Pirates Query

Rob O. Font's picture

Anybody know who this is?

[Link removed by moderator.]

Grot Esqué's picture

Well, he’s dead now.

Miss Tiffany's picture

David, it is a no-no to post links to sites like that. :^o

aluminum's picture

Shouldn't we just delete the whole thread? Popping into these threads only to see that the issue we're discussing has been removed seems silly.

Miss Tiffany's picture

But you posted. ;^)

hrant's picture

> Shouldn’t we just delete the whole thread?

No, if you let the thread itself stay it serves nicely as notice.

hhp

Rob O. Font's picture

Hornets.
Delete thread if could.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Don't worry about it, David.

Hrant is right in that this is a good way to let others know where we, Typophile, stand on posting links to pirated font sites.

Eric_West's picture

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Rodrigue Planck's picture

Do you remove Links To AGFA, MONOTYPE, BERTHOLD (Who with the font Standard have done a first I know of, Pirate their own font!), BITSTREAM, LINOTYPE, among others? FRYS CASLON? Oh, I almost forgot that little known California Company too, ADOBE? They have all donned the eye cap numerous times. You refuse to call all of the sin, sin. This revisionism is what creates ignorance. Was the link to a possible low-life? I cannot say… but now I can't make up my mind.

It seems to me the issue is pretty simple, Typophile exists because there is a need for a very high end of user. There exists on this plane very much excellent work and thought. But the elephant in the room is piracy at all levels of this industry and when it starts to get fairly acknowledged it can then be dealt with. If we asses blame to Softmaker or Brendel or SSI, then where is the outrage at Bitstream? Bitstreams core fonts are highly derrivative and they charged alot of money, not $59.99.
Do you all stand behind Bitsreams EULA? Is it original work? I realize I am treading on thin ice because Mr. Matthew Carter is among the best, but is what Bistream do right, or any less bad than PRIMAFONT? Is Cronos any worse than Palazzo original(well yes, but that may be just me!)?

I guess what I am saying is, where is the guidline here? Do you profess to hate all piracy? If so then typophile has built a bad foundation and the house will suffer because of it.

The Truth shall set you free

hrant's picture

Humans work with thresholds, personal and inconstant.

hhp

Rodrigue Planck's picture

But hopefully not systematic.

The Truth shall set you free

Thomas Phinney's picture

Actually, freedom sets people free. The truth is nice, too, but it is not sufficiently well represented in your rants.

T

KenBessie's picture

I protest the way this is being handled. Education is infinitely better than censorship.

Rob O. Font's picture

The other thing I'd like to say about this before hoisting my low resolution fraction bar and lancing this boil is: this is not The Waitress. These particular Pie Rats are outside of the realm of US IP laws. As such, I am outside of their law, but before I acquire their fonts, QA them for the localizations they've done and...somethin' else, I'd like to know if anyone knows who they are? In the past, pressure from other locals has worked, but first, and with all due respect to the founders and shakers of this forum, we must talk.

Rodrigue Planck's picture

Thomas, please use proof to show I am wrong and am ranting, not making fun of my signature line, which is pretty weak. I think you misread passion for ranting here.

The history of typography is colorful and full of piracy, that is the truth. Innovation has been much of the hallmark of piracy (Compugraphic, Bitstream, URW and Adobe come to mind) and yeah there are scumbags along the way, but the innovation hopefully will shine through. But what if Brendel some how had stumbled into either great innovation or art? Would they be discounted by Typophile? And what if any of the Big name founderies starts a dismal fall, will they be proped up by Typophile, and for how long?

If you live in a nice little bubble and try to hide from the FACT that every player in the font business, regardless of position, has pirated and say "No piracy here" what are you really doing? Oh make the bad boys go away. It is true that there are street theives and museum theives and they may be a different class, but their act is the same. I don't think Softmaker would have the audacity to call any pirates "Originals" either.

At one time I had ~1200 fonts for Linotronic 202(including the phantom "SuperFonts"), 2300 fonts for L-300, the original Adobe type library, and 1000+ fonts for Filmotype, previous to that my family used VIPs, Diatronic and Hot Metal Linotype machines. Yeah that is quite a lot of fonts, time and money invested into the industry. I tell you this backround because I have some very intimate knowledge of fonts, the font business and typography, which I love.

The Truth shall set you free

William Berkson's picture

Rodrique, I think you are oversimplifying the history and the current situation to a point where misrepresents what is at issue.

