Use of bundled fonts in commercial design

fmiles's picture

Are there any restrictions in using typefaces bundled with software in commercial graphic design work?

I'm mostly building websites, so I'm either using the typefaces in graphics or in Flash objects. The font files aren't distributed in any way, of course.

How about books and print design? If you're on Windows, can you use e.g. Arial (duh) in a print project without getting a commercial license?

I've purchased all my fonts so far, but am just curious.

fontplayer's picture

Wouldn't there be a read-me or license file that accompanies bundled fonts? It probably addresses it.

pattyfab's picture

You can't use Arial in a print project because... well you can't. It's just wrong.

fmiles's picture

That's why the "duh".

Of course I wouldn't use Arial in print, I'd probably lose my job.

fmiles's picture

This is a lot bigger issue than you may think.

Web designers in every part of the world are at this very point using fonts that they've gotten bundled or preinstalled. They don't read EULAs because they don't probably even notice the licensing issue. This happens mostly because many web designers aren't that design-aware at all, and just mind about the technical issues.

I've seen Windows computers that have everything from Baskerville to Bodoni (E+F) preinstalled in them, and people use them freely without regret. Be it personal or commercial work.

And how about all those small companies that use all possible Arials and Verdanas (duh) in their ads and signage? How would they care about some fonts that came with the machine?

Da Kine's picture

fmiles-
In response to your comment:
"This happens mostly because many web designers aren’t that design-aware, and just mind about the technical issues."

As a web designer I should be highly insulted, however what you say is sadly true. Sigh...
DK~

fmiles's picture

Well I'm also a web designer, and very design-aware. If someone asks me what I do for living, I usually say graphic design.

Yes, I've also noticed the non-design movement on this field... But let's not hijack this thread just yet (it's about font licensing, you know).

Don McCahill's picture

Thomas P. can comment better than I, but I am pretty sure that there are no restrictions on using Adobe bundled fonts commercially. That is where the bulk of my non-purchased fonts came from.

Si_Daniels's picture

Historically most EULAs of products that bundle fonts don’t call out any font specific usage rights or restrictions – the fonts are covered by the same restrictions as the main application or operating system – the standard stuff prohibiting redistribution, modification, reverse engineering etc., often the apps own functionality and settings in the fonts contradict the product’s EULA (eg. font embedding and printer-download).

Also as its common sense that fonts are used to produce printed content this right has never really been identified. Interestingly Microsoft is changing this with font specific section in the Windows Vista EULA…

1 d. Font Components. While the software is running, you may use its fonts (including software, metrics and data) to display and print content. You may only:
• Embed fonts in content as permitted by the embedding restrictions in the fonts; and
• Temporarily download them to a printer or other output device to help print content.

Bobby Henderson's picture

I think the use of bundled fonts does pose an interesting question. However, I think most people don't worry about it if the service bureau is running the same applications. If I create a IllustratorCS2 document and set some type in Chaparral Pro the service bureau will have the same bundled fonts if they have capability of dealing with AI CS2 files.

fontplayer's picture

I just checked some bundled fonts (URW and Miles) that came with a program I bought at clearance somewhere, and there is no mention of of anything to do with use or restrictions in the font folder or the main read-me file. Of course I have to admit, no professional would ever buy this CD for the main application.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Thomas P. can comment better than I, but I am pretty sure that there are no restrictions on using Adobe bundled fonts commercially.

You can use Adobe's bundled fonts the same ways you can use Adobe fonts licensed separately. The only difference is in the minimum license (1 user versus 5 user).

Given the huge number of various licenses out there, I'm sure there's *somebody* whose license says you can't use the bundled fonts in work you get paid for. But I don't recall ever seeing such a license, myself.

Regards,

T

fmiles's picture

Thank you all, this was hugely helpful.

Grot Esqué's picture

About websites… As a designer you can never be sure what font gets ultimately used on the user’s computer. It’s like the browser, not the designer, uses a font to display a document. A designer could specify a font he/she doesn’t even have.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I should add that the fonts bundled with Acrobat Reader may be an exception to my original statement - IIRC Reader's license says you can only use the fonts with Reader.

T

fmiles's picture

About websites… As a designer you can never be sure what font gets ultimately used on the user’s computer. It’s like the browser, not the designer, uses a font to display a document. A designer could specify a font he/she doesn’t even have.

Yes, but I wasn't talking about this. I meant using a typeface in a graphic in a same way they use Proxima Nova on Joyent.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Fmiles. Very few EULAs have any restrictions which would limit your use of fonts in a graphical way, ergo, as image.

John Nolan's picture

And yet, Miss Tiffany, they do exist:

See H&F-J's Eula: "no character featured in Image Files may be greater than 500 pixels in height."

Miss Tiffany's picture

John, their EULA was the one which I was thinking of when I said "very few." ;^)

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