This is Piracy?

Kooldez's picture

I've been wondering at this for some time now...

If I want to use a font in a headline or whatever, but I don't own the font -
Is it legal to trace that headline from say a catalog or an image?

Does that fall into the category of piracy/theft?

Rasendyll's picture

It may be legal...in some places, but I thing the bigger question is, is it ethical?

Kooldez's picture

Totally agree on the ethical side.
I was asking about the legal side though...

"...in some places" - is it piracy down under? or in Europe?

Si_Daniels's picture

More to the point is this a good use of your time?

An hour or two tracing, digitizing and cleaning up an outline, vs. $25 for a font that will last forever and has better outlines and default spacing than your effort.

thomas206's picture

Hmmm...I feel like it's not since if it's offered. Fonts are everywhere, and it's hard to trace the copyrighting of them.

blank's picture

It’s not piracy. And if you’re a student or just plain broke it’s acceptable. But as Simon noted, this is not going to save you any money if you’re doing commercial work.

Kooldez's picture

Thanks for all the answers people...

Daniels, The font in question is an Arabic font, and due to, ahem, supply-demand issues,
it costs 250 Euros (for 1 weight, the whole set costs close to 800 Euros, I only need 4 characters)

Khaled, Thanks ), i've been there and i was just questioning this particular action,
I know very well what piracy is, just got stuck with this one...

DTF, Thanks for that pat on the back )

PabloImpallari's picture

Why don't you just email the foundry about it?
Maybe they can sent you just the word you need, converted to outlines.

VBM's picture

If it were illegal or unethical, then I think there's a group of companies who owe Claude Garamond's descendants some money. They're called font forgeries, or by some senior members here, 'interpretations'. You can trace the artwork in Illustrator, and export to Fontlab. You can't give it the same name however, or say that its based on font x by somebody. That's how Richard Kegler stays in business. Just be sure that you save your file someplace, in case anyone desperate for money comes around looking for an easy frivolous lawsuit.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Occupation
>Font Pirate

Classy!

fontdesigner2's picture

In the U.S. the font is not copyrighted, so it's legal, unless it's patented (which is highly unlikely). In other countries, if it's copyrighted it's illegal.

So, in the U.S. it's legal - technically, unless they actually take you to court which they won't, but also unethical.

If the font designer states in the font's license that it's okay to trace it and do that, then it's okay, but that would be highly unusual for an artist to not care if his work is copied.

Not to sound unethical, but hypothetically, if you really wanted to you could just do it, and wait to hear from the font's designer. They may tell you to pay them for the usage and then you pay them for it. As a font designer though, I think that kind of thing is totally immoral, especially if you can totally afford to buy the font in the first place.

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