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The Unicode Standard Now Includes CC License Symbols

About CC

Last week, the Unicode Consortium released the latest version of the Unicode Standard—the universal character coding system used in computer processing (which includes the international emoji portfolio ?). We’re thrilled to announce that Creative Commons (CC) license symbols were included in this new release.

The latest Unicode Standard adds 5,930 characters, including 4 new scripts, 55 new emoji characters, and the following CC license symbols:

Graphic from Emojipedia. Read their great overview of the new Unicode release.

This is the result of years of hard work by several members of CC’s staff, including our former Director of Product and Research Jane Park who submitted our initial proposal in October 2016 and our second proposal in July 2017.

What is Unicode?

Unicode is the standard for encoding characters into text. Typical examples of encoded characters that we use every day are @, $, &, #, and %. Other examples are writing scripts, like Arabic (العربية) or Devanagari (देवनागरी). Due to the nature of the internet, more characters are created every day—like the mechanical arm emoji ?—so the Unicode Standard must be regularly updated. 

Put simply, the Unicode Standard enables virtually all text-based editing platforms and tools  (e.g. WordPress, Gmail, Twitter, etc.) to use the same characters and symbols.

Why we proposed adding CC license symbols to Unicode

Way back in 2017, we surveyed more than 700 people to understand how they marked their works with CC licenses. We found that more than half (62%) use the CC license icons or buttons, which must be downloaded from our website or made accessible via an external plugin (e.g. CC WordPress Plugin). However, many more (96%) said they would like to be able to place the CC license symbols directly in their text to indicate the particular CC license being applied—hence the need for our proposal.

Font developers—please be sure to include the CC symbols in your fonts! With the CC license symbols being added to the Unicode Standard, you can help make it much easier for people to mark their work with a CC license.

Posted 18 March 2020