If Bitream did their own Baskerville and Caslon and Bodoni and these closely resembled earlier versions, including Monotype and Linotype, was is piracy or not? This is a debatable issue. Part of debate is that the originator was by then long dead, and that the Mono and Lino versions were themselves revivals. Of course when we go to Gill Sans, the question becomes a bit more difficult. When it comes to Palatino--Book Antiqua, that seems to me to go over the line.

The case here I believe includes digital fonts that are also being marketed with royalties to originator of the font. And someone has just copied the digital file and is selling it cut-rate or giving it away with no royalties to the originator. To me there is no debate here, it is just theft. My opinion, but also the court's opinion in many countries. Not being a lawyer, I don't know how many.

Rodrigue Planck's picture

William, Bitstream used Linotype Fonts as the basis for their own library, some say much better than Linotype.

Case and point Basic Commercial is Azkindenz Grotesk, shouldn't Linotype be taken to task by us? Palazzo Original is the digitized version of Palatino (Stempel), which is the only way we can get it, alas, from Softmaker. So in this case, who is worse?
Also, by your standard, Adobe is ripping off the designer or Today Sans with Coronos (An Adobe original?), right?
I think that URW Nimbus Sans was credited to Max Miedinger instead of ripping off helvetica straight out, which to me is more fair.

The Truth shall set you free

Palatine's picture

What are we saying here? That Myriad is a forgery of Frutiger? Or, at some point, are designers simply faced with nowhere to turn for "innovation" unless they turn letters into something bizarre and unrecognizable?

After a time, one simply cannot stray from creating a face that is in some way, derivative. Yes, Dederon Serif looks quite a bit like Dolly, and certainly, some of the versions of Baskerville out there look nearly identical, but then, what else whould they have looked like to begin with?

Try something. Draw the letter "B." But make it legible, somehting fit for reading at smaller point sizes, ideal for long tracts of text. Nothing too fancy, but don't make it too plain, either. Chances are, you've just created a forgery.

bieler's picture

I was surprised not by Typophiles stance on font theft but I was quite surprised by their deletion of the offending link. I think we got off on the wrong track here because of the word pirates. Piracy is different than font theft. I assume David's use of the word Pirates was in reference to the infamous BitTorrent site. BitTorrent "sharing" technology and the ethics of that is not some dirty family secret that needs to be swept under the rug but rather openly discussed.

Rodrigue, slogans are just a lazy way of thought and are manipulative. Arbeit macht frei, for instance.

Gerald

paul d hunt's picture

I was quite surprised by their deletion of the offending link.

You should not be surprised, on the Read Me page, it states: Typophile moderators reserve the right to edit or remove any posts or links that they deem inappropriate.
As moderators, we all agree that links to sites where commercial fonts are available to be downloaded for free, fall under the category of "inappropriate" and will always be removed when found on typophile.

hrant's picture

Like Paul Cutler just wrote elsewhere: "Intent is everything."

hhp

Rodrigue Planck's picture

Gerald, you are too kind to me, really! Did I say slogan or signature? How do I know what link? That got pulled.
My general disgust is that here on a forum of the top "Typophiles", that piracy is rampant and has been for so long and systematic. There are a set of companies who get beat up and others who are lauded as "Untouchable." The worst part is that to bring up the idea that the "Top Guns" are covered in slime then get such a chilling response from these forums speaks volumes of why fonts are regarded (and in many cases rightly so) as a mere commodity.
If Adobe, Linotype and other big font companies steal, where should the rest of the industry go? So then when designers do not get paid for fonts, don't they already know who they are dealing with?

The Truth shall set you free

Thomas Phinney's picture

I'm not going to bother debating with you. You can believe what you like - it's mostly for the benefit of others reading that I'm taking a stand on this.

I've known Robert Slimbach for almost ten years, and he's been my mentor in typeface design for the last several years. This may give me a bias, but it also means that I know whereof I speak. I do not believe that Robert has imitated or would ever deliberately imitate any existing typeface without full credit. When he does a revival he is very clear about it.

In my 9.5 years at Adobe, the company has taken the high road with regards to not doing derivative typeface designs, even when there have been very strong business incentives to do otherwise. When somebody has suggested doing something of dubious ethicality in this area, standing up and objecting has always drawn the endorsement of upper management.

The last time I had a serious ethical concern about a strategic issue related to type at Adobe, I let the appropriate people know, even though the thought occurred to me that placing ethics over business might be a "career-limiting move," as they say.

So what happened? My concerns were forwarded to president and COO Shantanu Narayen, and he reportedly said "gee, the guy's got a point, go re-examine that issue" (or words to that effect). A couple of weeks later a senior VP dropped by my office to chat about the problem, essentially to reassure me that the issue would be dealt with and not ignored as I had feared. At the end of the conversation he basically asked me, by the way, would I be interested in a promotion?

