>I am really confused about all this "unathorized use of the language" stuff. I mean can languages be copyrighted?
Yes, languages can be copyrighted. The copyright on the dictionary, for instance, covers all the words in the dictionary -- just as a copyright on a novel covers the characters in a novel. (It would be illegal for me to publish a book using Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara as characters, for example.)
> And is the idea to make the language more popular and used in a public forum or is it supposed be a secret language for use only in the Kingdom?
The language was created to promote Talossa, and as much as we can, we should make sure that it is not used by people who are not using it to promote Talossa. That is what the language exists for. Whether other people choose to steal it is another issue, but we should do what we can to protect it. The language doesn't exist in a vacuum; it is a part of Talossa, and we are Talossa.
P.S. There is no point in arguing this, because I am not going to put the language materials up online, ever, period. Continuing this thread is only going to inflame tempers for no reason. So let's move on to something else.
Last Edit: Jul 28, 2005 13:44:25 GMT -6 by kri
Baron Fritz Citizen since 12-7-2004; Knight since 11-30-2005
Post by Baron Fritz on Jul 28, 2005 13:52:53 GMT -6
I am not arguing Ben. Just asking questions. How would be the best way to use the language to promote Talossa? How do Talossans learn the language? Please don't look at these questions as anything other than sincere.
>I am not arguing Ben. Just asking questions. How would be the best way to use the language to promote Talossa? How do Talossans learn the language? Please don't look at these questions as anything other than sincere.
Clearly we have people who are interested in the language -- from all over the political spectrum, in virtually every party. The best thing for people to do is to work on the language -- let's the the grammar and dictionary done! Until that's done, all these questions are purely academic. Arguing about an existing grammar and dictionary is one thing, arguing about hypotheticals is really pointless.
There are a lot of ways people can help out, especially with the dictionary. But it requires a sense of language (John Woolley would be excellent at that) or at least a desire to do some typing. We still have a few hand-written English wordlists that need to be put into digital format so I can amalgamate them into the database. Marc Moisan has such a list and hasn't had the time to type it out, so he is sending it back to me. That list will need to be typed at some point.
As for actually deriving words, here is a block of text from the dictionary file, of words that we need Talossan equivalents for:
.... And so on and so forth. Someone with a knowledge of Romance languages and a good grounding in Talossan is free to help out creating or suggesting Talossan equivalents for all these words, and a thousand more.
As for learning the language, people who are "into languages" find it easy to learn right out of the existing grammar book. Tomás and I will see each other Sunday in Boston, so I will discuss this with him as he is in charge of that. I don't think the grammar is that far away from being completed.
I don't believe anyone has ever tested the legal concept of copyrighting a language. (Obviously, it's an idea that would only apply to constructed languages.) I think the courts would be unlikely to hold that a language is a "literary or artistic work", and thus copyrightable, especially seeing as recent decisions in the U. S. seem to be trending toward less protection for copyright, rather than more. Then there's the First Amendment, with that pesky freedom of speech; it would certainly protect my right to speak or write Talossan, and probably to speak and write about Talossan.
Copyright law only covers the particular form or manner in which ideas or information have been manifested. It is not designed or intended to cover the actual concepts, facts, styles or techniques which may be embodied in or represented by the ideas or information.
Facts cannot be copyrighted; so the fact, for instance, that in language T, word X has meaning Y, is uncopyrightable, and can be disseminated and discussed freely by anyone. Dictionaries certainly can be copyrighted. But a word in a dictionary isn't very much like a character in a book; the word has existence apart from the dictionary, and the dictionary-entry is merely a record of that fact. Again though, this whole concept hasn't been tested with constructed languages, so nobody really knows how the courts would rule. It would no doubt be expensive to find out.
On that thread, Tomás Gariçéir and Marc Moisan and Xhorxh Asmoûr all say roughly what I've been saying on this thread (although Tomás puts it far more strongly and eloquently than I did); to wit, that no language (including Talossan) can be copyrighted, and that it is in the best interests of the Kingdom of Talossa and the best interests of the Talossan language for language materials to be freely and widely distributed.
So Márcüs, do you also accuse Tomás and Marc and Xhorxh of "defend[ing] the quitters" ... or just me?
I do not accuse anyone of defending the quitters. The comments that you made in some of your posts did give me cause for concern. Your praise for the "work" that the republic has done in the promotion of our language was out of place. They have taken the Talossan language as their own and used it as a recruitment tool, this is not something to celebrate and is not worthy of admiration.
