Issue with Typeface

Ken W's picture

A friend of mine gave me set of typefaces. When I try to download it, every single typeface is called "regular", even though in finder they are all titled differently. Is there anyway I can change the name of these typefaces?

Jennifer E. Dahl's picture

@Jonathan Hoefler...that made my day. Brilliant!

Back the EULA... I understand it but I too wish there was some way around certain situations like the aforementioned "freelancer in an office for a day" situation. I watched a company shrink from 7 people to 5 to 2...they legally purchased licenses for all the computers but at the end of the day they can't recoup those costs. They can sell the computers but can't sell the fonts. I get it. I just wish there was a realistic way of protecting fonts so they COULD be resold. I know, I know, it's not going to happen but a girl can dream.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Jennifer

I just wish there was a realistic way of protecting fonts so they COULD be resold.

In Germany software can be resold. I am relatively sure. An EULA, that forbids that, is not legal in that point.

I know, I know, it's not going to happen but a girl can dream.

As long as the girl does not dream of sporty sun glassed young shiny macbooked helveticonned iphoned and -padded guys. Otherwise the girl would violate my EULA.

Nick Shinn's picture

Most EULAs have something like this (mine):

Transfer. You may not rent, lease, sublicense, distribute,
disseminate, give away or lend the Fonts. You may permanently
transfer the Fonts provided the recipient accepts the terms of
this EULA, and if you trash all your copies of the Fonts.

You may not be able to get the price you paid,
but that's generally the case with 2nd-hand merchandise.

JanekZ's picture

EULAs...


It's the issue with typeface.

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ Thomas Phinney
If you buy a book, you don't have the right to scan it and distribute PDFs of it to your friends. Or even to photocopy the entire thing and send hard copies to your friends.

For around 7000 years of human civilization, this was not the case. As one with Islamic background, I know for sure that you were allowed to copy, distribute, cite, write commentaries on books without asking original author for permissions. There are even cases of authors dying before finishing their books and some one else picking it, completing the work and releasing it with both names on it. Actually, the model for publishing books never involved paying the original author, unless they were the ones making and selling the copies, even in this case any one can make and sell other copies. And this was the case even with the introduction of printing, and it only changed in the last century or so.

This is how human civilization was built, Newton one said: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ eliason
Would you be willing to share your plans for pricing/sales/licensing/distribution on those projects?

All the three projects are free software, two are already under Open Font License (I'm not the only contributor), namely a renewal of Zapf and Kunth's Euler mathematical font (With OpenType MATH etc.), and an OpenType enriched version of STIX fonts (my work in not affiliated with STIX project, though), the other font is a revival of a famous Arabic typeface and I'm yet to decide about the license, but most probably it'll be dual licensed under OFL and GPLv3.

Nick Shinn's picture

Khaled, the Company of Stationers held a monopoly on printing and copyright in England for hundreds of years.
In many countries, governments restricted printing (and copyrights) because of the seditious power of the printed word.
So the history of copyrights is intimately connected with politics and technology.

I don't know what the situation was with regards to controlling manuscript production prior to the invention of printing.

For those interested in the history of intellectual property, I can recommend The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period, by William St Clair.

William Berkson's picture

Khaled, you didn't address my point above that fonts follow the same model as all software sales, so your argument implies all software should be freely copyable.

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ William Berkson
Khaled, what you don't address is that all software products are legally in the same situation as fonts: they are generally licensed rather than sold, and can be easily shared.

Do you think that it is horrible that if you buy a copy of MS Windows or Adobe Photoshop that you are not legally permitted to give it away to a thousand people—and they to another thousand?

The whole software industry rests on this licensing model, so if you object to it, I think you should explain how software creators can be paid for their work under another model.

If you object only to fonts being licensed rather than sold, and not to other software being licensed, then why?

I never said my concerns are only about type and fonts, but the whole proprietary software industry. And yes, to me the whole business model is flowed and immoral. There is a vibrant business around free software and it is profiting, and companies like Redhat are profiting even in depression years. Free software companies might not be multi billion dollar gorillas, but I think it is all agreed that giant corporations with near complete monopolies aren't for the best of our interest.

PS. this very forum is running a free CMS on top of a free web server on top of a free OS.

twardoch's picture

Khaled,

two aspects are in some opposition: the freedom and rights of creation against the freedom and rights of use/consumption. Another way to look at it is an opposition of the values of an individual vs. the values of the public.

The freedom and the rights of creation indicate that I should be free to create anything and to control what others can do with my creation. Philosophically, it's an extension of my personal rights and freedom. If I should be free to and have the rights to decide what may and ma not happen with my body or my property, by extension this should apply also to things I create. This value protects the individual. It defines the liberties of the individual and the duties of the public (to respect those liberties).

The freedom and the rights of use/consumption are values that protect the public. The basis of this paradigm is that no individual can acquire property or produce creation in complete isolation, so the individual carries some debt towards the public (past, present and future generations). Therefore, the public should have some way to "cash in" on an individual's creations, since those were likely to have been facilitated by the public somehow. This defines the liberties of the public and the duties of the individual.