So it wasn't a career-limiting move, after all. Mostly I felt embarrassed that I had seriously underestimated the ethics of the upper management of the company.

Regards,

T

Rodrigue Planck's picture

Thomas Phinneys response is exactly what I meant by chilling response to bringing up piracy. You may not like my point of view, but can you substantively tell me that any of the fonts I have mentioned here were not taken?
A central issue here is that the big guys only have to screw up once and it is tough. I am not saying in any fashion that All of any font library is a rip-off, but not even concedeing that hmmmm some fonts might not be kosher is not right.

The Truth shall set you free

Si_Daniels's picture

Two quick points -

1. Revivals - http://www.emigre.com/Editorial.php?sect=2&id=1
John Downer - doesn't he say it all?

2. The Internet - http://www
Doesn't the Web mean that it would be impossible for a new outfit to build a library using the 'traditional method' without a grass-roots opposition from typographers and graphic designers, that would render the whole endeavor a waste of time?

Everyone that's been in this business more than ten years has a skeleton or three in the closet, but in general there’s peaceful co-existence, and most people can collaborate on projects despite these things in their past.

bieler's picture

Rodrigue

I suspect that the imitation of typefaces was the nature of typeface development right from the get go, the mid-15th century. Exact replication became far more feasible with the development of pantograph machine (used in wood type) and then the camera and photographic film but during the metal years that followed it was more often still a case of modification rather wholesale copying. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or something like that. The exact slogan eludes me.

It really was the photofilm/analog computer years that the piracy that you are discussing became rampant. And then on to the digital years where the effort spent in copying is nearly nil and has led us to this very significant problem.

Still I would suggest that even though the established commercial type manufacturers may have different names of otherwise identical or near identical typefaces, they may very well have licensed the right to do that. They really can't afford the legal costs that could result if they do not do so. Though I'm sure examples can be brought up that would prove specifically otherwise in certain instances. I know that Adobe spent (pre-2000, I've not had any business contact with them since) an inordinate amount of time just checking to verify that no one had ever even used the name of the typeface before; I kind of doubt that they would in any way risk just copying a competitor's design.

Gerald

hrant's picture

The Emigre article is good, but not good enough.

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

I didn't remove the link to keep you, David, from find out who the pirates are, so much as removing it to keep others from downloading the fonts. I wish we did have a formal way to protect and serve, but the most I can do is remove the link.

Apololgies, but I don't have time to justify an answer to the other questions.

crossgrove's picture

Rodrigue,

I am telling you now that you are wrong about Adobe, substantively.

You are parroting some bile that someone else spewed re: Cronos being derivative of Today. Don't believe everything you see on the internet. That writer, and you, are ignoring a pretty big elephant. I challenge you to get both typefaces, print them out, and compare them. Even better, I suggest you overlay them in Illustrator, or FontLab. You should finally notice that they are not similar in construction, finish, proportion, spacing, or any other detail. They have in common that they are humanist sans designs. That is all. In that sense, either one of them could be said to be "suspiciously similar" to Gill, Syntax, Agenda, Bliss, Kievit..... the list goes on. It's a category of typeface, there's no piracy, there's not even a derivation. One has only to look clearly to see this. As others have pointed out, the very idea that Robert Slimbach would even be bothered to rip off another design is insane. He has far too much skill and talent for that. This campaign was devised as a retaliation and is not well-motivated. Let it go. pursuing that topic weakens your argument.

Your complaint about Adobe seems founded on this alone. From what I know of Adobe (and I've worked in the type department there), their library is one of the most legal, legitimate, and completely licensed ones in the world. You're way off base.

Your point is well taken; there has been piracy in the font business since it was a business. We all know that. I think Tiffany and Paul made it abundantly clear that Typophile has always had a policy of not providing URLs to sites that seem illegitimate or suspicious. If they misjudge a site, then surely it will not stay hidden, and there's no harm done. Typophile's policies aren't powerful enough to globally condone or hinder piracy, or the discussion of it. It doesn't censor the owner of the site, it doesn't restrict anyone from voicing their opinion, and it doesn't prevent you from finding out about questionable sites if you wish.

You have made an uninformed generalization. Yes, piracy is rampant. No, every single type company is not wallowing in pure pirate gold. Look deeper.

Thomas Phinney's picture

"Thomas Phinneys response is exactly what I meant by chilling response to bringing up piracy."

