Basic Commercial and Morris Fuller Benton

wohnesorg's picture

Regarding LinoLetter 03/05 - "Designs Determined to Inspire" uploaded by Mr. Thorsten Weil on 3rd March 2005 to this Typophile forum, I would like to add the following remarks to Section 2 on "Basic Commercial":

2. The Typeface in the New York Subway System - Basic Commercial

As far as sans serif text faces go, you'll always be on the
safe side with this old favorite: the Basic Commercial font
family epitomizes clear and objective design. These classic
forms have very few unusual qualities, and remain both
lively and legible in all weights. Perhaps this anonymity is
the reason that Basic Commercial's style has been popular
with graphic designers for decades!

Basic Commercial's design has a century's worth of history
behind it. The typeface was distributed for many years in
the United States under the name Standard Series, where it
worked its way into many aspects of daily life and culture:
for instance, it was the face chosen for use in the New
York City subway system's signage.

Grab all eight Basic Commercial font styles together in one
low-price value pack:
http://www.linotype.com/6-2387-6/basiccommercialvp.html


1) "Akzidenz Grotesk" by Adobe

More than 15 years ago, in 1989, Adobo published the font "Akzidenz Grotesk" with the following copyright notice:

"Copyright (c) 1989 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. The digitally encoded machine readable software for producing the Typefaces licensed to you is copyrighted (c) 1989 Adobe Systems. This software is the property of Adobe Systems Incorporated and its licensors, and may not be reproduced, used, displayed, modified, disclosed or transferred without the express written approval of Adobe."

Mr. Thomas Phinney of Adobe Inc. contends with reference to this Adobe copyright notice that it was Adobe that created in the year 1989 this "font software program" as "original work of authorship".


2) "Basic Commercial" by Linotype

About 5 years ago, in 2000, Linotype published exactly the same font. "Exactly the same" means that both fonts (Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" and Linotype's "Basic Commercial") have completely identical glyphs and that both fonts are completely identical "font software programs".

However, in the "Basic Commercial", Adobe's copyright notice was removed and replaced by this notice:

"Copyright (c) 2000, 2002, 2003 Linotype Library GmbH, www.linotype.com. All rights reserved. This software may not be reproduced, used, displayed, modified, disclosed or transferred without the express written approval of Linotype Library GmbH. Basic Commercial is a trademark of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG which may be registered in certain jurisdictions, exclusively licensed through Linotype Library GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. This typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton. The design may be protected in certain jurisdictions."

Mr. Bruno Steinert of Linotype GmbH contends with reference to this Linotype copyright notice that it was Linotype that created in the year 2000, i.e. 11 years later, this "font software program" as "original work of authorship".

Is it possible that Linotype, more than 10 years later and completely independently created a "font software program" that is hundred percent identical with a "font software program" created by Adobe more than 10 years ago ???


3) Morris Fuller Benton

Bruno Steinert of Linotype contends with reference to "Basic Commercial":

"This typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton."

For instance at the website

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/basic-commercial-lt/

we read about "Basic Commercial":

Design Credits
First seen on MyFonts: April 10th, 2002
Designed by: Morris Fuller Benton
Designed when: 1990
Design owned by: Linotype

And if you enter the following keywords at www.google.com

Basic Commercial Morris Fuller Benton Akzidenz Grotesk

Google displays a link to a Linotype website, whose contents has been modified, but if you click on the "cache", Google displays the old contents of website on 8. Apr. 2004 23:28:15 GMT. Here we read the cached contents of the Linotype website of 8th April 2004:

"Basic Commercial
Designer Morris Fuller Benton, 1900
About Basic Commercial(tm)
Basic Commercial font is based on the design for Akzidenz Grotesk,
which appeared with Berthold in 1900, designed by type setters whose
names have not been recorded, but whose skill cannot be overlooked."

This means that Bruno Steinert contended that "Basic Commercial" was designed by the Berthold designer Morris Fuller Benton in the year 1900.

However, Morris Fuller Benton never designed the "Akzidenz Grotesk", nor did he design Linotype's "Basic Commercial" which is 100% identical with Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk".