The entire human life is based on the constant struggle to find an optimal balance between those two values. Different political and economic systems propose to shift the balance more to the left or more to the right. Liberals give more priority to the values of the individual, socialists give more priority to the values of the public. There are extremists on both sides, and there are lots of people who are somewhere in the middle, trying to find a compromise.

You're free to have a concern about one model or another, but you should be aware that this is simply your *opinion*, as valid as any. Depending on the political and economic balance of the world, your country or your community, you may have more or less chances to have things done "your way" vs. you needing to adopt to things being done "their way".

Surely there are opensource models that are profitable, and this is why I will always advocate the RIGHT for people to set up businesses that operate under an opensource model. But no OBLIGATION. I.e. I believe everyone should have a choice to manufacture, create, use, modify etc. opensource products, or to produce and use closed-soource products.

And this is, in fact, reality: you and I have a choice whether we use Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, whether we use Internet Explorer or Firefox or Safari, whether we use FontForge or FontLab Studio, whether we use Gotham or Gentium. And we have a choice what we want to do with the fruits of our work. You're free to publish your fonts under an opensource license, and Hoefler & Frere-Jones are free to publish their fonts under a license of their liking.

Three things I'd like to ask you though are:

1. How come there are so little typographically valuable typefaces published under opensource licenses? Most opensource fonts are mediocre, or they are knock-offs, or they are drawn by people who obviously cannot draw type.

There is Nimbus Roman, Tempora LGC, TeX Gyre Termes, GNU FreeFont Serif, Doulos SIL and probably a number of other opensource knockoffs of Times. There is Nimbus Sans, TeX Gyre Heros, GNU FreeFont Sans and probably some more opensource knockoffs of Helvetica. There are at least three opensource knockoffs of Palatino (Palladio, TeX Gyre Pagella, FPL Neu). But why are there so few good original designs?

2. You do realize that Hermann Zapf could afford to make Euler mostly because he had very successful deals with *commercial* font foundries (D. Stempel and later Linotype, Bitstream, URW) which paid his bills, so he could *spend* some money (essentially) to design some type that would be published under a liberal license. You know that, right?

3. How do you explain the fact that opensource versions of the same designs are far less frequently used than commercial versions? Pagella or FPL Neu are less used than Palatino or Zapf Calligraphic, Doulos, Tempora or Termes are less used than Times, and Charis is less used than ITC Charter. So it seems that people tend to pay for closed-source fonts even if free opensource versions with the same design exist. Why?

Best,
Adam

dezcom's picture

Khaled,
If instead of it only taking a few seconds of your time to copy a font and give to a friend, it would take a years worth of all your time each time you did it? Would you still give it away for free to 1,000 friends? or would you become far more judicious in your donation of your life to them?

William Berkson's picture

Very nice analysis, Adam. Thanks!

twardoch's picture

BTW, in some countries such as Germany, restrictions in mass contracts such as "non-transferable licenses" are invalid (they can only exist in individually negotiated contracts). In Germany, the value of business is protected by the law.

That is, if my company spends $200,000 for software licenses, and the licenses are non-transferable, it means that I cannot sell it, which means that it has no monetary value. So I cannot include those font licenses in my company's assets. In other words, my company just burned $200,000. A high German court ruled that such restrictions are invalid.* If I purchase software (or font) licenses, I can always sell them. This means that they actually have a value for me. This gives me confidence that I don't risk my entire money, that I can get some of my investment back if it does not work out for me.

I would like to encourage font vendors to DROP the "non-transferable" clause from their EULAs. I don't see the vast advantages that they would gain for keeping it, but it undermines their credibility, creates distrust in the customers, and actually raises the possibility of piracy. I think it is a fair and justifiable question from a client: "Why should I pay so much money for a font license if it has no monetary value because I cannot sell it?"

I would, however, be very interested in hearing from foundries who have included a "non-transferable" clause in their EULA why they have done so, what rationale is behind it, and how they explain it to their users.

A comparison: if I buy a book, I cannot redistribute the copies I make, but I can sell that very book.

A market of discounted second-hand font licenses would have its value. If students or smaller studios can buy second-hand font licenses cheaper, it's more likely that they will actually buy one rather than pirating it. The "non-transferable" clause really sends the wrong message. (In fact, in Germany, such market does exist and is doing well.)

Of course, font vendors are free to put any clauses in their EULAs they want, and in many countries, their entire EULA will be effective. In some countries, parts of their EULA will not be valid. The "non-transferable" clause is legal in the U.S. but has no effect in Germany. Why would font vendors want to "punish" their U.S. customers and sell them fonts under worse conditions than to those that their German clients get?

