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So I've more or less finished my 2nd font ever, "Sanford". It's a regular visitor on the whatthefont forums, but even though it gets ID'd nobody can ever provide a link to buy/download it. It's been digitized but here's no standard font file for it anywhere online.
Basically only two companies seem tied to it: Gerber makes some sort of cutter (vinyl? fabric?) and the font (under the name Marker Acct) comes with the cutter software. Another company (Silver Graphics) apparently had something to do with it, but I never saw a page where one could buy it. Maybe they made it for Gerber. They apparently went under, their website hadn't been updated in 10 years, but someone claimed they were coming back. I can't find evidence of this, there are several companies by that name if you Google it. Who knows?
So if I got my hands on an old PDF with outlines of the letters, imported it into fontlab and saved a TTF/OTF file, am I breaking the law? I'm aware American font laws are notoriously lax here anyway. What if I've added various glyphs? ---> EG @ & €?
If that's not legal, would manually retracing the glyphs make it legal? To be honest that seems silly, it's reinventing the wheel... the PDF's characters are perfect. It seems disingenuous to nudge a few nodes here and there and pretend I've now made a new font.
Lastly, legal questions aside, does anyone have an objection to it ethically?
I feel the font is basically abandonware. Someone might technically hold the rights to it, but they don't sell it. Nobody's gonna buy a multi-thousand dollar machine just to get it. Nobody can name the original creator, and of course whoever made the font for Gerber copied someone else, it's at least 40-50 years old. If you think it's ok to release it, would your stance change if I sold it vs. making it free?