In "LinoLetter" of March 2005 "Designs Determined to Inspire", Bruno Steinert now tells a new story. Now, he does not mention "Akzidenz Grotesk", "Berthold" and "Morris Fuller Benton". These names are now discarded by him. Instead, now in 2005, Bruno Steinert contends that the "Basic Commercial" is identical with the font "Standard Series". He declares: "The typeface was distributed for many years in the United States under the name Standard Series".

Let's summarize: According to Bruno Steinert, the font "Basic Commercial" by Linotype, which is identical with the font "Akzidenz Grotesk" by Adobe, was created by Morris Fuller Benton in 1900 as "Akzidenz Grotesk" for Berthold, and Bruno Steinert distributed this font for many years in the United States under the name "Standard Series" and Bruno Steinert created the "font software program" for this typeface in the year 2000. Correct?


4) The Funny Font Forging Industry

Professor Devroye at his website

http://jeff.cs.mcgill.ca/~luc/legal.html

draws the attention to the report "The Funny Font Forging Industry", which is downloadable as forgers.pdf from the website

http://www.sanskritweb.de/fontdocs

In this report, Linotype's "Basic Commercial" alias Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" alias Berthold's "Akzidenz Grotesk" is seen from the point of view of public prosecutors and criminal court judges. In this report, Bruno Steinert is described as a font forger who forged the "Akzidenz Grotesk" by the "Linotype Method".


5) name removed by moderator

Those who want to have a look at the "Basic Commercial", but who do not want to waste money on this font forgery by Bruno Steinert, may visit name removed by moderator

url removed by moderator

These fonts do not contain the copyright notices so that criminal investigators cannot decide whether the fonts at the name removed by moderator are Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" or Linotype's "Basic Commercial" or Berthold's original "Akzidenz Grotesk". This is no surprise, since all these fonts are identical with the exception of the copyright notices.

If you open Berthold's "Akzidenz Grotesk" with a font editor and replace the Berthold copyright notice by the Adobe copyright notice, you create Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk".

If you open Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" and replace the Adobe copyright notice by the Linotype copyright notice and additionally replace the name "Akzidenz Grotesk" by "Basic Commercial", you create Linotype's "Basic Commercial".

If you open the name removed by moderator fonts and replace the name "Basic Commercial" by "Basic Crimes" and if you insert the notice "Copyright by Criminals", you create a general-purpose version for the criminals in the font forging industry.

Any lawsuits instituted against the name removed by moderator would be most interesting from the legal point of view, since all three fonts are identical:

Mr. Harvey Hunt of Berthold would contend at court that it was he, who wrote the "font software program" of "Akzidenz Grotesk" ("Copyright by Berthold...").

Mr. Thomas Phinney of Adobe would contend at court that it was he, who wrote the same "font software program" of the same "Akzidenz Grotesk" ("Copyright by Adobe...")

Mr. Bruno Steinert of Linotype would contend that it was he, who wrote the same "font software program" of the "Basic Commercial" ("Copyright by Linotype...").

Wilhelm Ohnesorg, Germany

Si_Daniels's picture

Your point in earlier mails seems to be that fonts can't be copyrighted, despite the fact that courts have supported font copyright.

But the above case, even if true, seems to relate purely to trademarks. The fact that font vendors go to extreme measures to avoid using or referencing other people's trademarks is understandable. Trademarks add more protectability to 100 year old designs than copyright, design patent, EULAs and big sticks combined.

Even if it turns out that copyright strings in fonts are worthless, I think including them sends a good message to the uninformed that the font isn't public-domain and was probably provided under some kind of license.

Cheers, Si

wohnesorg's picture

Dear Mr. Daniel,

I am very surprised about your message, and I am astonished that the moderator removed the name of the website which offers the "Basic Commercial" font WITHOUT THE FALSE copyright notice.


1) Copyrightability of Computer Programs in US

> Your point in earlier mails seems to be that fonts can't be copyrighted, despite the fact that courts have supported font copyright.

