Illegal usage, prosecting stories..

nic_mulvaney's picture

Does anyone have any stories of font abuse where someone has been prosecuted? For instance, a design house using a font and not buying the license etc.. Has anyone had experience with this?

I never really hear of anything like it in type, it sometimes seems like people can get away with it.. (or can they?)

I found this in the archives.

beejay's picture

The emigre story in the LA Times Magazine last year
quoted Rudy saying that they (emigre) had never lost a case.

Who knows exactly what kind of breadth he was describing
and what he meant exactly by case.

beejay's picture

On second thought, maybe that was late 2002.

hrant's picture

On the othe hand, during ATypI-Rome RvL told me that the Apostrophe case was a very rare instance (quite possibly the only instance) that Emigre has gone to court (although they were also involved in the SSI thing as well). And since the Apostrophe case ended with a whimper, it might very well be that Emigre has also never won a court case! On the other hand, they have used the threat of lawsuits to some effect. Although that has also turned off some otherwise benevolent font people. On the other hand, I think it's fair to say that Emigre (and others) have now grown out of that "obsessive" phase, and hopefully will now start producing more mature fonts as well.

Besides Apostrophe and SSI, I remember a big case with Linotype in Europe, but I don't know much about that one.


John Hudson's picture

I'm not aware of any cases of illicit font use that have gone to court. Generally speaking, if caught using an unlicensed font, a company will promptly pay the appropriate license fee, since this is very much cheaper than contesting the charge. Also, companies often cannot account for all the fonts on individual computers or networks, so they may not realise that the font they are using has not been correctly licensed. Companies, especially big ones with a large installation base, are beginning to realise that having unlicensed fonts exposes them legally. Recently, Agfa Monotype introduced a font licensing management tool that helps companies keep track of their font licenses. It presupposes that most companies want to do the right thing and just need help doing it.

gianotten's picture

Yes, Linotype did win in a number of cases. Some in the US, a few in the UK and far more in Germany. Recently the MediaMarkt case. In their press release archive at you can find a few.

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