Quick question about font licensing

123eyes's picture

Hey guys,

I've just been scanning through the licenses for several fonts I own, specifically the Helvetica Neue & Trade Gothic families. Admittedly, I get easily confused by reading legal-speak, but it almost sounds as though the license doesn't allow me to use the font commercially - i.e. in design work that I am paid for... surely this isn't the case...

This bit in particular is confusing:

"Personal or Internal Business Use" shall mean Use of the Font Software for your customary personal or internal business purposes and shall not mean any distribution whatsoever of the Font Software or any component or Derivative Work thereof...

...You are hereby granted a non-exclusive, non-assignable, non-transferable (except as expressly permitted herein) license to access the Font Software (i) only in a Licensed Unit, (ii) only for your Personal or Internal Business Use, and...

Any ideas what this actually means in the real world? I can still use these fonts for paid design work, right?

Thanks so much,

.00's picture

You do not own the fonts. You own a license to use the "Font Software" for Personal and Internal Business Use

The EULA is referring to the "Font Software". So if use the "Font Software" to create documents or designs where the "Font Software" stays under the internal control of the number of workstations it was licensed for, you have no problem using the "Font Software" for paid design work. If you use the "Font Software" in a product, such as an e-book or in some other situation where the embedding of the "Font Software" becomes part of a "Commercial Product", then you have a problem.

123eyes's picture

Terminaldesign: many thanks for the reply. Much appreciated. Apologies, understand I don't 'own' the fonts, but only a license for use as you say - just a bad choice of words.

I'm trying to decide whether or not to use one of those fonts for a paid design project. It's a printed document, so that's okay from a licensing point of view.

But the client mentioned something about being able to put the electronic version of the document on their website (PDF) as a free download. Obviously, the fonts would be embedded as a subset in the PDF.

I see this happening all the time on other websites - but I'm wondering: is it actually permitted?

And is this type of thing worth being concerned about in reality?

Thanks again

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Linotype’s EULA states:

“Embedding of the Font Software into electronic documents or Internet pages is only permitted under the absolute assurance that the recipient cannot use the Font Software to edit or create a new document (read-only). It must be ensured that the Font Software cannot be fully or partially extracted from said documents.”

and 1.6:
“The licensee may electronically distribute Font Software embedded in a document for Personal or Internal Business Use only when the Font Software embedded in such document is in a static graphic image (for example, a “gif”) or an embedded electronic document, and is distributed in a secure format that permits only the viewing and printing (and not the editing, altering, enhancing, or modifying) of such static graphic image or embedded document.
The licensee may not embed Font Software in a Commercial Product without a separate written license from Linotype GmbH, and the licensee may not embed Font Software in an electronic document or data file for any reason other than his own Personal or Internal Business Use.”

I don’t get the italics.

123eyes's picture

Hey there frode frank,

You mean you don't get 'for Personal or Internal Business Use' ?

I actually called Monotype about this earlier just out of curiosity, and they told me that embedding those fonts is okay as long as the PDF isn't being sold. I explained that it would simply be a free online version of my client's printed document - they said this was fine.

Still, I'm having a hard time equating what they've told me on the phone with what's written in the EULA.

Do licensed users ever actually get into trouble for font embedding? Seems really complicated..


Frode Bo Helland's picture

1.6 seems to say a PDF is fine as long as it’s not published.

Some foundries require an extra licensing fee for these situations.

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