NBC gets served for $2 Million

Zara Evens's picture
dberlow's picture

>I guess the next time I have to change my oil I’ll become a certified mechanic.

Come now, you can change your own oil. What I guess is odd, is if you wish to change the oil of a car you've never heard running, or owned, or checked the dip stick of. Weirder, would be that no one asked for you to do so, or comment on the need to do so, but you hunted them down anyway to tell them they needed their oil changed, when they did not need their oil changed.

From further up the thread, who believes anyone, anywhere, can be charged with the rather serious crime of stalking, as a result of watching network TV? Just curious.

None of this, however, has anything whatsoever to do with this case, as you might suspect.

Cheers!

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

Good luck with your lawsuit, Font Bureau.

Sharon

joeclark's picture

Italics have been activated since Tom’s quotation of the words There’s our fonts on Jay Leno!” and are still there now. There are no I or CITE elements in the source code, and every EM appears to be matched with a /EM. Nonetheless, something is wrong and it is the job of the people who call themselves “moderators” to fix it.

There will indeed be “another dig” at the so-called moderators if they make “another” mistake. It’s called accountability.


Joe Clark
http://joeclark.org/

dezcom's picture

I am not seeing what you are seeing, Joe. There are no running italics which are not close tagged. Perhaps it is something peculiar to your browser?

ChrisL

Si_Daniels's picture

The problem occurs in IE8, which makes me think other browsers are automatically closing the italic tags outside of each DIV element.

William Berkson's picture

Joe, I'm not seeing it either, not now not earlier.

edit: Thanks, Si, but Joe says all the "em" tags are closed.

Could there be a problem with Cached material?

kentlew's picture

I don't see the italics either. But the <cite> tag on Thomas's quote (". . . Jay Leno") is not closed. It ends with an opening tag.

I guess it depends upon the browser. Joe is undoubtedly using something that is strictly compliant, and that's why he sees it, I'm guessing. Whereas most of us use browsers that close it out at the </p> or the </div>.

Now that the problem has been identified, perhaps an admin can rectify it.

Si_Daniels's picture

Seems fixed now.

Richard Fink's picture

@joe clark
I, too, agree that all things should be done in moderation.

@john hudson
People are quoting me lately - with and without attribution. In your case it's an "inside" thing,
but compare Typotheque's "endorsement" of WOFF here and my post about WOFF from a few days ago.
Very much fair use, and I'm flattered, but a citation would have been the right thing, don't you think?
Interestingly, to me, the Canadian end-of-harvest roughly co-incides with the Jewish holiday of Succot - also an end of harvest shindig. You know, there's a theory that the lost tribe of Israel found it's way to Canada and settled in and around Vancouver. This would account for the buffalo population running rampant - they're not Kosher. Hence the need to learn how to stare them down. This sounds quite plausible to me.

@thomas phinney, william berkson, et al:

Re, the suit against NBC: the one thing I haven't read here so far, is a statement from a representative of the Font Bureau denying that my surmise is not, indeed, what happened.
I mean, if that's the case, why not?

david h's picture

> the one thing I haven’t read here so far,is a statement from a representative of the Font Bureau denying

I didn't know that Typophile is the court.

William Berkson's picture

>a statement from a representative of the Font Bureau

David Berlow is a co-owner of Font Bureau. His statement above is:

"who believes anyone, anywhere, can be charged with the rather serious crime of stalking, as a result of watching network TV?"

Translating from the Berlonese as best I can, that reads that he or someone else associated with Font Bureau was watching NBC and said to themselves: "WTF? Our fonts are all over the network and they only bought one license? We have too look into this." I suppose the details are in the complaint, which is on line, but I haven't looked at it.

Since you refer to Sukkot, I'd refer you to a great principle in Jewish ethics that I try to practice, though I don't always succeed: "Be judging everyone in a favorable light." In other words put a construction on their words or actions that assumes a good motive, and as a rule act on that assumption. Of course there are exceptions, but I think this isn't right forum for a Talmudic discussion :)

Richard Fink's picture

@david hamuel
>I didn't know that Typophile is the court.

Objection. Move to strike.

@thomas phinney

Re FB v NBC - my experience in business, outside of IT, is with very small businesses. Sales volumes of anywhere from a measly $100,000.00 per annum to say, $15,000,000.00 per.
And the one thing every one those businesses owners wanted to know in the morning was: who had bought what the day before. Later on, when I ran my own company, if I didn't already know the who-and-what from having been around and watching, this was my first order of business every day, too.
I was, at first, amazed by the up-to-the-minute fine detail that guys in charge of fair-sized operations had at their fingertips at all times. But they did. I've never met a small business owner - or one of the owners, at least - that doesn't carry around this information in their head.
The idea that "they have better things to do", is hilarious to me. Better things to do than keep track of who is buying their products? Please.
At Fink's Font Bureau, you better believe I would know exactly who bought what font every damned day of the week and Saturdays and Sundays, too. And the principals of the Font Bureau don't? Pretty please.
And if I was them, given the current legal opportunities, the minute I saw "NBC" on an invoice, I would have tracked them every which way from Sunday.
With more verve than they, probably. But let's be real.

Ed_Aranda's picture

To David Berlow and Thomas Phinney,

Thank you for your responses. I realize that my opinion on this matter is of no real value, as I am not a lawyer, type designer, or associate of either the Font Bureau or NBC. Unfortunately, I feel as if you guys had perceived my earlier comment as some sort of attack on the validity of this suit. That was in no way my intention, and I apologize if it was received as such. In fact, I think fighting back against theft and piracy is a necessary and admirable thing to do. We have to be willing to protect how we make a living. That said, my initial comment was not meant to poke holes in the argument, but to indulge my curiosity about the issue at hand. It was just a thought, not a values judgment or accusation.

joeclark's picture

Every browser is highly compliant now, even IE-greater-than-6. I searched through the source for all I, CITE, or EM elements and found none that were unclosed. I did not move the whole thing over to BBEdit and do a thorough debug.

Because moderators are supposed to be on top of that. At least the italics-deniers of this thread have been shut up.


Joe Clark
http://joeclark.org/

Miss Tiffany's picture

Joe, I did find an open cite tag and closed it. I believe that was what fixed it. And that was a week or so ago.

dberlow's picture

Ed>It was just a thought, not a values judgment or accusation.

Accepted, thanks. You are being curious about details I'm prevented from discussing.

Cheers!

Richard Fink's picture

I just wanted to say that I hope the Font Bureau collects handsomely from NBC.
They did a piece on 60 minutes about unlicensed DVD creation and copying that was so simple-minded and biased that they deserve to pay for whatever reason.
Kudos!!!

Mark Simonson's picture

Isn't 60 Minutes on CBS?

Don McCahill's picture

Yeah, but you can't let facts get in the way of a good rant.

:)

Chris Rugen's picture

Sidestepping the 'IANAL' discussion for a moment: I'm very happy that FB has taken this action, if only because I can now point to this lawsuit when trying to nip the whole "just give me the fonts" discussion in the bud with employers and clients.

Richard Fink's picture

CBS, NBC, what's the diff? Go get 'em! Hoohah!

dezcom's picture

The difference between NBC and CBS is about a billion viewers. NBC is the worst network in U.S. market share and CBS is the best.

ChrisL

Richard Fink's picture

I just ran accross a link at Ascender's blog to this post:

Jaywalking On Fonts

By some guy named Brian Lawler who I hope, for everyone's sake, is never allowed to sit on a jury.
The article begins:
"It would have been a lot easier if NBC had bought the licenses for the fonts!"
Just a teeny bit biased are we, Mr. Lawler? (Well, it is Graphic Arts Online, after all. Gotta tell 'em what they want to hear.)
Of course the rest of the article just assumes that NBC is an infringer. Did this guy Lawler even read the complaint? Is he aware that all the suit "proves" is that NBC bought three fonts from the Font Bureau and the rest is allegation?
And that that's all you pretty much need to initiate a suit and try to sock it to a deep-pocketed defendant?
Does he question the reasoning behind NBC owing anything more, even if found liable, than the difference between the license they purchased and the license Font Bureau says they should have purchased? Was any such attempt made prior to litigation? That would have been a more civil and productive approach, don't you think, Brian?
And how about some giving some thought to the possibility of a chill effect leading to less purchases from any and all "retail" font vendors. Ever occur to you? Naw, couldn't happen.
Congrats to Brian Lawler and Graphic Arts Online for a hatchet job well done. And thanks to the Ascender blog for the link.