If you're going to use inappropriate loaded rhetoric, can you at least use it properly? That's "chilling effect," not "chilling response." Please explain how you have been harmed by my statements. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilling_effect

"You may not like my point of view, but can you substantively tell me that any of the fonts I have mentioned here were not taken?"

I have no idea what "substantively tell me" even means. And of course it's nigh-impossible to prove a negative. But if you're going to make the accusations of wrongdoing, the burden of proof is on you.

(Edit/note: I have only written about Cronos and other designs by Robert Slimbach, and on the side about Adobe type in general. Like Carl, I do not dispute that there has been a lot of piracy in the type industry.)

Thomas Phinney's picture

Pfeh. Allowed myself to be dragged into the debate. Note to self: must continue to ignore trolls. Not worth the time and effort, just makes people think their silliness is worth taking seriously.

T

Rob O. Font's picture

"remove Links To AGFA, MONOTYPE, BERTHOLD, BITSTREAM, LINOTYPE, among others?

Oh Geeze, a typophile has broken out. The above listed companies know better than to put trademarked and copyrighted software on their sites. The unmentionables have graciously asked for a list of the infringements. I only asked this list to see if it was likely that they might respond favorably to a compadre, or if they needed a lawyer. That is usually the first step for anyone who believes that hiring a lawyer means you've already lost. If this basic research cannot be done here, it can be elsewhere, no big deal. And thanks for all.

Cheers!

Rodrigue Planck's picture

I am willing to accept looking at both fonts (Today Sans and Cronos) in FontStudio and if my assesment is off I will gladly say so. I think to I will look at Book Antiqua and Palatino (Adobe) as well, among others.
Actually, I think it could at least make a darned good article.
Thomas, I don't take your personal put downs to heart, but you may want to stop looking in the mirror. Perhaps you should take yourself a little less serious.

Rodi
The Truth shall set you free

Palatine's picture

Rodrigue:

You made your point several posts ago. Now you're getting personal. There is a galaxy of difference between bringing to light a legitimate issue, and taking shots at Mr. Phinney. I think crossgrove had the last word on this issue, anyway. Besides, the moral aspect of typeface forgery, and forgery in a historical context for that matter, is in fact quite blurry. Throw in the *fact* that those you accuse today have all the legal dispensation they need to continue operating as they have, and you'll quickly find that at the very least, your line of argument is more difficult to pursue than you had thought.

When I'm among friends, I drop the argument when I see it becoming personal. Tact is everything. Exercising it in this case means that the comfort and friendship of otherwise good people is more important to you than a line of argument.

Rodrigue Planck's picture

Palantine,
He called me a troll, and I responded much more friendly than his barb.
The Truth shall set you free

hrant's picture

Thomas, I think you're being a little bit too defensive.

Carl: talent and skill are great, but no substitute for a possible lack of original thought (and the possibly resultant inferiority complex, which could trigger unethical action). Warnock, however, is a valid counter-argument.

> If this basic research cannot be done here, it can be elsewhere

Typophile once proposed a "trusted member" scheme/subforum - if that ever comes about it would be THE place for this sort of thing.

hhp

crossgrove's picture

"possible lack of original thought (and the possibly resultant inferiority complex, which could trigger unethical action)"

This is still ignoring the elephant though. And paranoid.

hrant's picture

The elephant: I've done the comparison; matching control points is one thing, not giving credit to a notable source of inspiration is another (and different people will find one or the other more offensive). But anyway I wasn't alluding to one typeface but an œuvre*; and "paranoid" can't be the right word here - for one thing, I'm personally much more concerned with progressive cultural contribution than I am with minor plagiarism (of which virtually nobody is innocent).

* It remains, for example, that to me the best face in the entire Adobe Originals collection -and probably the entire Adobe library- is Jamra's Kinesis-MM.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

>Jamra’s Kinesis

...which as we learned from Jamra at TypeCon is one of the most chirographically-inspired recent fonts. So you, Hrant, will no doubt instantly renounce one of your long held pet hates... :)

hrant's picture

I also love Ex Ponto - so much so that I bought it.
And I also love lard, but I don't pretend it's a good staple food.

If you think I hate chirography, you're reading me incorrectly.

hhp

bieler's picture

Hrant

Wouldn't have thought you had an interest in Ex Ponto. Back in the PostScript Type 1 days Bieler Press was an occasional beta site for Adobe and I did some of the beta testing (not much) on Ex Ponto and the really cool thing was that when it was all said and done Jovica Veljovic sent me the specimen book and very graciously (and I might add beautifully) signed it over as a nice personal touch.

