Pirates… Part 3
Further to my last article, another email I received posed some interesting questions too.
You recently wrote a font related article which I've come across through Wide Format online magazine.
Your article along with a previous one on fonts has gotten me looking closer to the fonts we have.
Apart from having too many to use in my lifetime, I have doubles and triples aptly named font 1, font 2, font 3.
Shane Drew has been involved in the sign industry since 1992.
So I'm currently on a font clean up mission.
Not only am I finding doubles of the same named fonts I'm finding completely different names which in fact look identical in design though may have slight stretching in one compared to others.
The font information is as follows:
Acapulco (Editable Embedding) Jose Alberto Reyes Galvez License to 1001 Free Fonts
Arnoldboecklin (Installable) Converted by ALLTYPE
Art Deco SSi (installable) Southern Software Inc.
Question: How do I know who the original font designer was in this case?
Chances are I received all these when I bought a 10,000 fonts package, my understanding is that I have the right to use any one of these fonts as I have purchased them.
My other query having looked into the Font information section of my fonts, how do I know what I can and can't use when they have Embedding Information such as: Installable, Editable Embedding, Print & Preview, Restricted License.
Whilst I agree with your statements regarding the illegal use of fonts. I have to say the 'font industry' haven't made it all that easy to know what can and can't be used to produce any given item by any individual or company for any given purpose or intended audience.
Thanks very much Sjaani for your email. I appreciate the feedback, and your time in writing.
Compilation or Freeware disks are fonts that are already in the public domain, which is why there are so many duplications of the same one. These are often referred to as ‘copyleft’ fonts or some may be ’open source’ fonts. Read more here http://www.designwritingresearch.org/free_fonts.html
Others though are obviously pirates of the same and finding the original owner is going to be hard. There is interesting reading here. http://www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/herlitz.pdf
Also, Southern Software Inc (SSI), which supplied many fonts to these compilation CD's (and some on your disk) were taken to task and sued by Adobe in 1998 for font copyright infringements. Read more here http://directory.serifmagazine.com/Ethics_and_Law/Copyright/judgement.php4
I feel your point about the 'font industry' is probably a valid one though. Fortunately, since the electronic age has become more main stream, and not just the area for technophiles and geeks, modern day font foundries have become much more serious about selling legitimate fonts with copyright and copyleft licenses.
Its important to note that reputable foundries have conditions attached to the use of their free fonts too. An Australian type foundry called Paragraph have a typical license found here http://www.paragraph.com.au/freefonts-licence.html
Megami Studios has a more direct one here http://www.paragraph.com.au/freefonts-licence.html
For a more comprehensive review on licenses, check out the Free Software Foundations page here http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses
All is not lost though, as fontsquirrel.com has a good selection of Commercial Free to use fonts here http://www.fontsquirrel.com/
Getting back to your 1001 free font compilation disk, their site states;
The Ultimate Font Download is a unique collection of 10,000 quality fonts from award winning font designers. The Ultimate Font Download is fully licensed for commercial use and has been licensed directly from the font creators and includes thousands of exclusive fonts.
• Font package contains thousands of exclusive fonts
• Compatible with Windows and Macintosh
• Font package is licensed for commercial projects
• Includes font manager and printable font catalogue
• Download 10,000 fonts with one click
Personally, I'd query the claim that they are 'exclusive' fonts, I'd question the 'award winning designers' tag, and the 'Commercial use license' comment is pretty vague.
End of the day, it is 'buyer beware' though. Just like buying on ebay or any other online site, trust and faith are two components that are required when parting with your money.
Alltype, as mentioned in your font headers, is a reference to a conversion software that, when used legally, converts font files to other formats. Illegal activity has seen the software used for modifying legal text. You'll see alltype mentioned in the credits of a lot of free fonts, because they would have been converted from other sources and then released for freeware use.
Interestingly, Alltype's user license states ;
4.2. USE OF THE CONVERTED TYPEFACE FILES.
Converting copyrighted typefaces for the purposes of resale, copyright infringement or licensing avoidance is strictly prohibited. Refer to your original typeface Licensor's Program License Agreement for additional restrictions that may apply. You do not have the right to make unlimited copies of the CTF's created by this software, as it is protected by computer software copyright laws. You will be held responsible by the Licensor of the typeface for any infringement of the terms, rights and limitations governing the use of the typeface in its original form.
When buying fonts, as opposed to using free fonts, most font outlets give you commercial options with multi user licenses.
The fonts I buy from Font Bros for instance gives me up to a 5 user per license. I have 5 PC's, so I have no problem putting the font on each PC.
The fine print will state that you can't copy the font, distribute it or resell it. SSI fonts though may be a problem given that they lost their court case.
I'm not sure how that would stand if Adobe for instance, decided to take umbrage to an SSI font becoming a trademark for a successful product through a media campaign.
Thanks again for your input.