Creating and Licensing Fonts

Giles's picture

Hi there,
I've made a font for a client and have no idea how to license it for them. I've read many bits and pieces but don't seem to be able to find anything specific. Does anyone have any handy links or suggestions?

ebensorkin's picture

Often the way a license works is that that you give tem exclusive use of it for x # of years after which you may license it to someone else or offer it on the retail market for non exclusive use. Exclusive use costs more that retail. MUCH more. What the price of exclusivity is will depend on the value the client sees in it. Anyway that's the normal thing. Obviously you or they may want other terms and so it's up to you. Want to show the font to us?

Si_Daniels's picture

If you're a member of any trade organizations you should see if they have form contracts you could use.

Giles's picture

Thanks for that. At the moment they're wanting full ownership of the font, so I guess from my side I won't have to worry about licensing.

cuttlefish's picture

Perpetual exclusivity is a tricky one. You'll naturally raise the price, but how does one calculate potential (lost) retail sales for the life of the font against the size of the company? Maybe a supplemental annual royalty would be in order, but full ownership implies they would want to avoid that hassle.

At least include a clause that rights to the font revert back to you should it be removed from their corporate design system or otherwise fall into disuse after a period of time. They might not go for that either, but it's worth asking for.

Si_Daniels's picture

Read the contract carefully - make sure you're still free to make similar designs in the future.

KR's picture

When I license files...they are all 'single-end user' agreements. It would be impossible for anything I've made previously to suddenly have restrictions put on it. (Yes, people have actually asked me if I could 'do that for them.' All of my are free for personal and classroom use - the ones that are currently on the site. The files that I custom make I title in a completely different way than I do my normal files AND in the copyright line I list myself as the author but I denote copyright to the person/company who has paid me for the work. I include 'the prize' as my attorney's call it (proven QUITE useful in the past) by hiding keystrokes, making special keystrokes, specific quirks, etc., known only to me and the client. I even have it mentioned that all original files may be destroyed at the 'new owners' request - although no one has asked me to do that as of yet. If a custom file gets out in the public domain, I didn't have anything to do with it. It's a matter of ethics. I couldn't do that to someone seeing how I know EXACTLY how it feels to have work taken from you. I've dealt with this issue in the past and I'm dealing with it right now too, sadly. Lastly, registered owners get all formats of the file. I only offer .ttf's on my site.

Nick Shinn's picture

Next time, include the licence agreement as part of the initial proposal/contract.

For custom work, I simply adapt my standard retail EULA.

Giles's picture

Thanks for all of your comments, they have been extremely useful. I have allowed the company exclusivity with a clause that lets ownership revert to me if they cease to use the font as their id. Thanks cuttlefish for that handy hint. Luckily the client agreed with it.

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