Best,
Adam

* Specifically, on one occasion, the German courts ruled that a clause in the EULA for System Builder versions of Microsoft Windows, which prohibited distributors from selling those versions of Microsoft Windows without accompanying hardware, was invalid. The System Builder or OEM versions of Microsoft software was much cheaper than the "normal retail" versions, came without a fancy box with just a serial number, and Microsoft's intention was that they should be only sold with new computers. But many distributors were selling them to customers without new computers, i.e. "unbundled". The court said that Microsoft was not allowed to prevent distributors from "unbundling" those versions of their software, and that such a method of price discrimination was illegal. Therefore, in Germany, those versions are being sold legally at a fraction of the price of the fancy boxed editions (which are also being sold, and are doing very well).

On another occasion, the German courts ruled that a clause that prohibited reselling of a retail software product was invalid, because such clause was "against public policy" ("sittenwidrig").

In both those cases, the German courts clearly favored the public value over the individual's value (the individual in those cases would be the software publisher).

Those kinds of decisions are being made all the time. It is completely natural for the individual to try to maximize his own rights and liberties, and it is the task for the political and judiciary system to restrict and control those, and weigh the individual's values against the values of the public. It's a constant battle, and in fact, it is the very core of politics (at least, it should be), and the core reason why public institutions and governments exist (or, should be).

twardoch's picture

Arno,

I don't think the university needs to CONTROL it. But it should require the students to sign a declaration that they have used legal assets.

At my university (in Germany, business administration and later cultural anthropology), people who wrote essays or diploma theses were required to include a declaration that they have produced the text themselves, and that they did not quote any unreferenced sources. This requirement was introduced half-way through my course and I remember that my fellow students were then more aware of the moral and possible legal implications of IP theft.

I think when teaching design, teaching design ethics should actually be an essential, core element of any curriculum. This is EXACTLY what a university is for.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Adam

I think when teaching design, teaching design ethics should actually be an essential, core element of any curriculum. This is EXACTLY what a university is for.

Totally unimportant in case of artistic creative professions. Have a look at the latest discussion about Tannenberg on the Type ID Board. Even if the NAZIS had set the tattooed number of the people, that they have murdered, in Tannenberg, it would not say anything about the quality and artificial worth of the font. There are two and only
two thing, that are immorally in art: If the artist misuses people or animals. (There is an artist, Wim Delvoye, who tattoos Disney images [I once saw a documentation about him on TV.] on the skin of living pigs. I like that project, but I must admit, it is immorally.) The second and almost more important thing is, not to boast about the creative work of anybody else. So pirating a font or any other piece of art or design and changing the copyright info to his own name, that is the most immoral thing one can do.

A person, that needs to be taught, that he should not boast about the creative work of others, will never create fine art, because he is a mental alga and the best profession for him would be photosynthesis.

But EULA freaks can trust in the incompetence of politicians:
http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/08/minister-for-digital.html

I am out off topic (as almost all except from Ken), but here a link to another project of Wim Delvoye: http://www.wimdelvoye.be/cloacafactory.php#

William Berkson's picture

Khaled, you have the merit of consistency.

The problem with having no legal protection for software becomes particularly clear when we consider music and movies. There the usual up-front costs of production are from a hundred thousand, for a music album, to tens or even hundreds of millions for a commercial movie. Without the money from sales of digital copies of these most probably would never get made at all. Also, as others have pointed out before, a lot of production of the freely sharable software is subsidized by salaries from universities and private industry. These subsidized activities are really special cases, and cannot, IMHO, be taken as a general model for everything digital.

charles ellertson's picture

I like Adam's analysis. In many ways, it parallels the difference between "freedom from" and "freedom to" that confuses so many in the States when the topic of "freedom" come up.

And I suppose eventually the marketplace may sort things out. For example, in the States, there are several university presses that have adopted a policy that only Adobe fonts can be used. The usual reason given is the generous Adobe EULA, and ease of further licensing for other, non-print purposes.

But the marketplace is slow, and it could be easy to get seriously disadvantaged during this sorting process. For example, there are a number of university pressses that require the typesetter to supply them, in addition to the PDF used for printing the book, with both the applications files and the fonts used. The later breaks the typesetter's EULA. One of our occasional customers is such a press, and I have resisted, agreeing to send the application files, but not the fonts. This may cost us a customer.

I am told that another large university press -- for whom we do no work, so this is second-hand information -- has licenses for all the Adobe fonts and all Monotype fonts. They require all designs to use only these fonts. Additionally, typesetter is required to include the fonts used as a part of the data sent the publisher at the end of the job. Again, technically, even though the press has licensed copies of the fonts, this breaks the typesetters EULA (number of copies of fonts allowed).

In addition to that technical violation, there is another issue. I do work on most of our typefaces. For example, our Minion has a number of characters not included in the Foundry fonts. There are also extra features and kerning beyond what is in the foundry fonts. My belief, perhaps in error, is that one of the reason publishers use us is the extra work that has gone into many of our fonts. If I then give the publisher the fonts, they could send them to another, less expensive composition shop, and a competitive edge we worked quite hard for will be lost.

I suppose we might have some legal recourse, but we are small, and have neither the time nor resources for lawsuits. And we still would have broken the EULA, so who knows what the courts would decide.