I did not say so! On the contrary: In the US, computer programs (which, by the way, are defined by US courts as "literary works") are copyrightable since 25 years (since the enactment of a certain amendment in the year of 1980) PROVIDED THAT certain requirements, which I have described, are fullfilled, namely (1) firstly that a computer program is only protected by copyright if it is a creative work, and (2) secondly if the author of this creative work is a human being that has written the source code of this computer program.

Regarding the SOURCE CODE requirement which was rejected by other members of this forum as "so scurrilous and wrong" (William Berkson), I give a short example:

My grandmother does not know the PostScript programming language and she cannot write the source code of a PostScript program. Therefore she can never be the programmer (=author = copyright owner) of a PostScript program.

The same is true for PostScript Type 1 fonts: My grandmother cannot write the source code of PostScript Type 1 fonts, and therefore she can never be the programmer (= author = copyright owner) of a PostScript Type 1 font.

A computer programmer, who reads this "grandma example", will be most astonished to learn that the other members of this Typophile forum are of the opinion that persons who are NOT computer programmers and who do NOT know the PostScript programming language and who are NOT able to write the source code of PostScript Type 1 font software programs, claim to be the programmers (= authors = copyright owners) of PostScript Type 1 font software programs. This is very, very strange indeed!


2) Trademark Notice

> But the above case, even if true, seems to relate purely to trademarks.

No, no! Copyright law and trademark law are two completely different laws. By stating

"Basic Commercial is a trademark of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG"

Mr. Bruno Steinert made it clear that "Basic Commercial" is a trademark. This statement is correct and it is legally sufficient, but this trademark notice refers to the trademark law, not to the copyright law.


3) Copyright Notice

> Even if it turns out that copyright strings in fonts are worthless

Here begins the crucial part of the case. The copyright notice is not a declaration that you can add to a font just for fun. This would be highly dangerous: The copyright notice is a fully binding legal declaration which must contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth, since the copyright notice is similar to making a declaration in lieu of an oath.

In the "Copyright Law of the United States of America" downloadable as Circular 92 at the website of the Copyright Office (I do not mention the link for fear that the moderator removes the link), you will find the regulations concerning the copyright notice in sections

William Berkson's picture

Mr. Ohnesorg. My phrase 'scurrilous and wrong' referred to your accusations against Mr. Phinney, not to your claim of a "SOURCE CODE requirement" for fonts.

Your 'source requirement' seems to me just wrong as far as the current state of the law. I confess I know little about this whole matter, but I do know that the law is determined not by any person's theories about it, but rather by what legislators enact and judges rule in interpretation of the law. You do not seem to grasp that whatever the logic or illogic of your argument, it is not the law unless a court agrees with it.

Currently Judge Whyte seems to have the last word, and he doesn't agree with you. So for your argument to become law in the US you would have to convince another court in the US that you are right, and Judge Whyte wrong.

William Berkson's picture

ps. I do agree with you in thinking that the current state of the law on protection of typeface designs is not satisfactory.

wohnesorg's picture

Correction of Misprint:

Read "

typeblog's picture

Spiekermann complains that Linotype's Tetra is a rework of Meta.

http://www.spiekermann.com/iblog/C61720386/E477041415/index.html

"FF Meta, designed almost 20 years ago by myself. I’ve been accused of having put too many silly details into it, like an oblique top terminal on some of the caps, like the E. Now look at Textra’s E."

Gustav Jaegers Delta Jaeger which predates Meta has oblique terminals on the bottom caps.

Spiekermann's VW and Bosch corporate typefaces are reworks of Futura and Akzidenz-Grotesk.

TB

hankzane's picture

No, the last word is mine: If I like something, I copy it.

Wilhelm, what is your God-damned point? I don't want your bloody Akzidenz Grotesk even if you paid me!

If Bruno Steinert is a part of the body you sit on doesn't mean you have to follow in his steps. Geez

wohnesorg's picture

> Wilhelm, what is your God-damned point? (Sergej Malinovski )

I thought, this was clear, since the thread header is "Basic Commercial and Morris Fuller Benton".