I guess I left out a few words, or used the wrong words in my second post! What I MEANT to say, but what I did not say, was that I do not accuse Tomás, Marc and Xhorxh of defending the quitters. You asked me in the post above if I also accuse them of defending the quitters. The answer to that is NO! I hope that clears that matter up.
John, I am not saying that you are a republican or in league with the quitters. However, I do not believe your earlier praise of their work on the language was appropriate.
WOW! All this over the use of words. Amazing. I claim the English language as mine, but I don't believe everyone from another country should pay royalties to speak it. If that was the case, Donald Trump could have copywrote the phrase "You're fired!" and racked up lotsa dough when Enron and Worldcom collapsed. Whether in book form or posted online someone, somewhere is going to violate the copywrite (this doesn't make it right, its just a fact). Copywrite law does not prevent people from copying movies, tapes, cd's, written publications, etc....it only prevents someone from making money doing it. It happens all the time and most of us are guilty at some point in our lives (have you ever copied a movie, tape, made a mix cd for a friend?). Plagarism is the same way. It only becomes a crime when money is involved. If it wasn't the case, the first person who wrote....'It was a dark and stormy night' could have copywritten that line and anytime it appeared in another book demanded payment. We wouldn't have many books. I guess the Talossan language (which I know little about) must be a hot commodity to enjoy such restrictions. LaMongrel
p.s. When trying to attract peoples attention, even bad publicity is good.
Ridischlops! I've only just now read this entire thread, and it's left me rather agitated.
First, thank you, John, for being the most intelligent and sensible poster in this whole thread.
It was the Talossan language which brought me to the Kingdom of Talossa in the first place, and ever since I became a citizen in early 1997, my mission has been to share our beautiful language with the whole world. I have always believed that anyone and everyone, regardless of micro- or macronational citizenship, should be encouraged to learn Talossan -- simply because of its beauty and elegance -- and that we as the nation whose language it is should support all learners of the Talossan language everywhere. Politics, whether macronational, micronational, or personal, do not and should not even enter the picture. I have devoted my Talossan life to this purpose.
The only problem with the so-called "splitters" using the Talossan language is that sombody else is promoting our language more than we are. The Kingdom's unfortunate response to this has been the utterly wrong one of destroying everything I've worked for the last 8 years and trying to yank the language away from the world and hide it away so that nobody save a handful of "authorised individuals" can ever learn it, instead of the correct response of being shamed into action, so to speak, and increasing the web presence of our language with the Kingdom's name attached to it. They put up one site, we put up two.
Now, having said that, I will not issue calls for Ben to put his books back online. I fully support his right, as author and copyright holder, to distribute his works (or not) as he sees fit.
But the larger question which arises is this: what happens when people other than Ben want to publish Talossan books? Will they be allowed to distribute their own works as they see fit? If I want to publish a "Teach Yourself Talossan" textbook or a story written in Talossan, and put it up free of charge for the whole world, will certain authorities in the Kingdom try to shut me down, or sue me for copyright violation, for not restricting my work to "authorised users"?
Finally, I was upset by Ben's statement above that "The language was created to promote Talossa...we should make sure that it is not used by people who are not using it to promote Talossa...That is what the language exists for". That is not what the language was created for. In the original Talossan Language Home Page (sadly the only Talossan language web page we have online now!) it says that Ben "experimented with several other 'official languages'...in vain attempts to find one that would somehow encapsulate the incipient national ethos of the Kingdom...King Robert I realized that the only language that could ever truly have a Talossan national character, would be a Talossan language." The language was created in order to have a uniquely Talossan way of experiencing and expressing the world, a linguistic reflection of our unique culture and history as a people, to "encapsulate our national ethos".
If things have degenerated so much that the Talossan language now exists "only to promote Talossa", then for Heaven's sake, somebody let me know and I will not waste another second working on it. The day that our venerable, beautiful, noble language becomes nothing more than a mere marketing tool to attract new members for our little club, whose use is restricted to the tiny handful of human beings in the world who are members of our little club and have received "authorisation", is the day I pack my bags and join the Republic.
Post by Xhorxh Asmour on Aug 20, 2005 0:05:27 GMT -6
I've been away from the Web for about two months and now that I'm back on Witt again I see all this nightmare happening before my eyes. I can hardly believe it! The only thing left for me to say is ... I quit! Thanks for everything. I've really enjoyed being a Talossan citizen all this time, but the current state of affairs makes me sick, and I don't think I can take it any longer. Good luck!