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I was recently approached by a large online custom imprint firm about licensing some of my fonts for their operation. Initially, it appeared that this request would be handled as a simple server-based license but, when I received the final draft of the proposed licensing agreement, a paragraph on “Distribution” was added. Evidently, this operation has plans (how imminent is not clear) to expand beyond the virtual world to storefront operations, where customers can prepare artwork for imprinting on location, or for taking to outside printers, wherein lies the rub.
As the Distribution paragraph is now written, customers taking their files elsewhere would be supplied with copies of the fonts used in the project, which opens a completely different can of worms. If they were supplying their customers with print-ready PDFs, or with other type document with the font outlines converted to EPS or SVG, I could see this end use as an extension of the server-based licensing; however…
In an ideal world, both server-based and point-of-sale retail usage of fonts—essentially one-time outline rentals—would be metered, then paid for periodically on a per-use basis. But, until someone comes up with a way to do that, I have to decide if I want to sign on to this deal and, if so, what to ask as compensation. Any thoughts?