New Letterhead Fonts antipiracy font lockdown scheme

zebrasystem's picture

Has anyone else dealt yet with the new LetterheadFonts.com method for installing/using fonts? I recently bought one of their new fonts since they converted their entire library over to OpenType in late December. And aside from the very nice font I must say I am quite dismayed. Here is what they've done:

1. You no longer receive an actual font file, at least not that you can see.

2. Instead what you download is an installer that installs an application called "Letterhead Fonts" (at least on Macintosh which is what I use).

3. The fonts are either embedded in this "Letterhead Fonts" application or somewhere else unknown/hidden from the user. No fonts are installed in the traditional Font folder locations.

4. Once installed, the "Letterhead Fonts" application activates the fonts permanently, at least as far as I can tell, like a font manager. You see them only in the font menus of your other applications, nowhere else. It also doesn't currently allow fonts to be seen or managed in font manager applications like Suitcase, Font Agent, etc., though LHF apparently plans to add this capability.

Aside from the obvious antipiracy objective, here are the biggest ramifications and problems I see for the user (myself, for one):

- You are completely prohibited from organizing the fonts like you want on your hard drive, such as for classification or other purposes. All your flexibility is taken away including any system or method that you might have had in place to manage fonts for your own needs.

- As mentioned, the LHF fonts can't be activated individually. It's an all or nothing proposition. (Unless/until they enable font managers to "see" the fonts perhaps, but maybe not even then, I haven't seen them say.)

- It means you can't add kerning pairs to a font, for example, or otherwise tweak the font yourself if problems are found or you have special needs.

- And of course, you can't really back up the fonts themselves. Your only recourse if something were to happen is a reinstall from the various installers you may have accumulated over time, or else go back to their site for the installers there. (They do make provision for downloading previous font orders you have made with their new shopping cart system.)

A real shame since this will probably make a lot of people think twice about buying additional fonts once they see how it works the first time. I know it has me, despite LHF's unique fonts. Lots of other good independent foundries around these days as alternatives. What do the rest of you think about where LHF has gone with this?

Nick Shinn's picture

off shore, eg to Switzerland

Technically correct, but geographically bizarre!

Nick Shinn's picture

David, how do you know whether someone using one of your fonts is a licensed user?
They might not have licensed it directly from you, but they may have have got it from a distributor who doesn't pass on the names of purchasers with sales reports.

Another scenario: an advertiser uses one of your fonts in an ad campaign. They haven't licensed it, but their agency has (or hasn't). It's not practical to keep tabs on which companies are using which agencies.

Uli's picture

> “European copyright law has recently changed, to allow artists “commission” on works when purchasers resell them.”

I wonder whether the writer is able to specify the would-be paragraph of the would-be "European copyright law", and I wonder whether he can specify what he means by "recently".

Two months ago, in the Scangraphic thread, I asked Miss Tiffany to delete my account. But she didn't. Today, by chance, I stumbled upon this Letterhead thread, which might be used as a supplement to my German documentation

"The mentally deranged graphics designer as font buyer"
(see http://www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/brendel.pdf)

In my documentation I came to the conclusion that graphic designers who buy "rights" ("licences") to fonts must be regarded as mentally deranged for various legal reasons, e.g. because they buy "rights", which do not exist at all.

Graphic designer who buy "rights" to these Letterhead fonts although these "rights" do not exist at all, and who buy "rights" to "Open Type" fonts, although they are "Closed Type" fonts which cannot be located in fonts folders, which cannot be embedded into PDF files, which cannot be backed up, which cannot be used with font managers, which cannot be etc. etc. etc., must be regarded as mentally deranged. Consult your psychiatrist, if you don't believe me.

Nick Shinn's picture

I wonder whether he can specify what he means by “recently”.

vor kurzem

blank's picture

In my documentation I came to the conclusion that graphic designers who buy “rights” (“licences”) to fonts must be regarded as mentally deranged for various legal reasons, e.g. because they buy “rights”, which do not exist at all.

Or maybe we do it because it's less deranged than dealing with letterpress or photolettering.

William Berkson's picture

Why am I looking forward to the impending 'who is more deranged' flame war?

