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Hi. I swear I’m not trying to start any flames here :) It’s just that I’m not a type professional—heck, I’m probably not even a type enthusiast by the standards of this forum—and I’m having a hard time finding information on the copyright situation of famous classic fonts.
According to Wikipedia, Futura was released on 1927 and Helvetica on 1957. So their copyright should have expired already, right? I mean, I know specific digitalizations (such as, say, Bitstream’s Futura or Adobe’s Helvetica) are copyrighted, just like specific editions of public-domain books are copyrighted. But shouldn’t the fonts per se be PD by now? Is there anything that prevents me from, say, taking a printout of the original 1927 Futura, vectorize it in FontForge, and release it as a free Futura (other than my own utter inability)? If yes, what is it, specifically? As in, what (and whose) copyright application or patent number?
And if they are in fact public domain, how come no one has released free Helveticas and Futuras to this day? Or they did, and I suck at searching?