Designer vs. Publisher responsiblity

track and kern's picture

I recently interviewed to become involved with a small publisher who has a series of about 200 hundred books. His position is somewhat interesting as the last time any of his books were prodcued, printing was mainly still film based. Now, he is in the position of needing to have the books transcribed into a text document, at which point he is hiring typesetters to flow and format them into a layout document. Since the majority of the books are in need of an updated look, and he has no real format (other than a standard size for all the books), he is open to suggestions and moderate redesigns.

My uncertainty here is based on whom needs to retain a license for the use of the typefaces that are featured in the book.

It would seem to me that the publisher would in fact need to purchase a license of whatever fonts I decide to use for his projects based on the fact that he is the one prodcuing them in their print based form. This would mean that I would simply keep an inventory of typefaces used, and add them to an itemized invoice, while also turning over the EULA and digital font files to him in the end.

Is this the correct way to conduct business for this type of project with respect to the intellectual property of fonts?

Eric_West's picture

He needs to buy them, and you don't keep copies. Are you working in-house or freelance?

track and kern's picture

Yeah, this is what I thought. I will already have my own personal copies of whatever faces I will be using, and I will just let him know that he will need to purchase his own license for publishing.

ps. it's an off-site freelance gig, so I will be working on this stuff from home.

Miss Tiffany's picture

While the idea of you licensing the typefaces and then transferring them upon completion is good, it has its problems. What if it is finished but then they just want one more change and it is large enough that they'd rather have you do it than their production staff?

I'd suggest you license the typefaces for yourself. Figure into the contract some information about them also having to license the typefaces and give them the information they need upon completion so that they can license them.

Another problem with license transferability is many foundries do not allow for this and so you are limiting your choices.

Eric_West's picture

What she said. She's the Eulamasta.

bieler's picture

Question? Are EULAs actually legally binding contracts, since no one, licensee or licenser actually signs them, or do they function with more the legal status of "prior notice," since they are forced on the "buyer" in point of sale? Also, how enforceable are they? Any examples?

Miss Tiffany's picture

This is a guess as I'm not a lawyer.

I believe lawyers look at the EULA as a legally binding contract.

I think the use of the word, "forced," is a little over-the-top, don't you? If the person licensing the software (fonts or otherwise) read the EULA and not agree to it, they can always choose not to license the software.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Are EULAs actually legally binding contracts,

That's an open question. You'll find differing opinions on the Web.

Cheers, Si

track and kern's picture

I would have to say (although i am not a lawyer either) that an EULA is a form of an "express contract" or one that may not be as formal as a written/signed contract, however, in the eyes of the law, it is assumed to be just as binding. I imagine this will vary from state to state, but from the information i learned from the pre-law class that I once took, a contract doesn't have to be singed physically to still be enforceable by law. It merely needs to exist, and be presented to the licensee at the time of purchase or before any final sale is made.

Si_Daniels's picture

I agree, also regardless of the enforceability of the EULA the client will react none too nicely when he gets a nastygram from a foundry's lawyers.

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