I must be really deranged :)

typequake's picture

No flame war is necessary. What he meant by "must be regarded as mentally deranged" was "I disagree".

umlautthoni's picture

Chuck stated that due to poor business decision(s), he was forced to live in a van. Seems to me, he hasn't learned anything in terms of sharpening his business acumen. Alienating his loyal/honest customers by having them perform a dog and pony show just to use his typefaces seems a poor business strategy. It could very well lead him right back to skid row.

I can't stand unethical business practices - never have, never will. Stealing is plain wrong. I don't read EULA's anymore only because I don't copy/steal software or fonts and in the end, that's essentially what the EULA's are trying to avoid. My coworkers call me a boy scout. I believe you take people at face value, honor your word and do what is right.

k.l.'s picture

This thread sucks. What's this, public spanking for Mr Davis? For trying to protect his work in a similar way as do software companies? (At is was mentioned already, Adobe's implementation of product activation is a real obstacle for backing up &c. Better write the same emails to Adobe -- for example.) Come one ...

Karsten

Jackie Frant's picture

Karsten,

I think you missed the point of this thread.
This is not a bashing of anyone.

Letterhead fonts has changed their practice of how they release fonts to their customers. They have made this as a business decision to protect themselves from piracy.

However, they haven't taken into account how their customers actually use their fonts. And because of their new policy, they may lose more of their customers. The "lock" on these fonts does not allow a designer to show their work in a way that has become familar to all of us over the last 10 years.

We are worried that this new business plan may hurt Letterpress -- more than help.

The issue of piracy has always been discussed thoroughly, the conclusions have always been drawn that those that steal fonts were never going to purchase them. Some foundries therefore keep providing new ideas, fonts, programs, etc. to keep their loyal clients returning for more purchases, helping their ever-shrinking bottom line.

No bashing, just logic.

Sebastiaan's picture

I agree with Heron here. I mean, take a listen to Type Radio — one question often posed is “Do you have a lot of illegal fonts?”. Take for example Fred Smeijers' response to this. I can't quote him exactly, but it came down to that he did, but simply to see if it's useful, and if he can find a use for a font, he buys it with the money you have then (e.g. the money from the assignment), thus actually boosing font sales with piracy. Now, of course, “piracy” is a bit of a sharp word, but I know countless people who have downloaded, say, a font called ‘Eurostibble’, an imaginary one-weight, unkerned font that is actually a weight of Eurostile from some “Free Fonts!!!” site. Is that piracy? How about downloading Helvetica from Kazaa and then buying it when you need it for some commercial assignment? I find it difficult to draw a line.

And, as has been said before, just give some oppurtunistic coder some time with such an installer, and I am willing to bet that he will be able to extract the fonts. Remember that a lot of people who 'pirate' fonts actually don't care if it's not kerned, or lacks punctuation, or is in any way broken. If it slightly resembles a font, they are happy with it. And they wouldn't have bought it in the first place. So it could very well be just like DRM on music; the consumer expiriences trouble using a legitly acquired product (a CD that you can't play on a computer, for example), but the 'cracker' can simply put the line-out of his CD player into his computer's line-in to record the music anyway and then share it. So who are you really prohibiting use? If the intent is there, you can bet that one way or another, the goal will be attained.

aluminum's picture

"This thread sucks. What’s this, public spanking for Mr Davis? For trying to protect his work in a similar way as do software companies?"

What's this? Someone defending annoying anti-consumer DRM-schemes just because other companies use it?

Anyways, it's less of a spanking and more of an attempt at bringing awareness to consumers.

"At is was mentioned already, Adobe’s implementation of product activation is a real obstacle for backing up &c. Better write the same emails to Adobe — for example."

Many do. I haven't ordered an Adobe product upgrade in about 3 years. I'm holding out as long as I can hoping a few of the open source options get up to speed soon. We'll see how long I can manage waiting for that. ;o)

Uli's picture

> What he meant by “must be regarded as mentally deranged” was “I disagree”.

When I say "mentally deranged", I mean "mentally deranged".

Any psychiatrist who studies this case will confirm that graphic designers who buy “rights” to these Letterhead fonts although these “rights” do not exist at all, and who buy “rights” to “Open Type” fonts, although they are “Closed Type” fonts which cannot be located in fonts folders, which cannot be embedded into PDF files, which cannot be backed up, which cannot be used with font managers, which cannot be etc. etc. etc., must be regarded as mentally deranged.

