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Does any one know what the copyright implications are of adapting a font. So it looks very similar to the original but has been adapted by hand...
Since fonts are licensed software, each foundry has their own agreement. This is often referred to as a EULA—meaning end users license agreement. Most will allow you to alter letters for a given project such as logo. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by adapting. Some will allow personalizing a version of a font for your own use, but I doubt you would find any that would allow you to moderate the outlines a bit and then resell it as your own.
I believe you need to make an important semantic distinction as to whether you are talking about making changes to a font or a typeface. I'm not sure about the UK, and may be wrong about my belief of US copyright law too, but I think there is very little protection for typefaces, but considerable copyright protection for fonts.
There's also a difference between opening up a font in a font editor and making changes "by hand" - and drawing a font from scratch "by hand". Beyond that using a trademarked name, redistributing the font etc., all raise legal and ethical issues.
Perhaps you could explain exactly what you're planning to do and the peanut gallery can weigh in and pass judgment.
In the UK typeface designs are subject to a 25 year copyright - and then font software has a normal infinite copyright....
I did not think there was such a thing as ‘normal infinite copyright’, it recently went up from 50 to 70 years ... as it is governed by international conventions it’s pretty similar everywhere. See this for UK: