Rights to distribute fonts to third parties

kosal's picture

Hello all,
I have in my hand a letter from a potential buyer asking for a corporate license quote for one of my fonts. I've never sold or purchased fonts on a corporate scale, so this is all new to me. When I drafted my standard EULA, it wasn't specific enough to cater to the specific needs of this client.

First issue: broadcasting rights. They want to include the font in advertising for web and TV. I've always expect my fonts to be used in print/web advertising, but never TV. Should this bear any weight on the price I set for the corporate license?

Second issue: They would like "rights to distribute the font to 3rd parties – agencies and vendors doing work on their behalf." Is this normal to ask for when dealing with licensing for hundreds of computers worldwide?

My EULA certainly prohibits distributing the fonts to third parties. Would it be against the type designer's code to allow it in this case? I definitely don't want to risk losing the sale. I was hoping to allow it with a significant markup, but how much? Any thoughts?

Si_Daniels's picture

Re TV, if your end user license allows use in TV ads, then it would be hard to charge a premium for those rights. Putting this another way, if your standard EULA is vague what would you do if a customer were to use the fonts in a TV ad?

As to redist rights, that's not an unusual request - no corporate client wants to count workstations. You could however require that the fonts be redistributed with a EULA that restricts the use of the fonts to specific work - that way the agencies and vendors wouldn't have rights to use them with projects for other clients. They'd have to come back to you to get those rights.

hrant's picture

You might convey to them that if you give them redistribution rights (not at all the same thing as a site license BTW) you will effectively no longer be able to sell the font. As such, they would have to pay you handsomely.


clauses's picture


iampariah's picture


kosal's picture

sii, the point you made about not mentioning TV can certainly apply to usage on products+merchandising, which is bound to come up sooner or later. I think it's time to update my EULA. Thanks!

hrant, charging a premium for the rights to redistribute seems reasonable now. Thanks. My only dilemma now is figuring out how much is "fair", as I wouldn't know where to begin, in terms of percentages. Any ethical formula for this kind of thing?

Si_Daniels's picture

Let’s use a fictitious example, let’s say Company Y is making a new smartphone, say the “Y-Phone” and want to use your font to promote it. Theoretically Company Y might need to share the font with mobile carriers around the world, as well as some agencies, but those partners are unlikely to need site licenses, in many cases a 5, 10 or 15 user license would suffice for the marketing departments of those partners. Perhaps a total of 500 people might need the font and care to install it, even if hundreds of thousands may have access to the corporate servers that contain it. Company Y is basically buying convenience, no need to count workstations, no need to police usage, just the ability to zip up the font along with other marketing assets and distribute them to the partners. They also wouldn’t want the partners to use the fonts for other projects, so chances are there will be a license that restricts use to promotion of the Y Phone, and not other products or unrelated services.

So one approach might be to estimate the number of people who need the font, say 500. Estimate how much you’d charge for a 500 user license. Then add on a fee for convenience, and then remove a fee for limiting the fonts use to the promotion of the named product (via a EULA). Add on the normal stuff around restricting posting of fonts to the Web, the devices, etc., Then take a step back and think about competition, other similar font offerings, open source alternatives and how much it would cost to have a custom font created from scratch free from your restrictions. Then write up a quote and hope for the best.

blank's picture

They want to include the font in advertising for web and TV.

TV advertising is very expensive. I would keep in mind what that says about their marketing budget when setting the price. That said, AFAIK House is the only foundry that requires a special license for advertising, and that’s only in the case of ad agencies.

Si_Daniels's picture

> That said, AFAIK House is the only foundry that requires a special license for advertising

+p22 http://www.p22.com/support/license.html

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