As regards "Open Type" versus "Closed Type", let us remember why the "Open Type" font format was invented:

The Adobe PostScript fonts from the mid-1980s until the early 1990s were "Closed Type" fonts, because the internal format was kept secret by Adobe and because the fonts were encrypted so that these "Closed Type" PostScript fonts could only be used in conjunction with Adobe's own special "decrypting" programs, e.g. "Adobe Type Manager" etc.

Later in the early 1990s, after Apple and Microsoft had invented the TrueType format, Adobe revealed the internal format and the encryption scheme of PostScript fonts.

In mid-1990, a really open "Open Type" font format was developed with full documentation and without encryption and with the big advantage that such "Open Type" fonts could be installed on various operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, etc). At that time in mid-1990, the following was proudly and jointly declared by Adobe and Microsoft:

"OpenType fonts and the operating system services which support OpenType fonts provide users with a simple way to install and use fonts"
(see http://www.microsoft.com/OpenType/OTSpec/otover.htm)

Now look at these crippled Letterhead "Open Type" fonts. Do they "provide users with a simple way to install and use fonts", as defined above by Adobe and Microsoft? Definitely not! These crippled Letterhead fonts are technically "Closed Type" fonts, because the internal format is kept secret, the fonts are hidden and presumably encrypted, and you need a proprietary "installer" without which you cannot use these "Closed Type" Letterhead fonts.

Therefore any psychiatrist will confirm that those graphic designers who suffer from the delusion that they buy "Open Type" Letterhead fonts, while in fact they buy crippled proprietary "Closed Type" fonts rendered useless by various technical restrictions, must be regarded as mentally deranged.

Nick Shinn's picture

We're all deranged, as we go about our business surfing the internet, scrolling down web pages, and licensing fonts from type foundries.

malbright's picture

For those who are keeping score, Adobe's protection activation scheme is actually much easier and more workable than Letterhead Fonts' protection, which is virtually unusable in the professional world of design. Apples to oranges.

canderson's picture

At is was mentioned already, Adobe’s implementation of product activation is a real obstacle for backing up &c. Better write the same emails to Adobe — for example.

Adobe's type licensing though, in my opinion, is about the best in the business because in allows in-house modifications. I think they get away with this because they know their fonts are robust and well made. If someone needs to make adjustments for language support or something they can do it. At any rate, it shows respect for how customers actually use their tools.

k.l.'s picture

@ aluminium

I think I got the point of this thread.

@ Sebastiaan

Yes, I listened to Type Radio -- not only to Mr Smeijers' answer.  ;-)

@ heron2001

No sympathy for current DRM solutions. Partly because they are badly implemented and cause us troubles. Partly because the underlying conception is of yesteryear -- the more serious issue. An example: Adobe's DRM links apps to the computer's harddrive. But today it does not make sense any more to tie user-identity to the heavy machine on or below the desk, since you can already put your OSX or other Unix on a CD, DVD, external harddrive and possibly (this is really exciting) even flash drive and work from any computer you have access to. (I don't like carrying a laptop around, as light as it may be.) Within this scenario, why not let the user decide which hard disk or flash drive best serves to identify 'me' as the paying licensee of the OS, app, fonts, documents? (Today, if I want to use my CS license on many computers, I have to de-activate and re-activate each time, which requires web-connection of each of these computers which is not necessarily given. Just plugging in a flash drive would be so much easier.)

I don't defend DRM in this case because others use DRM too. My logic is exactly the other way round:
This thread is now 100+ posts, most of them more or less repeating the initial one. However, it is 'just fonts' which are the least expensive part of designers' tools, compared to: computer, printer, scanner, software, photo equipment, &c. The real problem is that we can, and thus most likely do, copy cheap non-DRM-ed apps and fonts, but not computers; and we can argue with one-man-foundries, but not with the larger corporations -- at best we end up with a student reading standard answers from a problem-solution database. My concern is that this 'awareness campaign' addresses the wrong one.

@ malbright

Apples to oranges -- true, though in a different way: You'll always find a foundry that offers similar fonts. But currently there are no real alternatives to Adobe/Macromedia's applications (which, I should add, I like).

Si_Daniels's picture

>Adobe’s type licensing though, in my opinion, is about the best in the business because in allows in-house modifications.

