Petition for a sane EULA

karasu's picture

Hi Typophiles,

I'd very much like to support independent type foundries. However, it seems that they generally have more restrictive licenses than the big names. Maybe this is because they're unaware if that is legally enforcable or not?

I'd like to propose the following EULA, inspired by the VIllage / Incubator EULA. Comments are given in {COMMENT}:

This is an agreement between you, the purchaser, and [FOUNDRY]. In accepting the terms of this agreement, you acknowledge understanding and promise to comply with its terms. If you do not accept the terms, please do not complete the purchase transaction.

What you are purchasing from [FOUNDRY] is the license to use digital typeface software – hereafter “fonts” – on a certain number of computers within your organization; you are not purchasing the copyright to the design of the fonts, but the rights to use the fonts.

The fonts are provided in [FORMAT]. Additional formats may be available upon demand, and may require the purchase of supplemental licensing.

When purchasing licensing for fonts, you may use the fonts on the maximum number of computers within your organization as specified in the license table. You can purchase additional licenses at any time, which grant you the rights to use the fonts on additional computers.

The fonts may not be used with any webfont replacement technologies without the purchase of supplemental licensing. Webfonts are provided in [FORMAT]. Please contact us for details.

The fonts may only be embedded if they are hard to extract, and are non-editable. For other applications the purchase of supplemental licensing is required. Please contact us for details.
[ORIGINAL: The fonts may not be embedded in other documents, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Flash files (including sIFR), Word or PowerPoint without the purchase of supplemental licensing. Please contact us for details. COMMENT: This is absolute craziness. With the move to digital embedding in non-editable formats should be permitted.}

You may make archival copies of the fonts for your own purposes. You may not distribute the fonts to people outside of your organization. A copy of the fonts may be sent as part of a file release to a prepress bureau, if absolutely necessary.

You may only modify, convert, adapt, decompile, or otherwise reverse engineer the fonts for compatibility reasons. Any derivative words that you create may not be shared with others unless they also have a license. {ORIGINAL:
You may not modify, convert, adapt, decompile, or otherwise reverse engineer or create derivative works of the fonts. NOTES: Again, this is completely ridiculous. Reverse engineering for compatibility reasons is expressly permitted by fair use law. Things such as adding glyphs can be argued to also fall under this, as they are necessary for compatibility with unicode ranges of various programmes.}

We have done everything we can to produce our fonts to the highest and most up-to-date technical standards, and we test the fonts extensively in the latest versions of technically-compliant applications. If you do experience any difficulties with our fonts, we will work with you to resolve any technical issues in the fonts. If, after we have worked to resolve any technical issues, you are still not satisfied with our software, we will be pleased to refund your money, which shall be the limit of our liability in this transaction. {NOTE: In some countries this won't be enforceable.}

We grant the rights of use of our fonts to you in good faith, and request that you adhere to the terms of this agreement to the best of your ability, and in good faith.

[NAMES] is a copyright of [FOUNDRY].

-------

But, you know, maybe I should just not bother with this. With open-source this is just as much an issue, because you need to be careful your work doesn't suddenly turn open source as well. However, you don't need to read through wads and wads of legalese, most of which is not enforceable anyway.

Cheers,
K

PS. Some nice reading before you're deciding on a EULA:
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-03/oracle-can-t-stop-software-l...
and the case
http://curia.europa.eu/juris/liste.jsf?language=en&num=C-128/11

hrant's picture

An email is most certainly a binding contract.

What proportion of font houses allow modification today?
And if that proportion has changed in recent years, why?

Lastly, if you believe in allowing modification, it doesn't make sense that you don't mind seeing [so many] other font houses disallow it. All this isn't merely about personal whim - we all live together.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Font licensing is complicated.

As someone who would like to spend more time designing typefaces and less on the business side of things, I find it really annoying and frustrating that licensing continues to become more and more sophisticated, what with the continued evolution and proliferation of font-using devices, and the market dynamics of the font industry, particularly as impacted by foundries and distributors not owned by type designers, marching to a different drum.

