Restrictive font licencing

roasthorse's picture

i was wondering if anyone had strong feelings (either way) about the restrictive licencing of fonts by bertholdt and emigre etc. this is something that i have only recently become aware of & it seems to me that it can only do harm to those foundries (especially smaller ones). how can those fonts be used for corporate identities, magazines etc. when the foundries are restricting the media that they can be used in?

Diner's picture

Hi Joe,

The purpose of licensing is simply to protect the use of the software and assure that its use will be properly compensated.

I'm sure if you contact Emigre, they would be happy to discuss custom licensing for usage beyond the terms stated in their standard licensing agreement.

I think people assume that when they buy fonts, they buy the fonts. This isn't the case - instead, they purchase the license to use the software but the creator always retains rights to the software including how they define its usage and compensation for the face.

Licensing is put in place to legally protect small foundries from misuse of their software products. Ans since there isn't any one way to create a license, the sky is the limit.

A foundry can go as far as to state "May not be used to promote any tobacco or alchoholic products." or "You must credit the foundry as: Werethebaddassedmofoswiththecoolestfontsonearth - Emigre"

The point is, if it's not implicitly defined what you cannot do with the font, your only assumption could be that it's endorsed - so do anything.

It's just another way to pretect the stuff once it gets out the door. Mind you it isn't meant to be restrictive to the little guy designers as much as by the big agencys of the world that really are responsible and can afford appropriate comensation.

My 2¢
Stuart :D

hrant's picture

I think Joe was talking about restrictions on Flash embedding and stuff. And if you have to make the extra effort to get formal permission to do it, that's money, not to mention the extra fee you'd have to pay. Can anybody say "hidden cost"? That said, it's very possible that a given foundry has good reason to put such restrictions, in its case. It's not a simple issue, with many sets of opposing, blurry factors.


hrant's picture

No, I meant it's a blurry decision for a foundry to make in terms of how strict to be. You have to consider the nature of your clientele, the mechanics of how a font could be extracted from various technologies, short-term cash versus long-term mindshare, etc.


anonymous's picture

I do not think the issue is blurry at all. It is the perogative of any foundry to determine the restrictions, if any, on a particular font. It boils down to protecting intellectual property, or, the potential loss of revenue, not hidden costs. Those two are two entirely distinct concerns and motivations.


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