The purpose of the EULA should be to protect the designer and/or publisher of the fonts. The two things I see that need protection are financial compensation, and reputation. As is so often the case, the legal language used to try and achieve this creates additional problems. Secondly, the information needed by a publisher (how much will it cost) is not readily available from many foundries. Thirdly, what is technically feasible with multiple uses of data (say, a book in electronic format) keeps outstripping the language of the license.

I don't see obvious solutions. But what font designers have to understand is (1) there are legitimate concerns beyond their own, and (2) an insistence on stringent protection can result in the marketplace refusing to use their products.

Charles Ellertson

david h's picture

> 4. Many design colleges and universities do not require licensing
> proof from students that the assets (fonts, images etc.) they used are
> legally acquired.

???

'Many design colleges and universities do not require licensing
proof from students that the assets (pens, food, notebooks etc.) they used are
legally acquired.'

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ Adam

I've no problem with people expressing their own rights on their own "creations", but when they want to exchange those "creations" with my money, their rights stop and my rights begin. They are not doing me a favour, they are selling me a product and I, as a customer, have the very right to be concerned about my freedom.

I also have no problem with people doing non-free software (and type), though I've my own ethical concerns, but it is still there very right to do so, and when it comes to work of artistic value, I can tolerate a bit of extra restrictions. What I'm really concerned about is the draconian rules most EULA's have, you talked about non-transferable licenses but there are also other unbelievable restrictions like number of computers or processors, or number of page views (my first reaction reading things like that was WTF), or no modification even for personal use (WTF, even a "viral" license like GPL which requires all modification to be released under GPL, says if you don't distribute the modified versions you are not required to release your modifications), or other similar draconian rules.

There is Nimbus Roman, Tempora LGC, TeX Gyre Termes, GNU FreeFont Serif, Doulos SIL and probably a number of other opensource knockoffs of Times. There is Nimbus Sans, TeX Gyre Heros, GNU FreeFont Sans and probably some more opensource knockoffs of Helvetica. There are at least three opensource knockoffs of Palatino (Palladio, TeX Gyre Pagella, FPL Neu). But why are there so few good original designs?

I'd not used the word "knockoff", all aforementioned fonts are legitimately released under free licenses by their copyright holders (Pagella for example based on Palatino version Zapf did for URW who later released it under GPL etc.)

Back to the main question, apparently artists, unlike software developers, are not so interested in the idea of sharing and free software; you can see many talented programmers contributing to free software (and many end up being paid for doing that), but you can hardly find any artists, yet the very talented ones. Why is that, I don't know and I sincerely wish to know.

2. You do realize that Hermann Zapf could afford to make Euler mostly because he had very successful deals with *commercial* font foundries (D. Stempel and later Linotype, Bitstream, URW) which paid his bills, so he could *spend* some money (essentially) to design some type that would be published under a liberal license. You know that, right?

AFAIK, Hermann Zapf were commissioned by AMS to design Euler (Knuth and his students did the digitization) and AMS released it under free license (last year they re-licensed all their fonts, including Euler under OFL.)

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ dezcom
If instead of it only taking a few seconds of your time to copy a font and give to a friend, it would take a years worth of all your time each time you did it? Would you still give it away for free to 1,000 friends? or would you become far more judicious in your donation of your life to them?

That was never the point, I can give a book to friend who would hand copy it, and I've seen this happening (because the friend didn't even have enough money to photocopy it), the point is that that I've the right and the freedom to share it.

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ William Berkson
The problem with having no legal protection for software becomes particularly clear when we consider music and movies. There the usual up-front costs of production are from a hundred thousand, for a music album, to tens or even hundreds of millions for a commercial movie. Without the money from sales of digital copies of these most probably would never get made at all. Also, as others have pointed out before, a lot of production of the freely sharable software is subsidized by salaries from universities and private industry. These subsidized activities are really special cases, and cannot, IMHO, be taken as a general model for everything digital.

That is all based on the assumption that giving free copies or allowing people to share their copies will hinder sales, but no one took the very basic effort to prove that.

To the contrary, there are well known occasions of free sharing increasing sales. For example the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho is known for "pirating" his own books and spreading it through per-to-pear networks which increased not decreased book sales.

There is also that Norwegian study finding that those who downloaded "free" music – whether from lawful or seedy sources – were also 10 times more likely to pay for music.

agisaak's picture

To the contrary, there are well known occasions of free sharing increasing sales. For example the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho is known for "pirating" his own books and spreading it through per-to-pear networks which increased not decreased book sales.

I'm not familiar with this case, but it seems that an important point here is that it was the author's own choice to take this particular action. Most instances of piracy are done *against* the wishes of the author/designer, so this instance hardly can be used as part of an ethical comparison.

I'm dubious of claims that piracy as a general rule increases sales, but even if this turns out to be the case, one can't use this as a justification for theft of intellectual property -- after all, it is well within one's rights to choose a marketing or sales strategy which may be less than optimal.

André

ralf h.'s picture

>>when they want to exchange those "creations" with my money, their rights stop and my rights begin.

