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Copyright and the Klingon Language: Partner Brad Newberg Weighs In

May 9, 2016

An April 30 article in The Guardian discusses a copyright case in a California federal court brought by the creators of Star Trek that involves ownership of the invented language Klingon.

In the article, titled “Who owns Klingon? Lawsuit draws battle over invented languages into court,” McGuireWoods intellectual property lawyer Brad Newberg says invented languages are eligible for copyright. Unlike English or Spanish, an invented language has a clear creator. If, however, fans invent enough of their own words to add to that invented language, they may loosen the copyright holder’s control over the language.

Newberg believes Klingon, as a whole, is copyrightable, but including words from that language in a book or movie may qualify as fair use, not infringement.

To read the article, click here.