However, I recognize that this is not merely a necessary evil to my work as a creative, but something in my interests, which keeps the font market vibrant, and is ultimately an opportunity.

What goes for me, as a font producer, also holds for font users. We are all creatives struggling to make a living in a business world dominated by corporations whose best interest is to minimize the value of our work.

I would say to those creatives who find dealing with the complexities of font licensing an onerous chore, too bad, that’s just the way things are. I’m not unsymapthetic, I share your pain!

As a working creative, part of your job is purchasing services and supplies, and being well informed on such matters enables you to produce better work by optimizing your available budget. Shop around.

PabloImpallari's picture

BTW,
You will be surprised to know how many companies ask for Commercial Licenses of Libre fonts. I get 2 or 3 of those emails every day....

This is my standard reply:

Hi XXXX,
Thanks for asking.

All my fonts so far, are "Libre" fonts, released under the SIL Open Font License.
You can use them for free for both personal and commercial projects alike.
You can share the fonts, you can modify the fonts, you can do pretty much anything you want.
No restrictions! And there is no need to buy a commercial license.

If you want to show your support, you can make a small donation at www.impallari.com. But it's not a requirement, just a little good karma :)

Cheers,
Pablo

Even so, some of them insist on buying a license.. In that cases, I sell them a commercial version using a Standard EULA.

hrant's picture

I for one am not surprised. Many people make free fonts to make money later. In fact many of the free fonts at places like Dafont require payment for commercial use. Even the plagiarized ones. :-/

BTW the SIL license does not allow "anything you want". For example reselling is not allowed.

hhp

PabloImpallari's picture

The people who ask does not want to resell the fonts... they just want to be able to use it without any headache.

ralf h.'s picture

Well said, Nick! :-)

An email is most certainly a binding contract.

I am not going to start another long side discussion about this. But no, an informal email discussion concerning an EULA will not automatically become part of a later font license bought on a foundry’s webshop, let alone when bought somewhere else like on MyFonts.

Lastly, if you believe in allowing modification, it doesn't make sense that you don't mind seeing [so many] other font houses disallow it.

It makes perfect sense. And I have explained it many times now. It was our business decision to allow it, but I, as a font user, respect every foundry who does not allow it – as I respect Monokram’s no-letter-products-clause. It's their business decision and if I really can't live with it, I simply don't purchase their products. But since a no-modification-clause and and a no-letter-product-clause doesn't affect 99.99% of regular font use it's tiresome that you fixate on that 0.01% use and judge the whole EULA and foundry by it. A standard EULA is made for standard use. What's so hard to get about that? If you have different requirements, then negotiate an alternative EULA. But don't expect that all foundries in the world share your personal requirements.
And those are your personal requirements, because both from my experience as a graphic designer, as well as from my experience of running a foundry, I have never met a significant amount of font users who would need to change every font they use.

hrant's picture

Pablo, based on your email (always a binding statement, at least in the US, and probably Europe as well*) they can have a case for reselling it. Be careful.

* BTW in some countries if you text your wife "I want a divorce." on three consecutive days, it's a done deal.

Ralf, if you say something in an email, you are responsible for it. Period. If it conflicts with the EULA in being more permissive, guess which version the client will choose to honor. It sounds like you should spend more time with lawyers - luckily you don't seem to mind their smell.

What's so hard to get about that?

It treats people, hence society, in an inhuman fashion.

hhp

ralf h.'s picture

It treats people, hence society, in an inhuman fashion.

A standard contract that regulates standard use and excludes non-standard use threats the whole society in an inhuman way. Wow!
So much for serious discussions. Time to get out of here. Luckily there TypeDrawers! ;-)

hrant's picture

I on the other hand do not equate sincerity or disagreement with frivolity.

And the more somebody agrees with me, the less I learn from him.

hhp

xy's picture

It treats people, hence society, in an inhuman fashion.

I can see it, just there… no… on your left… yes there… can you see it?

I think it's…

godwin's law…

coming right at us!

I refuz modificazion, yez, thiz iz my ztrong believ, you vill not touch my outlinez you dirty bezier amateur, heil!

Oh Zeus! … it's getting better and better. Thank you hrant.