Are you sure, I think the current Adobe EULA and hard-to-find FAQ are somewhat contradictory.

saritza.hernandez's picture

But for now, that option doesn’t exist. Personally, that would not prevent me from using original fonts. I too am a designer and I don’t use any font management program. I would rather spend the time designing than turning fonts on and off. If I don’t want a font, I don’t install it in the first place. Apparently several people must agree with me that having Letterhead Fonts with some limitations is better than no Letterhead Fonts, because sales are up. And people are still creating things with our fonts. But even if sales were cut in half as a result of this protection— I would still do it, because of the peace of mind it provides us. And that peace of mind translates into new fonts for you.

However when you're a corporation buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fonts, you need to have the ability to turn on these fonts for particular projects and books while working on others at the same time. We work on files that have grade specific fonts and have to QC files daily switching between grade levels. We need the flexibility of the font management software to allow us to do that. If the font is embedded into the computer's sytem, it causes font issues with files in Adobe and Microsoft products that conflict with that font.

Sad to say that we will not be able to purchase your fonts for our book publishers if that flexibility is not in place. We have enough issues with font conflicts in applications already. Allowing a font foundry to just install fonts willy-nilly into the system is dangerous and not a risk any large book publisher with thousands of users will take.

~Saritza

pattyfab's picture

Good god I couldn't function without a font management program. I'd rather spend the time turning fonts on and off than scrolling through thousands of fonts every time. Plus I need my "playlists" to organize my fonts and narrow things down when I'm choosing fonts for a project.

Jack B. Nimblest Jr.'s picture

"The issue of piracy has always been discussed thoroughly, the conclusions have always been drawn that those that steal fonts were never going to purchase them."

This is only 1/3 ? of the conclusion, with all due respect:

The issue of piracy has been discussed thoroughly, the conclusions drawn are several. There are those who steal fonts, never to use or distribute them. We tend to leave these alone as they are either hard to detect or in the design business... Secondly, there are those who steal fonts and are going to license them as soon as they find out it's better to, and we have a net to catch them. Then, there are those who steal fonts and are going to require pursuit...(not that I miss the later, but did I miss anyone, anyone?).

The point I was trying to make to the letterheads at Letterhead, was that you don't find the legit clients amongst the thieves unless you have a net out to catch both the malicious and innocent cases of theft. Besides, there being nothing less useful to a steady hand than anger, except possibly lifting heavy objects, the whole issue is best left to others ASAP. Greg Thompson once called me from a CA Highway in 1990(!) where he'd just passed an immense highway sign using Bodega Sans for the film "Father of the Bride," "Did they license that?", he screamed above the incessant traffic...lol, I did — now too. A few years later he was wondering how much our licensing % had improved, and I said, "I don't know, why not put serifs on Bodega, and we'll see."

Nick asks: "David, how do you know whether someone using one of your fonts is a licensed user?"
I personally don't know who is and isn't a licensed user, and it never "bothers" me. I occasionally participate in the net mentioned above, i.e. when I see our's used by a fortune 2500 company, I ask further up our licensing chain. It was previously mentioned that good customers become uneasy when they see free use "across the street" — our discretion and well-known fondness for genuine admiration-driven theft, encourages both the aggrieved and grief-makers to call us, making another part of the net. Having urls in fonts, is yet another part.

MzCatzMeow's picture

At least he responded courteously to you. He was arrogant and exploited a very poor attitude in his reply to me! When I emailed him about auto-installing fonts on my system which I did not like and asking him if I could purchase fonts in a ZIP file, this is his actual reply to me:

All fonts are self-installing. We do not offer fonts inside of .zip files that you may install yourself. The fonts are protected within the installer and are not placed in your fonts folder. This was done to protect the fonts against piracy, not to make it easier to install (although it certainly does that too).

We are not a charity. We are a business and as such, we reserve the right to operate as we please. If you do not like the way we conduct our business, I suggest you not purchase our fonts.

Sincerely,
Chuck Davis
Letterhead Fonts
http://www.letterheadfonts.com
661-951-1939

Talk about arrogrance and POOR (at best) customer service! I ended our business relationship with him right then and there. When I found this thread on Typophile, I joined. I wanted to put this info into your thread and let you all know how arrogantly and with such a poor attitude Mr. Davis responded to me.

