On Fri, 24 Nov 2006 21:15:22 +1300, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
<(E-Mail Removed)_zealand> wrote:

>Here's an interesting one: an indigenous Chilean tribe is objecting to
>Microsoft bringing out its software in their language
><http://theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=35943>, and it looks like
>they're going to sue to stop it.
>
>My question is, surely Microsoft had to do the translation with the help of
>people who knew the language anyway. So was their use of the language in
>this way a violation of their licensing terms?


Dunno but is there a copyright on artificial languages like Esperanto
or Klingon?


 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-24-2006
In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Jason Clinton
wrote:

> ... is there a copyright on artificial languages like Esperanto
> or Klingon?


There can be. In the 1920s C K Ogden came up with Basic English, which was
English simplified in some ways, most notably by slashing the vocabulary to
under 1000 words. Unfortunately it was copyrighted to "preserve its
purity", and that effectively killed it.

There is a moral here somewhere for all who seek proprietary rights
in programming languages.
-- Bryan Higman, "A Comparative Study of Programming Languages"

(A lesson which Sun was a bit slow to learn with Java.)
 
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