Conlangs: How people use them & does it violate copyright

Using toki pona as an example, should anyone care about property right law and con language?  For example, in music, it is a final work and people tend to pass it around without modification, rarely creating derivative works, sometimes doing public performances.  What do people do with conlanguages and how do they fit in with the issues that copyright and creative commons address?

Sorry this isn’t a well thought out post, someday when I’m a lawyer I’ll improve on it.

The point of the list is to show there are two kinds of activities in a conlang– those that are likely to reduce likely sales of the con lang author’s books and those that are likely to increase the sales of the authors book (eg. people trying to write and publish works in tp)  The former should be discouraged and the latter encouraged. Imho.


  • doesn’t archive it on account of the norobots.txt
  • Several copies of the PDF can be found and one or two copies of the original grammar can still be found.

Attribution. Usually happens, not always.

Commercial use. 

  • Strong sense of the word: Copies of website guides for sale, None
  • weak sense of the word: Lots of ads, e.g. Wikipesija has ads, ads on Livejournal blogs, ads on Yahoo group emails, etc.
  • about language – for sale Grammar, Dictionary, none yet
  • in language, Complete novels, magazines, etc, in tp, none yet.

(although a there is some probably illegal translations of copyrighted works in tp)


  • Strong sense of the word– lots of copying, translating of website.
  • Weak sense of the word– lots of usage of the language.

Share alike.

                n/a, derivative works and copies are a bunch of copyright violations without explicit permission from author, so they can’t possibly have the same license as the original (because there is no license!)

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