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Shigetaka Kurita had a goal in mind when he set out to create the emoji: to invent a quick and simple way to express emotion without words. Emojis are defined as “[a] small digital pictograph used in electronic communication to express a wide range of emotion and ideas” and are based on Japanese characters. In the past several years, emojis have become popular on many platforms, such as Apple and Android phones, as well as social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Recently, users have embraced Apple’s decision to add new emojis, such as those depicting different races and homosexual couples. According to Time magazine, the United States Supreme Court decision to overturn DOMA was influential in these emojis appearing on Facebook, and the emojis depicting same-sex couples were first released with Apple’s iOS 8.3. But, while these pictures have become globally recognized and are often a way of connecting across cultures, not every country is enthusiastic about their impact.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on November 24, 2015. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.

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