BTW, I have just read a book review of the title "American Type: Design and Designers" by David Consuegra, which was published as a paperback in 2004.

According to the reviewer, Cosuegra's book describes the typefaces made by Morris Fuller Benton. If there exists a typophile member who has read this book, it would be fine, if it were mentioned here, whether the "Basic Commercial" was designed by Morris Fuller Benton.

W.O.
David Consuegra: "American Type"

hankzane's picture

You thought it was clear but it is not clear. You are saying Basic Commercial is not designed by Benton. So?

wohnesorg's picture

>You thought it was clear but it is not clear (Sergej Malinovsky)

It seems that nobody of the 8,000 odd members of this forum knows anything about Morris Fuller Benton.

So, I had better ask professionals instead of the laymen of this Typophile forum.

W.O.

gianotten's picture

Thank you for being so polite!
Perhaps this helps to understand Morris Fuller Benton and Akzidenz Grotesk better.
From:

wohnesorg's picture

Dear Mr. Gianotten,

Thanks for your interesting reply.

Morris Fuller Benton made a lot of Gothic typefaces, e.g. Alternate Gothic, Bank Gothic, Clearface Gothic, Franklin Gothic, News Gothic, Raleigh Gothic and others. I examined all these fonts, but none of these Benton fonts is identical with Linotype's "Basic Commercial".

As regards the Franklin Gothic by Morris Fuller Benton, to which you refer by quoting Ansel M. Olson's chapter on "Franklin Gothic" from the book "Revival of the fittest", we see that Olson writes "... intended to COMPETE with ... e.g. Akzidenz Grotesk". But a font that COMPETES with another font is NOT IDENTICAL with another font, UNLESS it is a pirated copy or a knock-off imitation of the other font.

Furthermore Ansel M. Olson does not mention "Basic Commercial" at all in connection with Morris Fuller Benton and therefore he does not answer the question whether Mr. Bruno Steinert's legally binding copyright notice declaration "This Basic Commercial typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton" is a false fraudulent copyright notice or not.

If a judge at a criminal court looks at the comparison picture attached below, he will easily recognize that "Akzidenz Grotesk" and "Basic Commercial" are completely identical, whereas "Basic Commercial" and "Franklin Gothic" are completely different, and hence the criminal court judge will easily recognize that Mr. Bruno Steinert's declaration that "Basic Commercial" is "original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton" is a false fraudulent copyright notice intended to make gullible font buyers believe that "This typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton".

If an art seller declares: "This painting is original artwork of Vincent van Gogh", although this artwork was not made by Vincent van Gogh, then this art seller is a criminal. And if the font seller Bruno Steinert declares "This typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton", although this artwork was not made by Morris Fuller Benton, then Bruno Steinert is a criminal.

Cheers,

W.O.

Comparison of Basic Commercial with Franklin Gothic

malcolm's picture

One of the fundamentals of most democracies in the world is that a
'criminal' is only a criminal when it has been decided so by a court of law,
not by individuals or other groups, no matter what views or interests they
may hold.

wohnesorg's picture

> One of the fundamentals of most democracies ... (Malcolm Wooden)

I said "IF" ("IF an art seller...", "IF the font seller Mr. Bruno Steinert ..."). IF means "on condition that", "in case that".

Moreover, in this highly special typeface matter, global references to constitutional rights are too far-fetched.

I could retort by saying that George Bush called Saddam Hussein a "criminal", who has amassed "mass destruction weapons", although no court of law has ever made a decision to this effect. But I consider such global constitutional arguments as too far-fetched in this extremely special matter dealing with typefaces.

W.O.

malcolm's picture

Does that mean you are going to invade Linotype with all guns blazin'

antiphrasis's picture

Wilhelm,

Not sure if it's your gif rendering of the fonts, but when I compare the two fonts in Photoshop there's minute differences. So they're not exactly the same, but like I said, it might be due to the gif image.

Bruno Steinert's picture

If you intend to obfuscate the legal situation on fonts, simply mingle trademark rights, design copyrights and data copyrights.

