La historia de la tipografía es la historia del fraude

Uli's picture

For those, who can read Spanish, here is a website from Spain called "cuatrotipos.wordpress"

http://cuatrotipos.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/de-century-a-valencia-una-pe...

discussing forgeries and drawing heavily from my own site. Even the slogan

La historia de la tipografía es la historia del fraude
(The history of typography is the history of fraud)

was drawn from my site by replacing a word in my slogan.
(I said: "The history of typefaces is the history of forgeries")

Uli's picture

In Germany, it is is not permitted to reproduce photographs of persons on commercial websites for promotional purposes, unless you have obtained a prior written permission by the person shown on the photograph (see e.g. Dreyer/Kotthoff/Meckel, 2004, page 791).

By "tracing" Kapr's photo (http://justanotherfoundry.com/Lapture), Tim Ahrens claims to have become copyright owner of Albert Kapr's photograph. This form of appropriation is called by Ahrens the "revival" and "redesign" of photographs.

Tim Ahrens's picture

the tracings made by URW,
see here http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/urw/leipziger-antiqua/

Btw, these are not the tracings made by URW, it is a version made by Ralph M. Unger. Unfortunately we were both working on digitisations without knowing of each other and published the fonts shortly one after another.

The tracings made by URW (in the 1980s) are not publicly available, as far as I know.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Re the extreme similarities between the Accidenz–G and Helvetica — it’s almost as if Miedinger was thinking of the old maxim regarding plagiarism: as long as seven instances are different, the result is considered ‘new’…

(IMO there are remarkable similarities. Even the ‘colour’ of these two examples is near—identical.)

___
Bert Vanderveen BNO

Bert Vanderveen's picture

I think Futura is a much greater typeface than Helvetica, but it is a different kind of modernism than Helvetica. According to the very interesting book on Renner, he was trying to be classic as much as modern, and it shows—for the better in my opinion. He was not trying for the bland-with-sparkle look that is the defining characteristic of Helvetica, and of which it is the prime exemplar.

When taking in account the more ‘extreme’ glyphs Renner proposed for a, g, etcetera, I think his aim was more for a modern look than a classic. Nevertheless Futura turned out to be a classic (and the royalties saw Renner through a very different period in his life). And I’d take Futura over Helvetica any day!

The book is ‘Paul Renner’ by Burke, I presume?

___
Bert Vanderveen BNO

Tim Ahrens's picture

When taking in account the more ‘extreme’ glyphs Renner proposed for a, g, etcetera, I think his aim was more for a modern look than a classic.

I have the impression it is just the opposite. The alternative versions of a and g aimed at following the traditional models for romans and only when he realised these were not possible to "construct" in a convincing manner he chose the single storey a and the open g - which are much more radical in my eyes!

However, how letter shapes are perceived is subjective and changes over time. I remember when we were talking about the atmoshphere of typefaces everyone called Helvetica conservative, classic or "retro". Then Gerard Unger, our teacher, reminded us that some 40 years ago almost everyone felt the opposite! Maybe the same goes for the a and g in Futura?

Uli's picture

Nick, your two AG samples of 28.Aug.2007 10.31am + 28.Aug.2007 1.41pm do not convince me, for you do not supply respective OLD Helvetica samples for comparison.

Although my comparison samples are a few years later,

http://www.sanskritweb.net/temporary/ag-1959a.gif
(First slug-typesetting version of AG of 1959)

http://www.sanskritweb.net/temporary/hv-1961a.gif
(First slug-typesetting version of HV of 1961)

my samples permit exact comparisons and reveal very different x-heights.

Uli's picture

> The tracings made by URW (in the 1980s) are not publicly available

For copying them, Mr. Ahrens, they needed not be publicly available.

(For comparison, since the word "stealing" is preferred at Typophile: For a burgler or thief to steal, the stolen goods need not be publicly available.)

William Berkson's picture

Uli, Tim Ahrens says he got permission from Kapr's widow to do the digitization, and he evidently put in considerable creative effort in creating different styles, harmonizing the upper and lower case, etc. And he gives full acknowledgment. What do you want, that he raise Kapr from the dead to say it's OK?

Uli's picture

> Tim Ahrens says he got permission from Kapr’s widow

Mr. Berkson:

Tim Ahrens did not say that he "got permission", but that he "decided to seek permission". In addition, he does not supply any proof for his statement. In this font industry, where forging and lying and cheating is customary, I never believe anything that is not backed by proof. For instance, in this thread I stated that Linotype said that Basic Commercial is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton. Do you believe such statements, which are not backed by proof?

William Berkson's picture

>Tim Ahrens did not say that he “got permission”, but that he “decided to seek permission”.

No, he said publicly on Typographica (link above): "I decided to contact Kapr's widow and was granted permission to digitize Leipziger Antiqua."

And I believe him.

Your stated presumption that everyone who produces type is lying unless proven otherwise is both unethical and more than a bit nutty, in my opinion.

Uli's picture

> And I believe him.

Mr. Bergson, considering that URW and Red Rooster had already digitized the font, which "permission to digitize" could have been "granted" by the widow? Since this thread has the header "historia del fraude", I think it bizarre that you regard people who do not believe everything as "nutty". Why should I believe in a "permission to digitize" which was legally impossible according to the German law?

William Berkson's picture

Uli, you wrote above: "I never believe anything that is not backed by proof."
Now you say "I think it bizarre that you regard people who do not believe everything as 'nutty'."

"Never believe anything that is not backed by proof" and "do not believe everything" are radically different statements. I was talking about the first not the second.

I won't comment further.

