typeface copyright question

shielddesign's picture

If a person owns a copy of a typeface does that mean they can hand draw it? Like say one owns Nelly Script. Can one sit and draw it and then use that drawing in a poster?

So say someone were doing a poster and instead of using the Nelly Script itself in the poster they hand drew the letters (and scanned them in) using Nelly script as a close reference. Is that copyright infringement or rightful use of something you own the right to use?

Si_Daniels's picture

Assume you’re talking about fonts that look hand drawn, not high-fidelity copies? If so I've never seen a font license that mentions hand drawing/tracing. I've also never heard of anyone getting into trouble hand drawing or tracing a licensed typeface for use in a poster. However, I have heard of people getting cease and desists when they’ve redistribute fonts that they’ve hand drawn/traced using high profile commercial fonts as models – in these cases they were also using the original fonts name in the promotion of the hand drawn version - making this more of a trademark issue than a copyright issue.

shielddesign's picture

yes it would not be to sell the font, but just to get a hand drawn look for the posters while using a typeface as a close inspiration.

So then would the license for the typeface include being able to look at it and hand draw it for graphic design work?

Like if it was okay to use the font does that automatically make it okay to use a drawing of the font?

Si_Daniels's picture

Like I said - I've never seen a license that mentions this activity.

ralf h.'s picture

>>Can one sit and draw it and then use that drawing in a poster?

Of course. It's nothing else than applying Photoshop filters to a typeface or manipulate the outline to create a logotype.

shielddesign's picture

Great, thank you both!

BlueStreak's picture

As I understand it, in the U.S., there is very little to protect a typeface. There is no copyright protection and only very novel and unique typefaces are able to argue for design patent protection. The primary legal protections come regarding the software, i.e. the font. Draw yourself silly. That's really old-school type work and I miss my days hunkered over an Art-O-Graph.

And Simon is a Seahawks fan! I'm so sorry dude. [insert uncontrollable laughter]

Si_Daniels's picture

>And Simon is a Seahawks fan!


Go Oilers ;-)

Diner's picture

Just saw this thread . . .

As the developer of the Nelly Script face, there is no restriction in our EULA that prohibits you from creating an illustration that references for forms of the font and using that on a poster . . .

We'd love to see a copy when you print it, otherwise feel free to contact us in the future if you have any other questions or for your own future reference, definitely contact the font author since everybody has their own ways of doing things . . .


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