Statement:

Linotype formerly offered typeface fonts under the name "Akzidenz-Grotesk" under license from H. Berthold AG. Linotype discontinued sale of those typeface fonts in approximately 2000. "Akzidenz-Grotesk" is offered by Berthold Types Limited of Chicago, Illinois. "Akzidenz-Grotesk" is a registered trademark of Berthold Types Limited.

"Basic Commercial" is in the style of H. Berthold A.G.

typeblog's picture

Mr. Steinert

Perhaps you can address Erik Spiekermann's statement that Linotype's Tetra is a rework of FF Meta.

http://www.spiekermann.com/iblog/C61720386/E477041415/index.html

TB

billtroop's picture

Who on earth - or what? is Ohnesorg? It sounds to me like he is more Ohne than Org.

wohnesorg's picture

My Dear Brethren,

Don't worry! Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see!

Have faith in the "truth" told by your master who graciously sponsors this peaceful site ("Hosting graciously paid for by Linotype").

Today, my dear brethren, I have to tell you a sad story: Your master has been recently sued by this evil hunter Harvey Hunt, who runs this bad bad Berthold company.

That's why your master had to repeat the evil sentence

"Akzidenz-Grotesk" is a registered trademark of Berthold Types Limited.

FOUR TIMES in his "confession".

Now, my dear brethren, have a look at this lovely picture "2004 vs. 2005" attached below.

This comparison shows that your master has concocted a new "truth" for his fairy-tale recently.
The "Morris Fuller Benton" yarn is part of this tale invented to take gullible suckers for a ride.

Your master told you: "It was fixed immediately".

This innocent word "immediately" means "fives year later" for your storyteller and master.

But don't worry! Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see!

Cheers,

Your "Don't worry"
Euer "Ohne Sorg"
2004 vs. 2005

gianotten's picture

It seems to me that you have some difficulties in reading. Or in believing what Bruno Steinert wrote.
The introduction of the name was an editing mistake.
In my earlier contribution I tried to explain that this link must have been a mistake. Morris Fuller Benton wanted to compete with "German Grotesks" such as Akzidenz Grotesk.
That editing mistake was fixed by Linotype immediately. It just took some days instead of the 5 years you mention. There are 5 years between the introduction of the Basic Commercial (since 2000 also part of the LT Gold Edition; so many users have these faces on their computer!) and this incorrect reference to Morris Fuller Benton.
That's all.
Henk
(before you start to question: Yes I am proud to co-operate with font foundries such as Linotype. And I am proud that Linotype introduced the Gianotten!)

billtroop's picture

Oh gosh, 'Ohnesorg' is speaking Cranmer's English. Let us think, now: we want a type-board junkie, brought up Church of England, and addicted to deception. There's really only one person it could be, isn't there?

hrant's picture

{Deep, reverberating snoring sounds.

hhp}

typeblog's picture

Mr. Ohnesorg

Nothing in your post warrants branding Linotype's actions as criminal.

It is a pity though that with the depth of Linotype's library that they release clones.

TB

wohnesorg's picture

Linotype -
The Source of the Nefarious Knock-off Clones.

"Everyone needs to have a little bit of fun; we have ours playing this game." (Bruno Steinert)

wohnesorg's picture

On march 6th, Mr. Henk Gianotten pretending to be "one of the laymen" wrote a misleading story in order to lead astray the readers of this forum thread.

Those who are able to read Dutch will be surprised to read a completely different story by Mr. Henk Gianotten written by him on 7th July 2004:

Wat zijn de

typeblog's picture

This is what David Lemon of Adobe wrote about the quality, or rather lack thereof, of Linotype's digitization of what was then Akzidenz-Grotesk and they now call Basic Commercial.