(oh and don't bother about my lack of trying to make a constructive discussion here… i've spent enough time on forums to know how pointless it is. better just have fun, getting lectured about how inhumane we are for not letting some designers modify our fonts, and learning that we are just intimidating assholes… "you talking to me?!" …
who's making blank statements and cold assessments about people based on his own narrowminded and dogmatic views on things…)

oldnick's picture

Like Pablo, I also get a lot of inquiries about buying commercial licenses for my freeware fonts, and my answer is quite similar: free is free, but not free to resell…

hrant's picture

Just to be crystal: I don't believe that everybody that has a no-mod clause is being unethical or unduly intimidating. It could be as innocent as being merely confused. :-)

BTW, I don't think it's kosher to cite Godwin's Law when you're the one triggering it...

hhp

Chris Dean's picture

[to follow]

xy's picture

I barely just pushed the discussion one the other side of the fence.
You implying that no-mod clauses are an inhumane way to treat people, you were almost there.
Anyway…

EULAs as a whole are intimidation tactics. Even monokrom's foundry. In the end it is always about saying "these are the rules that we set. You are free not to respect them but we might sue you".

Is it good intimidation or bad intimidation?
In an ideal world, EULAs would be unnecessary.
But we live in the real worls. Type foundries also. And we are in 2013…
Most foundries are now 1-2-3 men operations, dealing with one to hundred of thousands of men operations.
So while it's good to state complaints, that kind of perspective should not be lost in sight.
The "huge foundries corporations vs small designers", that's really the minority now.

It is not eulas and some or their clauses, or foundries, that are inhumane. It's the world we live in.
That snowballs into everything, and also into excessive mesures of legalese that foundries might take.
When you are a small foundry and you work hard for years to make good type, and to promote your work…
it is quite normal to make sure that nobody will take advantage of you or your work through a weak eula.
Especially corporations much bigger than you. So I prefere to put a no-mod clause in my eula. And then allow mod on an individual basis. I am open to dialogue too. I think it's actually interesting also to know what designers are doing with my font. If they want to modify it for something, I might very often allow it but i'd prefere to know in which context and what's the plan. I might also learn something from it, and I might avoid the designer creating problems with the font. But I want the option to say no.
And especially to big companies, who might just use the barely paid intern to make a mod of our fonts for free, which they will for sure bill to the client.

oldnick's picture

Peter,

In an ideal world, you would need only one rule—the Golden Rule—or Hillel the Elder’s version of the same: that which you find hateful, do not unto any man. Unfortunately, human beings—and especially human beings within the current Electro-Western Mega-Mindless culture—tend to consider themselves exceptional, and hence make exceptions to these very simple rules all the time, and all in “good” conscience…

hrant's picture

Peter, we're completely not on the same page. Maybe not even the same planet.

hhp

oldnick's picture

Hey, Bub—

In case you hadn’t noticed, very few people inhabit Planet Hrant…which is not necessarily a bad thing…

hrant's picture

We are all islands... in an archipelago.

hhp

phrostbyte64's picture

hrant: I agree up to a point. Personally, I wouldn't care if the user modifies my fonts. Languages being a very complex issue, my knowledge of the subject is limited. I would refuse to warranty the work. I would also refuse to fix it or the price I would be forced to charge would be prohibitive. Another concern is that when users modify fonts, for some unknown reason they seem to think that it is now their font. I saw an example of this a couple of years ago on another forum. Lastly, if my font is sent out to a professional to modify ( a clear EULA violation) he will be paid a lot more to modify the font than I was paid for the font. I know of at least one person who does this. So, all in all I would have to say, no I don't think I want to allow it.

In the end, why should you care. If you don't like it don't buy it.

hrant's picture

Also: the original designer should get a copy of any modified version (although I've never seen a EULA like that).

a clear EULA violation

Unless you allow it if the third party also has a license, as Adobe does.

And why should somebody care? Because what goes around comes around. Because caring is good for us.

hhp

Thomas Phinney's picture

“Lastly, if you believe in allowing modification, it doesn't make sense that you don't mind seeing [so many] other font houses disallow it.”