That's just plain wrong. If you purchase a font license you enter a legal contract. The vendor offers a product under certain conditions and the moment you purchase the license you agree to these conditions and you enter the contract. It's not any different from signing a contract for renting an apartment, where you are bound to certain rules and will be legally held responsible if you break them.
You have no "right" to exceed the number of CPUs/page views or whatever. You have voluntarily agreed to these restrictions. And as I have explained before: These are not "draconian rules": The price of the fonts is directly based on these restrictions (– calculated in a way to make a living for the designer and foundry from the expected sales). If you want a font license with no limitations, you can have that – but for a very different price.

Arno Enslin's picture

I'm dubious of claims that piracy as a general rule increases sales, but even if this turns out to be the case, one can't use this as a justification for theft of intellectual property

Oh man, 99.9% percent of all pirates neither change the name of the font nor the name of the designer stored in the copyright info. It can be a theft of intellectual property only, if another person claims, that he is the designer.

@ Ralf Hermann

As I already said,you cannot break contracts, in which you have not agreed. And if your EULA has absurd limitations, you should not wonder, if potential customers don’t agree, because they have to fear, that they loose their license. So at least you should guarantee, that those ones, that violate your EULA in your opinion, get their money back, if they loose their license. Do you guarantee that? I assume, you don’t. As long as the pirates don’t steal all of the backups of your fonts, they cannot steal your fonts.

William Berkson's picture

Khaled,

There is every strong evidence that employment of journalists has declined, because of decline in newspaper sales, on account of free internet news. This is the subject of very widespread discussion and concern in the US.

>There is also that Norwegian study finding that those who downloaded "free" music – whether from lawful or seedy sources – were also 10 times more likely to pay for music.

You are missing the fact that people are moved to buy because they want to be legal. Under your rules, it would not be illegal to share all music, videos, software applications, or fonts. All digital files would be "shareware," in the sense of free, fully functional files for which producers could only ask for contributions. While there is a still some niche market for such software, the Wikipedia article on Shareware makes clear that the once widespread practice of shareware in Games, for example, contracted to a small part of the market because by paying programmers and writers, commercial firms were able to produce superior games.

I think that recent history shows that under the free shareware + contribution model, the great majority of the fantastic software we have available would not exist.

Further, it seems your position is against any kind of intellectual property rights. This would go back to the time when publishers could print a new edition of a book by an author without paying the author.

Whether something is just or not depends on whether there is another way to organize society that will get the same benefits in a way that is fairer. It seems to me that your proposal--all shareware--is proven not viable as getting the same benefits, both in fonts and in other digital products such as games, music, and movies. Therefore, I think you cannot legitimately argue that anything but free shareware is unethical.

If producers don't get paid, you will get fewer quality products. Therefore, if you want a realistic alternative, it has to include a realistic way for producers to get an income.

Arno Enslin's picture

And please don’t compare the piracy of fonts with the piracy of music. If you confederate with the music industry, you really loose sympathy. If you claim, that you have the same problem as the music industry, people think, that you are in a comparable financial situation.

ralf h.'s picture

@Arno Enslin
>>you cannot break contracts, in which you have not agreed.

Sure. But I was referring to customers who bought the font license, but think they are not bound to the EULA. If you are talking about pirated commercial fonts, then obtaining the fonts is already illegal. Breaking the EULA or downloaded fonts illegally – it doesn't make a difference.
(I already agreed that "stealing" is not the right word in this context.)

BTW: Our EULA allows to modify the fonts and you are free to sell the fonts again, if you agree to let us know, so we can file the change of the licensee in our database. Not so draconian after all, is it?

ralf h.'s picture

you should guarantee, that those ones, that violate your EULA in your opinion, get their money back, if they loose their license. Do you guarantee that?

Is this a serious question?
Then every user could just use the font (to set a brochure/logo or whatever), break the license voluntarily and ask for the money back. Software is a non-returnable good once it was used or unsealed – according to the law – for example here in Germany.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Ralf Herrmann

You mean I can get a single user license and then I am allowed to sell the font? Cool. Probably you are talking about an all user license for a custom font. Anything like this. But I will have a look at your EULA.

If you are talking about pirated commercial fonts, then obtaining the fonts is already illegal.

As far as I know, downloading commercial software, music and so on is allowed (not punishable) in Germany. (You are not allowed to use it in your company. And you are not allowed to upload it.)

Edited

Which EULA do you mean? The one from FDI fonts?

ralf h.'s picture

You mean I can get a single user license and then I am allowed to sell the font?

It means that you can transfer the standard user license of any font you bought to another user/company. If you do this for free or charge for it, is up to you. You need to delete all fonts and the new user will henceforth be treated as if he had purchased the license.

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ William Berkson
There is every strong evidence that employment of journalists has declined, because of decline in newspaper sales, on account of free internet news. This is the subject of very widespread discussion and concern in the US.

