Licensing and Purchasing for Business Owner - Individual or Company?

drpfenderson's picture

Hello all!

After years of lurking, I came across a real-life licensing pothole and figured this was the best crowd to ask.

I am a designer and small-business owner that has 2 LLCs to my name. I have purchased single-machine licenses in the past for type that I would use for my design business - graphics that I would create and sell. Now that the second LLC has opened, I am looking at an interesting dilemma.

In regards to using the typefaces and purchasing further type for use in various aspects of the business: Should I continue purchasing the fonts in my name if I am the designer that creates all the graphics, and the fonts continue to reside and are only used on one machine? Or am I supposed to be purchasing these licenses in the name of the business since they are profiting (???) from the usage of the type?

As far as I understand, licensing tends to be by machine or individual, regardless of end-use. So if I'm the one creating the work, no matter who profits from the work in the end, as long as the typeface remains on only my machine then there is no infringement. And it would be nice if I didn't have to purchase a license for each business to use the same type, especially if I'm the one creating all of the designs.

Thanks in advance, and let me know if there is more information I can provide. Appreciate the advice.

ralf h.'s picture

As far as I understand, licensing tends to be by machine or individual, regardless of end-use.

Yes. The license is tied to the user of the actual font software, not for example the publisher of a printed book, that uses that design.
However, it gets more complicated, when the font software becomes part of the “end-use”, e.g. in an e-book.

drpfenderson's picture

Yes. The license is tied to the user of the actual font software, not for example the publisher of a printed book, that uses that design.

I assumed this was the case, but wanted reassurance from the more experienced. Thank you!

However, it gets more complicated, when the font software becomes part of the “end-use”, e.g. in an e-book.

That makes sense as the software in the ebook would be rendering the font at that point, rather than the typeface being pre-rendered.

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