quadibloc's picture

When I heard of this lawsuit, at first I was puzzled. You buy a font for one computer. You print something on that computer. Then you make millions of copies of what you've printed on an offset press, or take your image with letters on it, and put it into an animation... and none of those later actions violate the license to the font. You only need a license to the font on the one computer and printer combination that converts the text to the graphic image of the letter.

But it is being alleged by the plaintiff that NBC used those fonts on more than one computer. And this is not an unreasonable suspicion if they were used in a wide variety of advertising materials that would likely have been prepared by different people working in different offices. Plus, lawsuits only require a balance of probability, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

processcamera's picture

FWIW, this is not the first time NBC TV has been sued for a design-related copyright infringement. Back in the mid 1970s, the network was penalized about $850K in cash and equipment after it introduced a new corporate logo that was already being used by a group of public TV stations in Nebraska:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBC_logos

William Berkson's picture

Richard, Brian, not being on a jury, is not required to presume innocence. I do agree that his first sentence should have been a 'what if', rather than a presumption of guilt. (He does conclude with a 'what if'.) But what exactly is mistaken in the rest of the article? I find it hard to believe that Steve Matteson did 4000 kerns in a sitting, but aside from that it seems pretty accurate, though I admit I didn't read it with great care.

As to the "chilling effect", doesn't this argument apply to all software sales? Will people stop buying software if some software manufacturers sue when large public companies violate the EULAs by distributing all over their company a piece of software licensed for only one computer?

By the way do you have no concern for the huge losses due to use of unlicensed fonts? Should foundries and developers of fonts always just shrug and let themselves--ourselves--be robbed? I am not, I should emphasize, presuming the outcome of this case. But let us suppose for the moment that Font Bureau is completely right, and NBC completely in the wrong. If that were the case, do you still think Font Bureau should do nothing?

quadribloc, I believe all software is licensed and charged by the number of computers, and when fonts became software, they started charging the same way. It may not make a lot of sense otherwise, but surely NBC is aware of the terms of the license. If you buy any font over the internet, there is almost always--and certainly at FontBureau.com--a choice of how many computers you are licensing the font for, with the price adjusted accordingly. This information is not a detail buried in a long EULA, but right in the buyer's face as part of the buying process.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Richard, I found you attack on Brian's article a lot more offensive than the article itself.

Yes, the opening sentence seems to assume guilt. But the entire rest of the body of the article is really about the broader issues of font piracy and how hard it is to make a living as a type designer. Not much to complain about there.

Does he question the reasoning behind NBC owing anything more, even if found liable, than the difference between the license they purchased and the license Font Bureau says they should have purchased?

Why should he question it? US law provides that a copyright holder may opt for either actual damages *or* statutory damages. So on the copyright claims, if NBC is found to have infringed, it is possible Font Bureau could get quite a bit more in damages than just the amount NBC failed to pay. Plus, not all of the claims were based on copyright, so there are other factors.

You're spending a lot of time on web fonts and related areas. Try spending a day reading up on copyright law. It's fascinating stuff, and not all of it is obvious or self-evident.

Cheers,

T

.00's picture

I find it hard to believe that Steve Matteson did 4000 kerns in a sitting,

Easy peasy, Bill.

If you think that's an outrageous figure, you're out of shape and better get back to the kerning gym and put some serious time in.

Spend less time here and more time on the kerning floor.

dezcom's picture

For every season, kern, kern, kern . . .