It is because journalists fail to provide a kind of service that people want, when was it last time you read anything interesting a newspaper? Here in my country, newspaper do "steal" stories from bolgs! You don't keep your business by locking-in you customers, but providing the service they are looking for.

You are missing the fact that people are moved to buy because they want to be legal.

So, you are telling me that people were buying Coelho books because they are afraid that he, who pirated his own books, would sue them?

All digital files would be "shareware," in the sense of free, fully functional files for which producers could only ask for contributions.

I never talked about shareware, I'm talking and advocating free software; a software model in which you can make money in many different ways other than over charging your users or forcing draconian licensing rules on them.

Further, it seems your position is against any kind of intellectual property rights.
That is your own interpretation. To me, intellectual rights is your right for your own work to be attributed to you, and doing otherwise is a theft of your intellectual "property" (though I don't agree with the term "property" here, but lets not get into this now).

This would go back to the time when publishers could print a new edition of a book by an author without paying the author.

And this is a bad thing?

Khaled Hosny's picture

@ agisaak
I'm not familiar with this case, but it seems that an important point here is that it was the author's own choice to take this particular action. Most instances of piracy are done *against* the wishes of the author/designer, so this instance hardly can be used as part of an ethical comparison.

A said just above the paragraph you cited:That is all based on the assumption that giving free copies or allowing people to share their copies will hinder sales.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Ralf

Yes, sure it is a serious question. Who is in the burden of proof, if you claim, that your EULA was violated?

I just saw, that your EULA does not include the permission to create a PDF for commercial purposes. You have to get an extra license, if you want to do that. So, if I have a comercial website, on which I publish a PDF, for which I have used one of your fonts, you could say, that this already is a violation of your EULA, because it may be, that I earn more money with my website, because I have published the nice PDF with your font there, although the PDF can be downloaded for free.

ralf h.'s picture

Who is in the burden of proof, if you claim, that your EULA was violated?

Probably we are. Backed up by a decision of a court.

I just saw, that your EULA does not include the permission to create a PDF for commercial purposes.

You read wrong. You only need an additional license if you sell each copy of this PDF.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Ralf

Yes, you are right. The paragraph above the one, to which I was regarding, excludes another interpretation. But what is with websites, on which the membership costs anything? If I publish PDF with hardcore and Graublau on my xxx website? Is the PDF free of charge then or do my customers pay partly for the PDF, although I only take money for the membership from them? I mean, you don’t belong to the bad guys, but my question is not wayward.

twardoch's picture

Khaled,

> I'm talking and advocating free software; a software model in which you can
> make money in many different ways other than over charging your users or
> forcing draconian licensing rules on them.

What do you mean by "over charging"? There are tens of thousands of fonts on the market. If people decide to buy certain fonts, they agree to the price. If the price is too high for them, they just buy a cheaper font. And they do with a "free" font.

Draconian licensing rules are not exclusive to closed-source software. GPL licensing rules are draconian. And there are many licenses, both opensource and closed-source, that cannot be called "draconian".

You seem to be viewing everything that is not "white" by your own rules as "black". That's a naive view, in my opinion.

One can dispute certain aspects of any model — such as I have done above in the case of the "non-transferable" rule in some font EULAs, or as I frequently do in case of GPL or the abuse (privatization) of the word "free" by some opensource advocates — but I think completely dismissing one model and blindly advocating another is somewhat immature, I think.

The world would not be a better place if all software were opensource overnight. It's more refined than that.

A.

twardoch's picture

> AFAIK, Hermann Zapf were commissioned by AMS to design Euler
> (Knuth and his students did the digitization) and AMS released
> it under free license (last year they re-licensed all their
> fonts, including Euler under OFL.)

So what you're saying is that the opensourcing process of Euler was paid by students of Stanford University, whose tuition money was used to pay for Knuth's and his students' time, or by the members of the American Mathematical Society, whose annual membership fees were used to pay for Zapf's, Knuth's and the students' time?

Well, that's a model just as OK as anything else. I don't see how it would be any better or worse from me paying directly the price for the fonts I use. Some people can advocate that it's better, others can advocate that it's worse. If I'm a student at Stanford University, I pay my tuition but I have no control how this money is spent. This also happens with taxes. I need to trust the institution that distributes the money (the university, the state) to use my money wisely and somehow use my or someone else's money to produce goods or deliver services that somehow will also be beneficial to myself. Otherwise, there's no sense in paying tuitions or taxes.

It's not like opensource fonts or software "magically get paid for themselves", or that the opensource models use some "other ways" to make money that are inherently better than straight licensing fees. Lots of opensource projects are financed by educational and research institutions that get the money from, among others, me. So *I pay*. Sometimes for stuff that is useful to me, sometimes for stuff that is useless to me.

But I pay because I subscribe to the system of tax-funded investments since some projects are better done that way. But I also subscribe to the system or private payments because other projects are better realized that way. Looking for an optimal mixture is the big goal.

What you're advocating, i.e. opensourcing everything, means that everything will be state-funded from my taxes. Everything is "common goods". It's a nice system.

