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I can't tell you how excited I am that WOFF is a real standard, supported by a real browser (Firefox 3.6), and pursued aggressively by a talented and prolific company like FontFont that just released more than 30 of their most successful families.
I am even more excited that my favorite FontFont family Milo and Milo Serif is among them. I have licensed many weights of Milo and the entire family of Milo Serif. And I have been wanting to use them on the web without using any hacks (Cufon, SIFR) or have them hosted somewhere (Typekit). I want the WOFF version so I can host it myself. So I have been very excited to learn that the Milo family was released in WOFF format.
And yet my excitement came to a sudden halt due to 2 things:
Reading About Web FontFonts, I find this statement:
While standard desktop fonts are licensed by the number of users or workstations using the fonts, Web FontFonts are licensed by the average pageviews per month of all the domains within the licensing organization. There are three simple license levels: up to 500,000; up to 5 million; and up to 50 million pageviews per month.
And what exactly is a pageview? In the blog comments, Ivan Bettger writes:
A pageview in this case is defined as a request to load a single page on any of your sites that use the licensed Web FontFonts. A refresh or a clickthrough would count as a pageview.
Depending on the architecture of your site, that could add up very quickly. I thought pageview was a metric that might be necessary if FontFont was hosting these fonts and needed to charge more to those who are requesting the fonts more (e.g. putting a strain on their servers and bandwidth).
If I am licensing the WOFF fonts and have them stored on my own server, how does pageview even come into play? If I was licensing the OTF versions for traditional publishing purposes, this would be like charging me less if my newspaper has a small subscriber count (a local zine) and charging me more if I'm the New York Times.
As I said, I have licensed the entire FF Milo Serif family. It wasn't cheap, but I am happy to pay for the quality and artistry of Mike Abbink's work.
Now I simply want to use the web versions of this same family but there is no explicit path for me to extend my existing license onto the web. If there is a path, please let me know.
Due to the pageview-based licensing, the price is unexpectedly high.
Keep in mind: each of the 12 fonts in the Milo Serif OTF family are sold for $65 for a total of $780.
Now if I want to license FF Milo Serif Web (WOFF) for
personal (500,000 pageviews/month), the cost is $583
business (5,000,000 pageviews/month), the cost is $2332.00
professional (50,000,000 pageviews/month), the cost is $8745.00
So for me, a previous license holder of the OTF version, that would be $583 on top of $780. Wow. Yes, I know a lot of work went into making the web versions. I know you have your own overhead. I'm not asking for it to be free. But $583? 3/4 the price of the OTF?
Keep in mind that these are all WOFF fonts that will sit on my server. Neither FontFont nor Typekit have to serve them for me. I don't take up their bandwidth or server space or anything.
So with my OTF family, I can print 50,000,000 issues of a newspaper, and the licensing will cost me just what it does if I use it on my one computer. But with the WOFF family, I have to pay depending on how popular my site is. Now, before you go and tell me that 50,000,000 pageviews would take X number of years to achieve and what not, I just want you to think about the principle of it.
Another way to think about is this: suppose every time you fire up Photoshop and use your favorite FF font, there is a counter that counts how many times you accessed that font. And you have to agree that you will stay inside a specified number of times that you are allowed to access that font before they hit you with overage charges. (just like the minutes on your cellphone)
OTF licensing is usually per computer in a single organization. WOFF licensing is per pageview. If we changed OTF licensing to reflect how many readers you have, would that make any sense? Why does it suddenly make sense for the web? I am not repeatedly accessing a service on your side. I am accessing a digital asset that I have licensed from you and it will live on my side.
Bottom line: the current Web FontFont license is metering my use of their fonts. This is a showstopper for me. As much as I wanted to use FF Milo Serif Web on my websites, I can't do it due to the reasons given above.
I would like to request that FontFont withdraw this pageview-based licensing scheme and give those of us who have already invested in the OTF version a generous and reasonable license extension. We are your customers. We enjoy your work. We want to continue working with you. Please work with us on this.
Thanks for listening.