To the law student asking about EULA's

charles ellertson's picture

The following occurred in another thread; I though it best to start a new one . . .

I'm a law student studying IP, so maybe someone could explain a few of the points in this thread to facilitate a greater typographer-attorney understanding

the PDF embedding issue seems straightforward for TrueType fonts, which can be assigned one of four levels of embedding restrictions: 1) Restricted, 2) Print & Preview (meaning read-only), 3) Editable, and 4) Installable. Other type formats may contain similar embedding schemes.

I imagine an attorney feels it his/her duty to represent the client. But in too many matters, they get their understanding of the client

abenoboy's picture

Charles-- thank you very much for addressing these issues and starting a new thread. I am the law student in question, and this is a very interesting and relevant topic of discussion.

>>I imagine an attorney feels it his/her duty to represent the client.

This is one of the fundamental problems of law. Type designers are, unless tied to large companies like Adobe, often small businesses who hire law firms, rather than in-house counsels, to draft their EULAs. Obviously, this means that the hired attorneys will attempt, given their limited expertise, to hammer out contracts that address the issues articulated to them by the client. Since most attorneys reveal, in candid conversation, that in drafting a contract in an uncertain area of law, their job is to "invent law," it follows that lawyers cannot be expected to spearhead fundamental changes in law as applied to typography. Type designers themselves are the only agents who can begin the process of EULA reform.

>>than in a PS file

what is a PS file? -- can someone explain, please?

>>NetLibrary requires the publisher, amongst other things, to send them a PDF file with the fonts fully embedded.

What level of restriction does NetLibrary require, in terms of the embedding bit? I personally see no reason why NetLibrary would ever need rights beyond "read-only." The problem is, many type foundries only allow embedding for in-house or non commercial use only (see Interrobang's excellent comparison chart). What the industry seems to need is a consistent policy that allows legal embedding for commercial, but read-only, uses such as NetLibrary. In the alternative, foundries could attempt to sign NetLibrary as a customer of their many fonts, but a likely conclusion is that NetLibrary, if faced with the prospect of licensing 1,000 fonts, would simply require its partners to submit in non-protected or a certain set or prescribed, cleared, fonts.

>>The state of things is so bad now that nobody pays much >>attention to the EULA

charles ellertson's picture

Yes. Well. From my perspective, you aren

Thomas Phinney's picture

Hmmm. Can I quote you on font prices over time? That would go well in an article I've been working on, on and off.

I can't really comment on litigation Adobe is currently involved in, except to note that it is ongoing; the decision cited above is not the entire case. I also don't think Abeno's summary is entirely accurate in some respects, so I recommend reading the decision if you're interested.



gianotten's picture

What is the entire case? The text of this legal document is written for lawyers, I assume. Is there any document made for Adobe users of fonts and PDF's that explains what the influence will be on your applications.
Is there any chance to get a PDF-editing "full text editing" technique using embedded fonts?
Regards, Henk

abenoboy's picture

> I also don't think Abeno's summary is entirely accurate in some respects, so I recommend reading the decision if you're interested.

apologies if i over-simplified the issue in the Afga v. Adobe case-- Adobe 5.0 had a feature that allowed fonts embedded in PDFs to be edited with fewer restrictions than its bit restriction allowed. Adobe corrected this with 5.05, which Afga aknowledged, but sued anyway. In any case, I agree with Thomas- read the decision if you're that interested. My point in bringing up the case was to illustrate that companies are willing to litigate over the embedded PDF issue, not to highlight specifics of the dispute.

Charles-- sorry if i missed your points. I'm new to this area of study and in addition was drunk when I posted.

>Your client tells you his main concern is to keep his fonts from being stolen.

are they being stolen in the current state of affairs you describe? In a sense, books on NetLibrary are simply more copies of the published book. Neither NetLibrary nor its customers can obtain or edit text in Mrs Eaves, if I understand it all correctly.


charles ellertson's picture

OK, you've just begun to take the first steps. What I'm really suggesting is that a lawyer has to advise their clients, and in order to do that, he/she (the lawyer) has to know the business pretty well. It will be different for magazines than for books, different still for newspapers, and yet different for print advertizing.

There will be permutations you don't expect. What you have to remember is the designer may feel that their latest creation is really good, everybody will buy it . . . but it ain't necessarily so. It reminds me of a author who was having her book published -- a print run of 2,500 copies. When discussing advertizing with the publisher's marketing department, she said "What, you're not going to take out a full-page ad in the New York Review of Books? "


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