Wait... I actually grew up and lived in such system. The country was called People's Republic of Poland, it existed from 1945 to 1989. The system was called "socialism" or "real socialism" by its proponents (who liked very much to talk about "freedom" in the sense that they defined for their own purpose), and "communism" by everyone else.

There is general consensus among the people who actually lived in that system that they're better up when the system is now gone. I agree with them. But good luck in your effort to set up Communism 2.0. Perhaps it'll be better than Communism 1.0.

But please, count me out from your experiments. I prefer to live the way I live now. That's *real* freedom.

Adam

Christopher Adams's picture

What precisely are the mechanics and technicalities of a "transfer" of a valid license of a font? Given the finding that such a right is ethically and legally sound (pace any EULA to the contrary), how does it bear out in practice?

A traditional criterion might be the transfer of the physical media (i.e., disk) on which said font software was sold. Now that most fonts are sold via direct download, one might specify the original software file (customarily a .zip file containing font files, license, and supporting documentation). Personally, I do not see why anyone would pay for such a transfer (of a "used" font) in the absence of receiving these originating documents.

Would anyone like to share an anecdote regarding the transfer of font licenses?

Additionally, since some of the more savvy font vendors maintain records of purchased fonts, why couldn't a customer elect to transfer ownership to a different user within the system, after which the font would no longer be available for download by the original customer?

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Adam

Hehe, you don’t seem to be a lost vote for my comrades. No experiments! Thank you Fox News for keeping us infromed!

Nick Shinn's picture

Khaled, what is wrong with "creative" individuals being able to capitalize digital products?
I reject the idea that intellectual property should not be productized, because it restricts me to generating income from fees or accessories (merchandise such as T-shirts).
Why should the mass digital market not be open to individual content creators, and only to Big Silicon, with its hardware, major applications, and internet service provision? Micro-payment seems like an idea whose time will come.

This talk about "fonts should be free" (type designers, please find another way to make a living) occurs because it is easy to pirate fonts, and otherwise righteous folk who have done so feel called upon to justify their actions. There is also the Marxist critique. And the "work is not art, only ideas are" conceptual/curatorial perspective. And the "all typefaces are just copies of other typefaces anyway" camp. What all these have in common is those who don't get what my form of "creative" is, and/or don't value it, would like me to work for less, preferably for nothing. Thanks, but I prefer not to be a ragged-trousered philanthropist.

Sure, a certain amount of "free" (from piracy, free/share-ware, and bundling) is built into the font market presently and does to an extent catalyze and grease it. But it exists in balance with the typical font EULA. That is the nature of marketplaces, as Thomas and Nick have pointed out. Complex, homeostatic.

Ideally, I would like to live in a world where property is theft, but that doesn't appear to be practical. Please don't pick on type designers as your scapegoat for this shortcoming. This is a fledgling creative industry that should be encouraged.

ralf h.'s picture

pace any EULA to the contrary

The usual "non-transferrable" clause just means you can't transfer the license without the foundry. I a pretty sure that many foundries will agree to transfer a license on request.

Personally, I do not see why anyone would pay for such a transfer (of a "used" font) in the absence of receiving these originating documents.

That's why you need the foundry. They will send the original licensee a form where they agree to the transfer and agree to delete all the files. The new licensee will be treated as if they had bought the license directly from the vendor.

A good example would be the new webfonts. A webdesign studio might buy licenses of a couple of webfonts from FSI and suggest them to a client. Once the client chooses one, this font license would then be transfered to the client with aproval from FSI.

phrostbyte64's picture

I want to see an example of this fictional business model where, I as the designer, can make more money giving away fonts than I can make selling them. I've given away over 100,000 free for personal use license fonts on various sites and haven't made a plug nickle. Now, I'm not stupid enough to think that these fonts are not ending up on commercial layouts. I'm also not stupid enough to think that these designers aren't getting paid while using my fonts. So, where are my big profits. I've got an electrric bill due soon.

Personally, I find some of the EULAs draconian (gotta love that word.) Simple solution, don't buy from those designers/foundries and choose a different font. On the other hand, I wish that I could come up with a font or family that I could sell for such prices and folks would grumble about my EULAs.

Quincunx's picture

> As I already said,you cannot break contracts, in which you have not agreed. And if your EULA has absurd limitations, you should not wonder, if potential customers don’t agree

To which you have not agreed? Actually, you have agreed to it at the moment you purchase a license to the fonts, that is how most EULA's work. The act of purchasing it, is agreeing to the contract.

> Back to the main question, apparently artists, unlike software developers, are not so interested in the idea of sharing and free software; you can see many talented programmers contributing to free software (and many end up being paid for doing that), but you can hardly find any artists, yet the very talented ones. Why is that, I don't know and I sincerely wish to know.

Because those "artists" have a business to run, a house to pay and food to buy. You can't do that by sharing or giving your goods away for free, even if there could be a potential fee at some point down the line. You have to realise a lot of type designers are a one-man-business, they earn their living with selling their typefaces. Please explain how you imagine a type designer earning a living by open-sourcing their typefaces if those typefaces are their only source of income?

