Web server licence

Nick Shinn's picture

A client wants to make a website and use one of my fonts.

He wants that his clients can make changes in certain documents on his website in the right fonts and print out the document they've corrected in the right fonts.

The client himself will put the fonts on one webserver. Further, his clients won't be able to use the fonts, other than to print out the document.

This situation falls into a grey area.
Presently, my EULA does not allow editing and printing of documents from an unlicensed remote location, the idea being that this constitutes typesetting, and that as such it requires a font installed at that location, and a licence for that.
However, it's arguably not really typesetting, as the document (de facto, a form) is already formatted.
So I am inclined to believe that this situation should be permissable, although it will require a separate licence, or an amendment to my basic EULA.

What do you think -- is it a good idea to allow this kind of use, and if so, should there be a special fee for it?
If so, it would be a one time fee, rather than a per end end user fee (too much bureaucracy there). For how much?

cuttlefish's picture

It sounds like this should be analogous to, but not identical to, granting font embedding permissions, as one might use in a PDF document with editable form fields.

I'm not familiar with the legal intricacies to say much more than that, though.

Shu's picture

This is actually something I have been in discussion with one of my clients. I can't go into specifics right now, since nothing is for certain. It is slightly different because it is granting a much larger online use of fonts for printing purposes.

It will be (if I get my way) an online design service that has a good selection of real fonts from reputable foundries. Any user can use the fonts and then print to the service. From the foundries I have been in discussion with there will definitely need to be a special license for such use. It is much more broad then what you are talking about Nick, but the premise is the same.

This is an especially pertinent topic due to the larger amount of online applications being developed. When Google and Microsoft start releasing online office apps, it may get real interesting. I think there is a lot of opportunity right now.


Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks for your comments.

Jason, good point about the editable PDF form. That actually creates a conflict in my present EULA, which allows embedding in PDFs, but disallows document editing without a font licence. So I will have to address that.

Shu. If micro-payments can be implemented on a pay-per-print (pay-per-document x font(s) fee) basis, what you describe should be feasible. Or even a pay-per-time-spent-using-the-font(s) online basis.

Miss Tiffany's picture

This is very interesting. It would, I assume, become a custom EULA for the specified client and have additional fees, right?

Nick, do share the outcome with all of us.

Si_Daniels's picture

I'd ask them if they have a limit on concurent users editing at any one time, if not ask them to estimate the maximum concurrent users, and then base your license fee on that number of "users".

Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks Si, that's excellent advice.
And congrats on the Grey Cup!

William Berkson's picture

Nick, I don't know if the following is at all applicable, but it might be relevant. Video game publishers were not making money in Asia because of rampant piracy. Then they figured out that they could give the game as a free download, but the players would have to pay on line a little bit to get the special key to open the door to the next level, the sword to slay the tiger, etc., etc. This strategy I heard is very successful. I don't know how it is set up.

Nick Shinn's picture

Interesting idea.
The problem with micropayment, from a business perspective, is that it entails collecting, reporting, and paying of royalties, which is a hassle and an expense.
Already I am negotiating this though a distributor, rather than directly.
Perhaps I should talk to the company.

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