Uli's picture

I am sorry, Mr. Bergson, that I have hurt your feelings, but I had to drive home the legal facts. Mr. Ahrens knows that the widow was not in a legal position to grant to him (or to URW or to anyone else) the permission to digitize the font, for she never owned the right to digitize the font. Therefore, the permission to digitize the font would have been as legally impossible as the permission to grow wheat on the backside of the moon.

crossgrove's picture

Uli,

Your comments are worthless. Since you continually deride makers, manufacturers, sellers, buyers and users of type, just who is it that you propose to help or protect? Now you seem to be trying to protect a dead man. From what? If anything is bizarre, Uli, it is your obsessions.

Your fetish for simplistic fault-finding borders on the autistic. It has no place at Typophile where the very human pursuit of type design and use is of interest to a great number of gloriously flawed humans.

Please desist from pestering legitimate posters to Typophile. Again I suggest you depart for a more ethically pure industry, such as food production, pharmaceutical science, politics or religion.

Nick Shinn's picture

my samples permit exact comparisons and reveal very different x-heights.

As I mentioned, I assume that Max Miedinger would have begun by tracing one size of lower case, and photostats of resized capitals. On second thoughts, he would have probably done it the other way round, and resized the lower case.

In my opinion, the process is important in determining the originality of a type design, as much as any comparison of physical characteristics. That's particularly true for design, as compared to art, where technique has become increasingly irrelevant, and a distinction has emerged between artists and makers.

So when considering the modernity of, for instance, the Futura capitals, the principle of basing them on simple geometric shapes resonates with Purism and similar movements in 20th Century art, although the letterforms themselves resemble those of antiquity.

Nick Shinn's picture

It has no place at Typophile

On the contrary, the "simplistic fault finding" of an amateur can serve a purpose in pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.
This is an industry where plagiarism is quite acceptable, and professionals are loath to rock the boat.

Bring it on, Uli--but could you please retire such terms as "dim-witted" and "mentally deranged" and let your argument speak for itself?

crossgrove's picture

"emperor has no clothes."

Is this news? 500+ years on in the history of typefounding, in the 21st century, surrounded by western culture, and you're suddenly scandalized?

Uli's picture

> “emperor has no clothes.”

When this bizarre industry removed its own fig-leaf of "moral code":

http://www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/atypi.htm

by annulling its own moral code:

"Members consider it to be incompatible with their professional ethics to make a reproduction of another member’s typeface, whether identical or slightly modified, irrespective of the medium, technique, form or size used."

this self-righteous font forging industry lost its final piece of clothing revealing again the inner meaning of Andersen's fairy tale.

Miss Tiffany Wardle, who runs Typophile, counted the votes of those who annulled the moral code:

http://www.sanskritweb.net/forgers/moral_code.pdf

"Hand me a fig-leaf" (James Hadley Chase)

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Bring it on, Uli

Sorry, Nick, but I'm with Carl on this one -- Ulrich is not contributing anything worthwhile to this forum, and it is part of his modus operandi to use the terms you ask him to withdraw -- you and William have tried reasoning with him, and it is clearly not doing any good!

Nick Shinn's picture

Ulrich is not contributing anything worthwhile to this forum,

Didn't you find his last post interesting?
I didn't know that ATypI had a Moral Code, and recently annulled it.

Uli's picture

please retire such terms as “dim-witted”

The term "dim-witted" is used by the German Supreme Court in connection with the crime of fraud, as was explained by the German Supreme Court in the famous "Sirius" decision (BGHSt 32, 38).

...

PS: Since I see that even the decision by the German Supreme Court cannot convince anyone here, I deleted my above summary of the BGH decision in order not to bore anyone here and instead amuse myself by reading again the suitable Chase novel: "Believe this - you'll believe anything". Cheers.

Nick Shinn's picture

my literal translations of German legal terms may cause misunderstandings.

There is no judge or jury to convince here.
In effect, you are trying to convince Typophile members that we are dim-witted.
I doubt German lawyers would argue their case by suggesting that the judge or jury is mentally defective, or that the judicial system is bizarre.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I've done no fig leaf counting and would like my name to remain left out of this insane thread. Thank you.

Oh, and I don't run Typophile. I'm only a moderator here.

NewGuy's picture

Uli, I have asked and never got an answer... Are you a lawyer? A law student? Do you have a degree in law? I'm just curious, as you seem to have great conviction in your "Font Forging" documentation.

My theory is that you have chosen "Font Forgery" as your pet project because there were already too many sites about the faked moon landings, the Kennedy assassination, and the government's responsibility for 9/11. And David Hasselhoff fansites; WAY too many of those.

On your site, your "Font Forging Industry" link — # 4 in your list of "Other Stuff" — is subtitled (Report for Legal Authorities). Again, please remind me who commissioned this ever-growing report.

Looking forward to reading your answers.

JN

NewGuy's picture

Uli, I'll ask again, because maybe you didn't see my questions... Are you a lawyer? A law student? Do you have a degree in law? I’m just curious, as you seem to have great conviction in your “Font Forging” documentation.

On your site, your “Font Forging Industry” link — # 4 in your list of “Other Stuff” — is subtitled (Report for Legal Authorities). Again, please remind me who commissioned this ever-growing report.

Still looking forward to reading your answers.

JN

NewGuy's picture

Uli, it's been a couple of weeks, so I thought I'd try again... Are you a lawyer? A law student? Do you have a degree in law? I’m just curious, as you seem to have great conviction in your “Font Forging” documentation.

On your site, your “Font Forging Industry” link — # 4 in your list of “Other Stuff” — is subtitled (Report for Legal Authorities). Again, please remind me who commissioned this ever-growing report.

Still looking forward to reading your answers.

JN

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