My firm has not spent as much money with Letterhead as some of you, I am sure, but as a small independent firm, we were still a paying customer! We had no problems up until now, but this has caused us to drop Letterhead from our vendor list. We can no longer do business with anyone who demands complete control of how we apply what we purchase for our business. We will be taking our business elsewhere.

Si_Daniels's picture

>>Adobe’s type licensing though, in my opinion, is about the best in the business because in allows in-house modifications.

>Are you sure, I think the current Adobe EULA and hard-to-find FAQ are somewhat contradictory.

We'll here's the definitive answer... http://fontlab.wikidev.net/EULA_chart

The only modification allowed is format conversion for internal use. Makes pre-OpenType historical sense given the fact that (with only a few exceptions) Adobe didn't provide TrueType fonts.

TBiddy's picture

We are not a charity. We are a business and as such, we reserve the right to operate as we please. If you do not like the way we conduct our business, I suggest you not purchase our fonts.

Wow. I guess sometimes you get what you ask for. What's happened to customer service these days?

Linda Cunningham's picture

You mean "customer disservice", don't you? :-(

Si_Daniels's picture

>Wow. I guess sometimes you get what you ask for.

Well, we don't really know what Cathy asked for - we're only seeing the vendor's reply, not the mail/s that it was in response to.

John Nolan's picture

Sii:
Adobe's font FAQ at http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/antipiracy/ff_faq.html says:

"Can I customize a font using font manipulation software?
You are allowed to use font manipulation software to modify the font software to produce “derivatives” of fonts licensed from Adobe, as long as you use the derivatives in accordance with the same licensing terms that accompany the original fonts. For example, you can use Macromedia Fontographer or Pyrus FontLab to customize an Adobe Font for individual usage, but you are not permitted to distribute, sell, or give away, the derivative work, and the derivative work counts as one of the permitted number of uses."

Si_Daniels's picture

My point was that the FAQ is contradicted by the Adobe font license. I’m sure Tiff’s chart is based on the EULA. Here’s what the EULA says

4.2 No Modifications. Except as permitted in Section 14.7, you may not modify, adapt or translate the Software. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble or otherwise attempt to discover the source code of the Software except to the extent you may be expressly permitted under applicable law to decompile only in order to achieve interoperability with the
Software.


14.7.4 You may convert and install the font software into another format for use in other environments, subject to the following conditions: A computer on which the converted font software is used or installed will be considered as one of your Permitted Number of Computers. Use of the font software you have converted will be pursuant to all the terms and conditions of this agreement. Such converted font software may be used only for your own customary internal business or personal use and may not be distributed or transferred for any purpose, except in accordance with Section 4.4 of this agreement.

Nothing in the EULA allows what most people would consider modification. The FAQ starts off clearly enough...

"You are allowed to use font manipulation software to modify the font software to produce “derivatives” of fonts licensed from Adobe, as long as you use the derivatives in accordance with the same licensing terms that accompany the original fonts."

But "in accordance with the same licensing terms" means format conversion only. But then the FAQ talks about "customization" too. Which does not appear to be allowed by the EULA.

Please let me know if I'm missing something. This came up in 2005 - http://typophile.com/node/16180 - so Adobe is aware of the apparent contradictions.

MzCatzMeow's picture

>Well, we don’t really know what Cathy asked for - we’re only seeing >the vendor’s reply, not the mail/s that it was in response to.

You didn't read my post then, sii -- I stated in the sentence right before I pasted Chuck's reply to me what I emailed and asked for! I asked for a ZIP file rather than an auto installer. That's when he gave me the ultimatum that if I didn't like how his fonts were packaged, I didn't have to buy them.

Cat

Si_Daniels's picture

>You didn’t read my post then, sii —

Yes I did.

>I stated in the sentence right before I pasted Chuck’s reply...

The fact that you 'stated' your position and 'pasted' the reply was what made me suspicious. Maybe you were very polite in your original request and the vendor was just having a bad day, or maybe he just reacted to an over-use of exclamation points ;-) But to me the reply just seems out of character as a response to a polite inquiry - but if that's the "form letter" sent to everyone that complains then I'd agree it's not a good sign.

Cheers, Si

PS. I know the Saints are likely to win, but there's a rule that you should not be on typophile when your team is playing.

