We’ve submitted a proposal to get the Creative Commons logo, license, and public domain icons into Unicode (more specifically, the Universal Coded Character Set or UCS). Unicode is the industry standard for encoding characters into text, which means that virtually all text-based editors, or tools with text-based editors, enable those characters and symbols that have been encoded into the standard. Examples of encoded characters range from ancient Greek letters to the current day ©, @, and universal ♲ symbols.
We’re excited about our proposal for several reasons: if encoded, creators will easily be able to mark their CC-licensed works with icons in text; users will be able to provide attribution for CC-licensed works they use with icons; and, if nothing else, in developing the proposal we became better aware of the ubiquitous use of our icons across a diversity of media, contexts, and domains. (Thanks for your contributions of CC-marked physical media on Twitter!)
We wanted to share the proposal (pdf) to get your thoughts as our community, especially if we missed any examples of use you think we should have included for future iterations. We are still planning on submitting a separate proposal for Creative Commons Emoji – adding CC icons to Emoji would put icon attribution in the hands of everyone with mobile devices – so your feedback is valuable. More importantly, we would still like to know: how do you currently indicate the CC license on a work without Unicode? How would you like to be able to indicate the license on a work? See the form below to submit a quick response to these questions.
Lastly, you’ll note in the proposal that the CC logo and icons are governed by a trademark policy, while most unicode characters are not. We address this point directly (we don’t think encoding CC icons in Unicode would jeopardize our trademarks or that having a trademark policy clarifying their usage undercuts the purpose of having the icons encoded), but we also welcome your questions and thoughts.