--- On Tue, 9/22/09, Paul Hartzer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Paul Hartzer <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Conlang copyright
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 12:25 AM
> > From: Lee <[log in to unmask]>
> > > From: Daniel Bowman
> > > Subject: Conlang copyright
> > > To: [log in to unmask]
> > > Date: Monday, September 21, 2009, 11:24 PM
> > > Furthermore, if I
> > > wanted to publish a story of my own that included
> > > after she
> > > publishes hers, I might have legal action taken
> > > me.
> > >
> > > Is this a valid fear? Has anyone else
> > > this sort of problem?
> > Yes, this is a valid fear. Happens with software all
> the time.
> > Slap your copyright notice on the work you did:
> > Copyright © 2009 Your Name.
> All rights reserved.
> I am not a lawyer either. However, it seems to me that
> created languages fall under trademark law and notoriously
> amorphous Intellectual Property law in general, not under
> copyright law specifically. Copyright is for specific works
> (and works substantively similar); you can copyright a
> dictionary in a conlang, you can copyright a poem or piece
> of fiction in a conlang (and what would be protected would
> be the events in that creative work: I couldn't translate
> the work into my own language and then copyright *that*,
> without the author's permission).
> Personally, I'd check with a lawyer, but I think Daniel did
> the right thing. IP law can get fairly treacherous, and if
> there's the choice of just creating a different conlang for
> the purpose, I'd've done that as well. I wouldn't loan
> someone else a conlang I cared about until I had *firmly*
> established it in my own published works (and even then, I'd
> think long and hard first).
> -- Paul
Yes, only the expressions of ideas made in some fashion using a language are copyrightable. I did not mean to imply something as ethereal as a language itself can be copyrighted. Sorry if I confused anyone there.
A person might be able to trademark the name of a conlang, or another word or image associated with the conlang, but that's about as far as you could go in that arena.
However, it might be possible to patent a conlang....