Legal Insurrection’s sci-fi fans will recall our recent report on the legal case filed by CBS/Paramount against a fan-based film being funded by Kickstarter donations.

I was intrigued by the team from the Language Creation Society (LCS), who filed an amicus brief challenging Paramount’s dubious claim about copyright infringement based on the fan-film’s use of the Klingon language.  I noted that Marc Randazza (a first amendment attorney) and Alex Shepard had filed an amusing and scholarly legal document filled with Klingon words, its alphabet, and cultural references on behalf of that group.

Fortunately, two LCS board members were able to be guests on the Canto Talk show this week, and provided an update on the case as well as details on constructed languages (conlangs) and their organization.

Sai, who founded the society after organizing a student-created class to at the University of California – Berkeley on “how to create a language” as a fun introduction to linguistics, is a now a member of the Board of Directors. He explained why the LCS interceded on behalf of the fan-film.

“[Paramount] ..specifically claimed to own the Klingon language. That part bothered us. We don’t feel people should be restrained from using constructed languages however they want.”

According to Sai, the court denied Axanar’s motion to dismiss. And while it denied the LCS motion for leave to file an amicus brief about the Klingon language “without prejudice”. The LCS will continue to monitor the case and if the Klingon language issue remains when the case goes to summary judgment, the organization may re-file a refined amicus brief. The motion for summary judgement is due mid-November, unless it is settled before.

Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets is the current LCS President, and he gave us the background on the world of constructed language.

The Language Creation Society’s mission is not to promote concrete languages in particular by the art of creating languages itself. We don’t promote a singular language like Klingon or Dothraki.

Those who love language (and from the comments section, I gather many of you do), would have some fun reviewing the group’s library, checking conlang blogs, and becoming a member to support linguistic creativity. As I noted during the show, it is wonderful to give credit to the behind-the-scenes contributors who make new worlds and cultures seem quite real through the language arts.

According to Grandsire-Koevoets, new languages are created for a wide array reasons: Profit, art, and experimentation as to the rules and limits of language. The fruits of their efforts can be heard in movies, read in literature, and enjoyed in music. Beyond Klingon and Dothraki, conlangs that may be familiar to people include Esperanto, Na’vi (from the movie, Avatar), as well as Quenya and Sindarin (from The Lord of the Rings.)

Grandsire-Koevoets has been working on two conlangs for fun: Moten and Haotyétpi. During the show, I had some fun learning a entence in Haotyétpi: Kyarrú ponop nák marese.

The meaning? The sun is shining.

I hope the sun continues to shine on the LCS and its good work.


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