Is it legal to modify Bodoni?

di_ggler's picture

Is it legal for me to slightly modify Bodoni poster italic?
Is there anywhere on the web where I can find out whether or not I can do this?

Miguel Sousa's picture

For what kind of usage? Personal?
Are you planning to start with the outlines of an existing digital font? If yes, from which foundry?

Ehague's picture

It is legal only if permitted by the End-User License Agreement (EULA) for the font. What a EULA allows for varies from foundry to foundry, but typically modification of an existing font is prohibited, especially if you're planning to make money from the end result.

Maybe someone else can back me up on this.

Florian Hardwig's picture

What does the EULA say?

di_ggler's picture

Its for commercial use. And yes I am starting with the outlines of Bodoni Poster Italic. I cant remember which foundry I got it from, so I dont know where to find the EULA. Is that usually packaged with the font? or is it something on their website?

Si_Daniels's picture

The vendor name will normally be viewable within your Operating system - for example in Windows double clicking on a font will provide a screen that shows you the copyright string in the font.

Cheers, Si

EK's picture

You may be in breach of contract, but that's not illegal. It would be illegal if the font were subject to copyright and the law imposed penalties for infringement.

Si_Daniels's picture

>It would be illegal if the font were subject to copyright and the law imposed penalties for infringement.

Like in Europe?

nicholasgross's picture

Hang on,

Randall, do you mean that you want to modify the outlines of some of the letters in Bodoni only for a one-off design project? Or are you making new functioning font software? I feel like people here are assuming you want to modify the font to make a new font and their answers are based on that. Which is it?

I have been assuming it's OK to change the shape of the letterforms when you're designing something, I think that's different from changing the font software itself. Please correct me if I'm wrong

--N

Miss Tiffany's picture

Most foundries allow you to modify the shapes of letters, for a logo let's say. But, if you want to modify the outlines and create a new font many foundries do not allow this. Further still you will not find any foundries that allow for derivatives to be sold.

Mark Simonson's picture

Are there really foundries that don't allow you to modify shapes of letters for a logo?

EK's picture

Like in Europe?

I'm not too familiar with European directives, but if you can refer me to European provisions that criminalize infringement of copyright in fonts, I'd be happy to take a look, and report back.

I've heard of a large corporation recently found guilty of criminal behaviour in Europe, but I don't think it had much to do with typography

Si_Daniels's picture

>I’ve heard of a large corporation recently found guilty of criminal behaviour in Europe,

I know. I have nothing against companies selling locked mobile phones, but you know how the Europeans are.

Also, please close your tags.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Are there really foundries that don’t allow you to modify shapes of letters for a logo?

I think Tiffany is talking about modification of "converted to curves" text in Illustrator, rather than creation of derivative font.

Mark Simonson's picture

That's what I mean, too. But she said "most," implying there are some that don't allow it. I was just curious to know.

EK's picture

How do I close the tag? It looks fine on my screen.

Si_Daniels's picture

<cite> Like in Europe? <cite>

need to add a / to that last cite tag

Cheers, Si

Si_Daniels's picture

>That’s what I mean, too.

Ah, yes. I suppose those that don't allow commercial use? I think it's often safest to say 'most' - there are some pretty kooky EULAs out there.

Thomas Phinney's picture

"It would be illegal if the font were subject to copyright and the law imposed penalties for infringement."

Both these things are true in most western countries, including the USA.

However, most font licenses permit modifications after converting to outlines, like for a logo. A few, such as Adobe's, allow you to modify the original font, as long as it's for your internal use and you're not redistributing it. (Note: check the license itself for details.)

Cheers,

T

Miss Tiffany's picture

Yeah, it is something I've started noticing. I guess I should document it so I don't look the total fool. I'll do some digging and report back.

Don McCahill's picture

Modifying the font file is one thing. That would be clearly covered by the EULA. But what would the case be if a user took a scan of the desired font, and then built it in FontShop without using anyone else's computer outlines. Would it be different if the scan was of a heritage useage, (here I am assuming that Bodoni Poster is out of any copyright period).

Si_Daniels's picture

FontShop = FontLab

marian bantjes's picture

>Are there really foundries that don’t allow you to modify shapes of letters for a logo?
[...]
>Ah, yes. I suppose those that don’t allow commercial use? I think it’s often safest to say ’most’ - there are some pretty kooky EULAs out there.

Yip, and I've got one of them. It's pretty rare, but Ross Mills and I decided to restrict the use of my new font, Restraint, in that for the basic licensing you can't use it as a major or sole element for logos, major ad campaigns or items for sale ... altered or unaltered. I was really torn about this, because as a designer I recognize how jarring that seems, but ultimately he convinced me. P22 also has similar restrictions on some (all?) of their fonts.

However, to make things more confusing, with Restraint, the issue is surrounding its use, so if it _wasn't_ an identity, then we would have no problem with someone modifying it in e.g. Illustrator for a poster or invitation or whatever.

-marian

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