"When Adobe licenses a typeface, the licensing company supplies what they consider the definitive design; Adobe is not free to reinterpret it. As an example of the difference that sources make, I suggest comparing the Akzidenz Grotesk, Berthold Walbaum or Post-Antiqua which Adobe produced from Berthold's digitizations to the versions that Linotype sells."

gianotten's picture

On Sunday, March 06, 2005 6:59 am Wilhelm Ohnesorg posted the following sentence:

hankzane's picture

Hrant, do you mind snoring in some other room? I'm trying to concentrate and make some sense out of all this bull

hrant's picture

You're right - sorry.

hhp

gianotten's picture

On March 12 I asked Wilhelm Ohnesorg three questions:
-- Can you explain what I pretended in the March 6 contribution?
-- Can you describe what part of that

wohnesorg's picture

Dear Mr. Gianotten,

Why is your message of 6th March misleading? For the simple reason that you do not mention "Basic Commercial" in your message, nor is it mentioned in the book quoted by you. However, in your Dutch statement, you mention it, and also the "juridische verwikkelingen" between Adobe, Berthold and Linotype.

The professional font forger Bruno Steinert has been selling the font "Basic Commercial" since SEVERAL YEARS (since at least two years and a half) with the fraudulent claim "This typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton" and with the fraudulent claim "new typeface".

Many of the dim-witted managers in advertising agencies and design studios who are the font-buying customers of Bruno Steinert and who had already bought the font "Akzidenz Grotesk" sold by Bruno Steinert until year 2000, have bought AGAIN exactly the same font thus paying TWICE for the same commodity, because these dim-witted suckers of advertising agencies and of design studios have been cheated by the fraudulent lies of Bruno Steinert claiming that "Basic Commercial" is a "new typeface" and "the original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton", and therefore have been mentally unable to recognize that the font "Basic Commercial" sold by Bruno Steinert since year 2000 is identical with the font "Akzidenz Grotesk" sold by Bruno Steinert until year 2000.

Most members of this Typophile forum consider it as customary that font-buying suckers are cheated by fraudulent font sellers. This explains why they begin to doze off, if someone tells them that fraudulent copyright notices are customary. That is why Mr. Papazian released "deep, reverberating snoring sounds".

In my previous message to this thread, I made this conditional "if-then" statement:

If Mr. Bruno Steinert, manager of the Linotype GmbH, cannot prove that Linotype's "Basic Commercial" was published FOR THE FIRST TIME in the year 2000, then he is a copyright criminal according to section

gianotten's picture

On March 22 Wilhelm Ohnesorg replied:

> Why is your message of 6th March misleading? For the simple reason
> that you do not mention "Basic Commercial" in your message, nor is it
> mentioned in the book quoted by you. However, in your Dutch statement,
> you mention it, and also the "juridische verwikkelingen" (legal implications) between
> Adobe, Berthold and Linotype.

The original question of Sergej Malinovski in the contribution I referred to was "You thought it was clear but it is not clear. You are saying Basic Commercial is not designed by Benton. So?"
My answer was:
No, he did not. I tried to explain that by referring to the text in the book I mentioned.
Morris Fuller Benton was asked by ATF to create a typeface to compete with Akzidenz Grotesk.
That was my attempt to reply Sergej.
Just that.
But I failed. You did not understand it.
Yes, I wrote several articles on the legal issues. In several magazines.
And some documents for Adobe, Agfa, Linotype and others. That

wohnesorg's picture

> I don

antiphrasis's picture

I think I figured out who Wilhelm Ohnesorg is. His views seem to match pretty convincingly with Ulrich Stiehl's. Check out this PDF dealing with font forging at his website.

typeblog's picture

Bruno Steinert states that Basic Commercial and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk are not identical.

This appears to be true when one reads David Lemon's comments.

"When Adobe licenses a typeface, the licensing company supplies what they consider the definitive design; Adobe is not free to reinterpret it. As an example of the difference that sources make, I suggest comparing the Akzidenz Grotesk, Berthold Walbaum or Post-Antiqua which Adobe produced from Berthold's digitizations to the versions that Linotype sells."

TB

Miss Tiffany's picture

This thread has become more about slander than anything else. I would say that at this point Bruno would have a very strong case for personal defamation (& slander) and you, Mr. Ohnesorg (or whoever you are) did not heed my requests.

Thread closed.

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