> I've no problem with people expressing their own rights on their own "creations", but when they want to exchange those "creations" with my money, their rights stop and my rights begin. They are not doing me a favour, they are selling me a product and I, as a customer, have the very right to be concerned about my freedom.

Actually, they are not selling you a product, but licensing it to you. Basically, you are renting it. As with any rented goods, you are never free to do what you want with it. If you want to buy a typeface to be able do everything you want with it, you could always try to acquire the rights to the design, but that would obviously cost you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars/euros. :)

That was never the point, I can give a book to friend who would hand copy it, and I've seen this happening (because the friend didn't even have enough money to photocopy it), the point is that that I've the right and the freedom to share it.

Not really actually, as most books contain a disclaimer in the colophon stating something like this: "No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher". Whenever it says something like that, you do not have the right and freedom to share it in the way you describe.

> I'm talking and advocating free software; a software model in which you can make money in many different ways other than over charging your users or forcing draconian licensing rules on them.

Overcharging? If you can't afford a particular product, then you find an alternative that you can afford! This is true for every product, including typefaces. I really can't see why typefaces or software in general should be any different.

Arno Enslin's picture

To which you have not agreed? Actually, you have agreed to it at the moment you purchase a license to the fonts, that is how most EULA's work. The act of purchasing it, is agreeing to the contract.

Sure. But if you don’t license a font, you cannot violate the EULA, because you have not agreed in it. You cannot loose a license, if you have none.

dezcom's picture

There are very, very few type designers who can charge higher than market prices and still make money. Those few make much, much more than the typical typeface designer. They are a combination of very good, very famous, and very well marketed. There are enough people who are willing to pay their asking price that they have no need to worry about selling to "starving minimally employed graphic designers" and students. I don't see this as any more of a problem than buying a Ferrari. Sure, I would like to have one of the hideously expensive cars but I cannot even afford to dream about it so I don't. I buy the typically priced car and drive it until it dies. Is the new Ferrari worth 50 times more than my 10 year old Volkswagon Jetta? Probably not. Would it be sensible for me to buy one anyway? Surely not. Does that amount of head-turning appeal, cache, gloat-ability, wrongly perceived Babe-Magnetism or studly penis-envy make the car justifiable for theft? Not to me. I know I can't have all the toys that look amusing in the world. Like most people, I know the rich kids get the most expensive toys, and I could care less. Would I like it if my fonts sold at high prices? Sure I would. oh well, such is life. My VW gets me there and back just the same and I don't have to worry about where I park it.

Quincunx's picture

> Sure. But if you don’t license a font, you cannot violate the EULA, because you have not agreed in it. You cannot loose a license, if you have none.

A license is a document that tells you what you can and cannot do with a product. If you have not agreed to the licence (i.e. by downloading the product) you don't have any rights to use the product at all, because those haven't been granted to you.

twardoch's picture

Quincunx,

that is very true. General copyright legislation works so that unless you haven't been granted any rights, you don't have any rights.

A.

Arno Enslin's picture

Sure; again. But I only try not to be a bad man, which means, that I have not agreed in the laws. In other words, I don’t respect laws, just because they are laws and therefore, as some people seem to think, moral instances. So at least in case of me, the argument, that I would violate laws, does not work. But for clarification: Having unlicensed fonts stored on my harddisk for testing purposes and private use is absolute okay. Earning money with the help of these fonts would be absolute not okay.

In my opinion especially the comment with the Helveticons in the beginning of the thread was really embarrassing and abhorrent, especially because at that point of time nobody could know, that the topic starter of this topic is the son of a rich man. If I would be Ken, I would not have justified for using the Helveticons. I simply had said "**** you!" or I had ignored that comment.

Quincunx's picture

> Sure; again. But I only try not to be a bad man, which means, that I have not agreed in the laws. In other words, I don’t respect laws, just because they are laws and therefore, as some people seem to think, moral instances. So at least in case of me, the argument, that I would violate laws, does not work.

So, basically you just pick and choose which laws you like and which laws you don't like. Firstly, that is a very weak argument. Secondly, how is depriving a type designer of their income by downloading their work for free moral? And lastly, we should be glad that not everybody picks and chooses which laws they like to follow.

Arno Enslin's picture

So, basically you just pick and choose which laws you like and which laws you don't like.

If a law is absurd and if the risk is low, naturally! I don’t have a contract with the rulers.

Secondly, how is depriving a type designer of their income by downloading their work for free moral?

You don’t get it. In your imagination there seem to be small men riding through cables or on electromagnetic waves. And each of them has a big bag, in which he puts all the robbed peas, carrots, Audi A3s, Porsches and Ferraris. You even don’t know, that a Jaguar is the only acceptable car for a man. (I don’t have a car that I could have bought from the win of the sold peas which the small men have carried to me.) Downloading does not hurt anyone. Earning money with unlicensed fonts hurts. I am really nerved by all this paranoia.

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