Alas, those days are long gone. No more print specimen books, no more MM, no more of the personal touch.

Gerald

Si_Daniels's picture

>Alas, those days are long gone.

Are you seriously talking about Adobe!? Or someone else?

>No more print specimen books,

Garamond Premier Pro book

>no more MM,

Alive and well in font production tools

>no more of the personal touch.

Ever heard of Tom Phinney?

bieler's picture

Nice well put together response.

Well. . .

Seriously.

Is there an actual printed specimen book available or just a PDF?

MM doesn't do the end user any good as a component of FontLab.

Does Tom send nice hand written notes to folks like Carol Trombley does?

Gerald

Si_Daniels's picture

>Is there an actual printed specimen book available or just a PDF?

My understanding is that the book is only available in print due to some permissions issue with images used in the book.

>MM doesn’t do the end user any good as a component of FontLab.

Well, it helps type designers make extended families, something graphic designers want. That's good for end users, of type and of the products produced with type.

>Does Tom send nice hand written notes to folks like Carol Trombley does?

Al Gore recently invented the Internet - rendering hand written notes largely obsolete. My guess is that Tom sends seventy to one hundred times more hand-typed emails than Carol sent hand written notes.

John Hudson's picture

I am willing to accept looking at both fonts (Today Sans and Cronos) in FontStudio and if my assesment is off I will gladly say so. I think to I will look at Book Antiqua and Palatino (Adobe) as well, among others.

I have looked at Today Sans and Cronos side-by-side and overlaid and what they have in common is a similarity of weight and proportion, such that when you print a page of text at, say, 10pt in Today Sans and the same page of text in Cronos at the same size, the overall appearence of the two pages is very similar. But if you compare individual letterforms, and especially compare the fonts at larger sizes, what is most apparent are the many differences. Apart from anything else, the gentle detailing of Cronos is such that I've always considered it primarily a display face, while Today Sans is better suited to smaller sizes because it is not so soft. As I understand it, Adobe listed Today Sans as 'prior art' in their design patent application, i.e. as an acknowledged design in a similar style along with, I presume, other humanist sans such as Gill Sans (to which Today Sans bears a stronger resemblance than Cronos). My conclusion was that Cronos had very similar proportions to Today Sans and clearly belonged to the same idiom, but was not a clone or a pirated copy. It belongs to the class of types -- and there are many -- that have been developed to competetively exploit a market that has already been identified or established by another company. I think Myriad is another such example. This isn't limited to type design: it occurs in lots of different kinds of products from kitchenware to automobiles (products in which intellectual property protection is very much stronger than for type design, so in which the concept of what constitutes illegitimate copying and what constitutes legitimate competetive products is much more clearly defined -- one of the problems with the lack of good IP protection in type is that private opinion and interpretation runs rampant, with no legal and ethical standard against which to be measured). I think there often is an 'unpleasant taste' in the development of some competetive products, which, even if not illegal or strictly unethical, offend our sense of the respect that is due to the product that first establishes the market. So, for example, I am less impressed by the various automobiles clearly influenced by the design of the Audi TT than I am by the Audi TT itself, even though none of them are copies per se and some of them are interesting cars in their own right. For those who know and care about such things, the obvious thing to do is to vote with one's chequebook or credit card and purchase the product that you respect more.

Regarding Book Antiqua, this is a clone of Palatino, and no one claims otherwise. Adobe's Palatino is licensed from Linotype, perfectly legitimately.

What Bitstream did was a Very Very Bad Thing that continues to be a bone of contention in the type community, even though Bitstream and Linotype signed a deal in 2003 that ostensibly legitimises the Bitstream clones of Linotype fonts.

The truth will indeed set you free, but first you have to seek it, for the sake of truth and freedom, not as a stick to beat other people with.

hrant's picture

> the book is only available in print

I got a copy of the new Garamond with my InDesign.
Am I entitled to the booklet?

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

>Am I entitled to the booklet?

No justice ;-) there were copies in the TypeCon goody bags.

Rob O. Font's picture

Huds:
"What Bitstream did was a Very Very Bad Thing..."

"The truth will indeed set you free, but first you have to seek it,"

aluminum's picture

"No, if you let the thread itself stay it serves nicely as notice."

A notice of what?

Well, whatever, clearly these threads become the longest even though we're not talking about anything. So, carry on! ;o)

Don McCahill's picture

Proof that Adobe is a pirate.

They use exactly the same 26 letters that Ottmar put onto the Linotype over 100 years ago. Why, that must be copying.

:)

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