Quincunx's picture

Lol, that mail-reply is almost laughable. Not a nice way to reply to a customer, even if the question would have been unpolite. A professional should just ignore it if that happens. Or reply in a decent way, anyway.

Si_Daniels's picture

True, from my experience the shopkeepers in Groningen are always polite.

I'm not going to go as far as to say that the reply was acceptable, but I'm genuinely interested in what kind of mail would have prompted it - in particular what would prompt "we are not a charity" - anyway I hope Cathy posts the complete exchange so I can jump on the LH-bashing-bandwagon with a clean conscience. :-)

Quincunx's picture

Hmm, the shopkeepers here suck, actually. ;)

Hehe, no, I agree. The complete exchange would be nice.

MzCatzMeow's picture

>The fact that you ‘stated’ your position and ‘pasted’ the reply was >what made me suspicious.
===

I posted my comment on the LH site so I didn't realize I had a copy. But alas, Mr. Davis did quote it when he replied to me - I scrolled down and found it for you. Here is my original inquiry to LHF...

Is there any way at all to download a zip file rather than a self-installing .exe file if I buy some fonts from you?

If anyone should know this, you should - installing too many fonts slows a machine down - I never install fonts! I click them open, minimize to my taskbar, use them, then close. I have ONLY what Windows installed actually installed and I would like to purchase a few of your fonts, but not if you must install them for me. That is about the worst thing you could do to us is install FOR US.

Thanks,

Cat

As you can see, I used no excessive exclamation points in my inquiry -and really nothing that would have warranted such an arrogant and nasty-sounding reply to a customer unless me saying the worst thing he could do is install fonts FOR US. Maybe challenging his decision to try to control our machines and how we manage our fonts got under his skin? Still -- that is not a way to reply to ANY customer - I certainly would never reply to my customers like that if they have a valid concern. Would you?

OT- I was watching the game about half. My husband was watching it enough for both of us. Birds lost. Poor birds. Tweet tweet.

Cat

Si_Daniels's picture

Thanks for posting.

>Would you?

No

>Birds lost. Poor birds. Tweet tweet.

They should have gone for it on 4th and 15. But give them credit they nearly pulled off the upset.

Uli's picture

There is a legal issue that has not yet been discussed.

At his website, Mr. Chuck Davis makes this legally relevant declararation:

"..... We've also decided to go full-force with Postscript Open Type and offer them exclusively ....... Letterhead Fonts are now available only in Postscript-flavored Open Type. This means that your software must support Open Type fonts. Open Type fonts work great in most Microsoft applications..........."

For full text see http://www.letterheadfonts.com/support/changes.shtml

Now there is this legal issue:

The Open Type font file specifications were defined by Microsoft and Adobe to warrant cross-platform compatibility such that the same identical Open Type font file can be used without modification on different operating systems (Mac OS, Windows OS, etc.). Exactly this is the meaning of "Open": For each font, there must exist one and the same open disk file usable by different operating systems. For more technical details please read the Open Type specifications published both at the Adobe and the Microsoft websites.

According to these Open Type specifications, Mr. Chuck Davis is not allowed to declare the non-open stuff he sells as "Open Type".

Mr. Chuck Davis may label his cripped non-open stuff by whatever other name he likes, but he must not label his crippled non-open stuff as "Open Type". Whosoever sells non-open stuff as "Open Type" commits the crime of fraud.

MzCatzMeow's picture

According to these Open Type specifications, Mr. Chuck Davis is not allowed to declare the non-open stuff he sells as “Open Type”.
==================

Thank you for this interesting insight. Another colleague of mine has recently purchased one of the LH "installers" and spent much time searching for the .OTF file on her system, which, of course, did not exist.

According to Microsoft, there MUST be an extension of .OTF or .TTF for any Open Type font to be called Open Type. So Mr. Chuck Davis is also in violation of Microsoft's Trademark.

This part right here:

Do Not Use the OpenType Trademark as Part of Your Product Name
Microsoft trademarks may not be incorporated as part of the name of another company's product or service. You may not include OpenType or any potentially confusing variation in the name of your product or service.

And he has used it and has NOT supplied customers with an actual Open Type font - he has only supplied his installer where you are DENIED the .OTF or .TTF file(s)

Now comes California Consumer Law. Mr. Chuck Davis resides in California, does he not? If so he is bound by California law. So he is in violation of that as well with his deceptive practices. From the California Consumer Protection site he is in violation by this rule alone, although he fits several other of the "rules".