Nonsense.

I believe in the type designer having the right to put whatever restrictions they like in their EULA, whether or not they are reasonable. End users shouldn’t license fonts that have EULAs that are incompatible with their needs.

Yes, my own EULA allows modifications. I am utterly fine with other type designers not allowing modifications, however. It is not only within their rights, it is not even terribly unreasonable; modified and converted fonts are frequently the source of support problems, and designers may (quite understandably) have strong feelings about preserving their work without modifications.

hrant's picture

Although I don't agree with the bulk of your stance, I do have to admit what I said was too dogmatic. It is actually possible to not have a no-mod clause but still accept that somebody else would have one; however to me that makes sense only if one goes to the trouble of understanding the other person's situation, not because I think it's purely an individual decision (because nothing really is).

For example, I'm OK with MS having a no-mod clause in their fonts (even though I might still elect to violate that clause in certain cases) because they don't make money from fonts, so the bad PR from "bad support" of modified fonts isn't worth it (MS can't really go around suing people for EULA violations or charging them to clean up font messes). This is not the same as thinking "they can do anything they want".

hhp

sondre m's picture

I'm wondering, (again open question to foundries/type designers); some of the more extreme points of the EULA, is it meant like "We expect you to follow this!" or "We write this as a back up in case you screw us over and there is a lawsuit"? The reason I ask is that I just came across a EULA from a foundry I really like that don't allow the font to be shown on online images if the elements of the font is higher than 500px. I kind of understand the point behind it, and what kind of use they protect themselves from by including this. On the other hand, I don't want to buy a font where I have to constantly check if I'm allowed to use it in a big headline on a website. Anyone has an opinion on this?

hrant's picture

That's sort of related to the "scare tactics" I mentioned: putting things you expect people to not take seriously, but you might choose to get them in trouble for. I might be too much of an idealist, but I believe in saying things you mean, and meaning things you say.

BTW, is it H&FJ?

hhp

sondre m's picture

No. I figured I didn't want to call them out there, but its Danish type foundry Playtype

https://www.playtype.com/about/typefaces/eula

When using fonts on the web or other forms of digital publication in a way where they are not embedded, but used as images. In image files such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and BMP-files, the font forms part of an image and where it is not possible to ‘grab’ or extract the font sofware in any way as is the case with an embedded font. Therefore, such image formats are allowed as long as the image files do not feature more than 50% of the character set in the font software and as long as image files feature fixed images, do not feature outlines of the font(s), do not permit alteration by third party, and do not contain elements from the font software that are larger than 500 pixels in height.

Might be well-meaning so people won't print the alphabet and glyphs, black on white in very high-res so it's easy to auto-trace? On the other hand, if I were to rip off fonts I'd head to The Pirate Bay. If time is money, then ripping off a font from a jpg is a loose-loose situation.

hrant's picture

Indeed. A lot of such clauses are delusional.

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
– Princess Leia Organa

hhp

jfp's picture

Not sure if I would like to live in a world where only one country exist following only one law system […] with only one typeface distributor, one EULA, and probably one unique typeface family.

Life is more beautiful because of his diversity.
If you don't like diversity, complain to your parents who don't opened your eyes.

oldnick's picture

Well, Jean, we seem to be headed for the “only one typeface distributor” model, and it appears that most of the posters here are content (?) with that possibility…

hrant's picture

JFP: Agreed.

Nick, there's a lot of room between Content and Dejected. :-/

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Nick, I have so many distributors it’s hard to keep track of them.

oldnick's picture

Nick, I have many distributors too, and they’re all struggling in the face of the Gorilla swallowing up apps, distribution channels and sheer web presence…

sondre m's picture

Well written, user-friendly presented EULA. http://commercialtype.com/user_license

xy's picture

…wondering why this board doesn't have links for the next pages on top… real pain…

HVB's picture

Agreed!

hrant's picture

Somebody had mentioned reselling digital goods.
This just in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22000668

hhp

hrant's picture

Has this
http://www.daltonmaag.com/news/64.html
been up for a while?

hhp

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