:-)

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture

James, my Williams Caslon has a total around 16,000 kerning pairs, and 600 kerning classes. I know that after that experience I'm enormously quicker now than at the start, when I was awfully slow. But how fast now I don't know. Next time I'll check and see.

quadibloc's picture

"quadribloc, I believe all software is licensed and charged by the number of computers, and when fonts became software, they started charging the same way. It may not make a lot of sense otherwise, but surely NBC is aware of the terms of the license. If you buy any font over the internet, there is almost always—and certainly at FontBureau.com—a choice of how many computers you are licensing the font for, with the price adjusted accordingly. This information is not a detail buried in a long EULA, but right in the buyer’s face as part of the buying process."

I didn't think I put anything contradicting that in my post.

Instead, I noted that the widespread use of the font in NBC's promotional materials is not necessarily evidence of a single-user EULA being violated.

If, on one computer, I type the phrase "The More You Know", and with my copy of that font on the computer, produce an image of those words set in that font - then I need to have that font licensed on that computer.

If I then take that image, the translation from individual letters to the printed page having been performed on the first computer, and do coloring, 3D-shading, and rendering into an animation of that image on a render farm of a thousand other computers - not one of those computers needs to have a copy of that font installed on it. None of them are doing any typesetting, they're only doing image processing.

So the test to determine whether the font has been pirated isn't how widespread logos using that font are - but how many different texts they contain.

Otherwise, it's like saying that since a book set in Caledonia had a print run of 30,000 copies, the publisher must have had 30,000 Linotype machines with Caledonia matrices.

If that font is important to NBC's corporate identity, it could be there is only one copy of that font in the company, in one computer in a closely guarded room - to make sure that unauthorized employees in NBC do not create official-looking materials without authorization.

dberlow's picture

>Congrats to Brian Lawler and Graphic Arts Online for a hatchet job well done.

Chainsaw on. The fact that this is a near-repeat of your Oct 9th post lends credence to the gathering view you are not exactly unbiased yourself, if indeed you are yourself.

Cheers!

William Berkson's picture

>it could be there is only one copy of that font in the company, in one computer in a closely guarded room - to make sure that unauthorized employees in NBC do not create official-looking materials without authorization.

Anybody can already buy these retail fonts--or steal them--and exactly reproduce the look of the NBC official materials, so rationale you hypothesize makes no sense. Also, if NBC indeed had such a policy and practice, I'm doubting that there would have been any law suit, or at very least that it would have been settled or dismissed by now.

Judging by the conversations on Typophile, the ignoring of EULAs is extremely widespread, and some people think type designers and foundries are a bunch of clueless whiners for objecting.

Nick Shinn's picture

Regarding the feasibility of the "one font license may be all you need" hypothesis--I pity the creative team that produces all NBC's promotional material, working on a single computer!

quadibloc's picture

I don't know how much distinct promotional material NBC has, so my hypothesis may well be untenable. Nor do I suggest they should get away with it if they are guilty.

But this one computer could be just used to set the appropriate text into type, while other aspects of the creative design - turning a line of text into a colorful logo - take place on other computers.

So my point is merely that to eliminate possibilities like that, one needs more than "oh, my, they run these logos all the time". How much typesetting with this font actually took place, not how often we see it, is what matters.

Of course, if we're talking about a lot of printed material too, it may also be that printed material was done with copies of the font in question at the printing shop... since sending the printer a PDF with an embedded font might not be allowed by the font license.

dezcom's picture

For what it would have cost them to outfit the entire PR Advertising Branding team and have peace of mind, surely must be less than the legal hassle that they have now. Come on, corporate America, own up and pay up your fare share of doing business!

ChrisL

johnbutler's picture

In the criminal justice system, words are represented by two separate yet equally important fonts: Friz Quadrata, and a crappy artificially condensed version of Friz Quadrata.

dezcom's picture

LOL!!!

ChrisL

MrElvey's picture

I was curious and looked up the case. FYI, as expected, the case settled. Terms? Who knows.

I freed and posted the court order and docket here at Scribd.

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