(a) unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in the conduct of any trade or commerce;

Cat

Jeremy Dooley's picture

A bit (more) support for letterhead:

Recently, I had a unique opportunity; to start my own business, selling my products on the internet. There is no other time on earth people have had the opportunity to create new products as the internet age. Companies can be formed without much of startup costs and risks involved with starting a new company and distributing products in the old era. Unfortunately, stealing their products is also much easier. Recently, I found a website that specifically asks to steal my typefaces.

I recently received a book from my sister, “The World is Flat.” It confirms what I have believed for some time. America’s role in the world is to create new and innovative products. Our main exports are weapons and entertainment, essentially products born from creative problem solving. We don’t do cars all that well, but we make some ripping airplanes.

Senator Feinstein, being from the state that is host to Hollywood and all, is supporting a bill called S.256, the PERFORM Act. It is a step in right direction for protecting digital music. Will it work? Probably not. There are too many ways to bypass DRM systems. It sends a message. Althrough digital property is easy to steal, it is still not right.

Some “evildoers” have created a site to urge senators to reject this bill. I have a different idea in mind. Using their website mechanisms, you can draft a letter urging your senators to confirm this bill.

Here is a brief little letter I have composed. If you would like, please use it as a base for your own letter.

As a constituent and creator of digital content, I urge you to CONFIRM the perform act. Those that oppose this bill are essentially asking Congress to put
a stamp of approval on their illegal activities. America needs its creatives and
entrepreneurs now more than ever. Rejecting this bill would cripple the creation
of digital content of all kinds and cause innovation to be stifled.

I find it shameful that some persons have created a website to convince Congress not to confirm this bill. Please send a strong message that stealing for content creators of all kinds is illegal and immoral.

I would love to see DRM incorporated into typefaces by Microsoft/Adobe/Apple. I plan to push for this as much as I can.

Lets see if the system works. Oh, and Cat, why are you splitting hairs over the .otf stuff? I deliver my product as a .zip file, just as everyone else. Am I in violation? No.

Jeremy Dooley
www.insignedesign.com

Linda Cunningham's picture

Y'know Jeremy, I'd take your plea more seriously if you had better spelling and grammar in your "model" letter. Having worked with politicians at the local, state/provincial, and federal levels in Canada and the U.S. for more than twenty years, I'm here to tell you that when they receive communications that lack basic language skills, they are ignored.

Si_Daniels's picture

>when they receive communications that lack basic language skills, they are ignored.

Note this doesn't always apply to the highest ranking elected officials ;-)

Jeremy Dooley's picture

Fair criticism, Linda. I need to work on that.

JDooley.

aluminum's picture

"Some “evildoers” "

Hmm...the EFF? You serious? Evil?

Damn consumer rights organizations. ALWAYS STICKING IT TO THE MAN!

Ranting about the EFF is akin to your plumber ranting about the Better Business Bureau.

Back to the thread, regarding the legalities of calling them Open Type when they truly are not...related to the issue is DRMed CDs. Apparently a CD must adhere to the established tech specs and the DRMed ones fail that test, and, as such, can not technically be called CDs.

Jeremy Dooley's picture

Evildoers is a joke, hence the quotation marks. However, the EFF, in this case (Honestly, I don't know its overall track record), is standing against the protection of creative work, in essence stifling creativity. If everyone gets their product ripped off, there is no inducement to create.

aluminum's picture

"is standing against the protection of creative work"

No, it stands for protecting consumer's fair use and preventing the government from subsidizing poor business models via heavy handed legislation.

The problem is that DRM doesn't work. It does not stop 'piracy' and it does piss of consumers. Instead of coming up with better solutions, the industries that depend on sales of digital media would prefer that the government simply force the consumers hand.

As long as the media industries are private, the government (ie, us) have no business subsidizing them through overly restrictive legislation.

IMHO (and the EFF's) of course.

Jeremy Dooley's picture

Interesting perspective. I normally would be all over the non-intervention of government aspect, but government is there for protection. Government makes laws to protect its citizens, from bodily harm, and in this case, theft.

