Can you copyright a language?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. 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?
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 24, 2006
    #1
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  2. On Fri, 24 Nov 2006 21:15:22 +1300, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    <_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?
     
    Jason Clinton, Nov 24, 2006
    #2
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  3. In message <>, 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.)
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 24, 2006
    #3
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