admits it's a logo

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Wed May 31 2000 - 01:04:01 EDT

A few days ago, in the discussion about the proposal to encode a reversed
copyright sign in Unicode to represent the Free Software Foundation's
"copyleft" concept, I suggested that examples be provided to show the
use of the character in plain text. I was not prejudiced for or against
encoding the character, but wanted evidence one way or the other.

This morning while browsing through, in an attempt to find
a plain-text example, I found the strongest evidence yet *against*
encoding. I'm surprised I didn't see it before. Just follow these
simple steps:

1. Start at
2. Click "catalog"
3. Under "Products," click "stickers"
4. Click "copyleft"
5. Read: "It's our logo, sans puke green background, on a 3.5" circle."

And there it is. The organization most heavily promoting the use of
this symbol considers it to be their logo. It even has a default color!

Supporters of the symbol may claim that this is a semantic quibble, a
slight inexactness of language, but it is not. They know what a logo is,
and so do we. We also know the difference between a character, a glyph,
and a logo, at least from the Unicode/10646 standpoint. The fact that
they may not know this difference doesn't matter, any more than being
ignorant of local laws makes it OK to violate them.

The reversed copyright symbol should NOT be encoded in Unicode.
It doesn't matter whether you personally support the FSF, GNU, or the
copyleft concept. It doesn't matter whether any of the groups promoting
it are for-profit or not-for-profit. Encoding the copyleft symbol would
be like encoding the United Way's distinctive logo; a good cause does
not necessarily make a good character.

If the groff team ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY needs a Unicode representation
for this logo, perhaps they can use U+0186 plus U+20DD. That would be a
good demonstration of the power of groff -- which I understand to be a
professional-quality typesetting package -- since much Unicode-aware
rendering software still cannot handle combining characters.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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