I agree that the current implementation of DRM is not perfect. However, if designers/companies can't create products without someone stealing them, they stop creating. As Chuck said earlier, he almost quit producing. Ultimately, that hurts the designer by limiting creative output, harming the creator and the economy. Legislation can help clear up this semi-nebulous area of the law.

aluminum's picture

"and in this case, theft"

But is it really theft? Is copyright infringment theft? Is photocopying an article for a friend the same as shoplifing? Is grabbing a song to put in my kids home video the same as selling pirated DVDs on the streets of NYC?

It's important to remember what US IP laws were originally designed for. Too many people think it was designed solely to provide a monetary incentive for the creator to innovate. That's only half of it. The reason our country created IP laws was to provide that delicate balance between encouraging innovataion, and giving the masses access to the benefits of cultural and collective knowlege.

Many people allege (and I agree) that industries like the MPAA and RIAA have pretty much taken IP law to an extreme favoring mainly only the creator. These proposed laws do nothing more than to push that lopsideness even further.

I find something very wrong when an entire industry is convicted of price fixing (music industry) and their fine is essentially $15. An international corporation is shown to have installed virii on people's computers (Sony). Their 'fine'? Give a free CD to their customers. The richest company on the planet (MS) has been shown to have acted unfairly as a monopoly in countries throughout the world. Their 'fine'? Well, nothing worthy of actually penalizing them.

In turn, a 12 year old girl in Kansas who shares a Britteny Spears single? Legally, her family can be extorted out of 6 grand.

To me, the laws are already insanely anti-consumer.

"I agree that the current implementation of DRM is not perfect."

There likely won't ever be a DRM that truly works.

"However, if designers/companies can’t create products without someone stealing them, they stop creating"

Did libraries stop authors from writing? Did VCRs stop TV networks from airing shows? Has Adobe gone out of business due to script kiddies cracking photoshop so they could make a myspace icon?

That phrase has yet to be proven correct. It's also been used every single time a new technology has dared enter the market that has some facet of being able to duplicate something. From 8-tracks to photocopiers. ;o)

"Legislation can help clear up this semi-nebulous area of the law."

What's nebulous? Our copyright laws are fairly straight forward (well, as straight forward as laws can be).

The DMCA was not needed. THAT has only complicated things...mainly for the worse if you are a consumer.

To be fair, independant font foundries are caught in the crossfire of the truly evil industries that have really tainted DRM and the like. There is zero sympathy left for the RIAA, for instance.

That said, the argument the RIAA is using isn't too far away from what some of the people in this thread are using. THe reality is that music sharing really hasn't killed the industry. It'shurt it in some ways, helped it in others. Mainly, it's just CHANGED the indusstry and the industry really doesn't like that, as they had a pretty good racket going. Instead of ADOPTING to market forces, however, they prefer to use lobbyists and lawyers. Alas, crazy DRM on a typeface gets lumped more into that crowd than not.

MzCatzMeow's picture

Lets see if the system works. Oh, and Cat, why are you splitting hairs over the .otf stuff? I deliver my product as a .zip file, just as everyone else. Am I in violation? No.
============
But inside your .zip file, Jeremy, is an actual .OTF or .TTF or .PFB and .PFM - that ends up where I decide to unzip the files to on my system. When I have purchased your fonts, I have not had to worry that there was going to be some .exe file slung at me that opens and does its thing and doesn't let me know what it's doing and doesn't allow me to have the actual font that I paid for! You ARE delivering the actual .OTF (or whatever format) in the proper format that I am paying for. Mr. Davis is not doing this. He is "masking" the actual .OTF inside some installer" that did NOT install the font where it belongs in my Windows fonts directory. That is messing with MY SYSTEM. That is me paying out good money for some file that is not the actual .OTF that Microsoft's trademark requires it to be when it has been advertised to be so.

Cat

Stephen Coles's picture

This discussion has officially derailed. Maybe we should have a mandatory Typophile three-page maximum and all future discussion should be spawned into separate, focused threads.

hankzane's picture

For Christ's sake, it's just a freaking font. Who forces you to buy it and talk to the supposedly unfriendly and professionally strayed man named Chuck? Who!? Maybe you should complain to that person.

Linda Cunningham's picture

>when they receive communications that lack basic language skills, they are ignored.

Note this doesn’t always apply to the highest ranking elected officials ;-)

Well, depending on the content, they might send the FBI to your door. :-(

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