Gameloft used a fan copy/mod of existing copyrighted/commercial font in an upcoming game

That's right. Gameloft is using Celestia Medium Redux, a fan modification of copyrighted Generation B. Someone needs to stop them.

Generation B, made by Harold's Fonts, is inspired by film logos and posters between 1950s and 1960s. It is one of the official fonts of Hasbro's current My Little Pony line up of toys, media franchise and official merchandises. It's also in the subtitle part of the logo of the current generation's well-known cartoon show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

With the rise of the cartoon's fandom, some fans tried to create their version of Generation B. One user created a thing called Celestia Medium, but soon gave up after some concerns. Then, another user came up with small letters and Greek/Cyrillic letters, and named it Celestia Medium Redux, the font in question.

Apparently, Gameloft is using Celestia Medium Redux in their upcoming official My Little Pony mobile game, instead of Generation B.




We can't blame some individuals using knock off fonts on their unofficial, personal fan works because counting all of every single person who used it is impossible and suing them is technically a waste of time and money (unless you are from Disney). But this is a different matter. It's the official merchandise. Gameloft is using a fan-made font that (technically) infringed copyrighted font design (or, in the U.S. terms, a digital font file that might have altered from the original file) in an official game, instead of the original and official one! It's more like the developers involved didn't know anything about the font (If it's not, this is more serious problem!).

Now, someone needs to stop Gameloft from using Celestia Medium Redux before they officially release the game on 8 November, and put them on the pressure to change the font. But honestly, I don't know what should I start with as a third person.

Before you go, here is opinion from a professional-skilled artist who likes Friendship is Magic:

hrant's picture

Charles, maybe start by actually reading the posts I made just to this thread. And then resist to urge to prop up a straw man to hurl things at.

Art is selfish, and to me only interesting to the artist. Craft exists to serve others, which is exactly my cup of tea. But seeing Craft as some sort of soulless drudgery is exactly what the flaming artistes want.

HOWEVER: There is no pure Art or pure Craft; one might imagine an axis with those extremes, with any creative act sitting somewhere on that axis. So any creative act draws inspiration -in a traditional artistic way- from its environment; this does not equate to plagiarism, by any level-headed definition of those terms. Khaled's view comes off as conveniently absolutist. Typical so-called "open-source" agenda-driven obfuscation. He wants me to quote a percentage?! That's what I call shallow. And really, "if she thought it was wrong she wouldn’t have done it in the first place"?! What planet are we on again?

I myself revel in shades of gray, and to me things that are a much darker shade of gray deserve more corrective effort. Duh.

BTW: http://typophile.com/node/99015

hhp

5star's picture

Art is selfish, and to me only interesting to the artist. Craft exists to serve others, which is exactly my cup of tea.

Everything done is done in vain. The artist who paints a portrait, or a type designer who crafts a typeface ...there ain't no difference.

Street cred is gained only from being as raw as possible ...honesty isn't communal.

Rebel pride don't come cheap.

n.

hrant's picture

Everything an individual does is a balance between what he wants, and social responsibility. Each of us does our own balancing act. And if we collectively don't have enough people leaning towards the latter, the former ends up suffering, for all of us.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

A thread in which I recently participated concerned a typeface that someone expressed shock was still being offered for sale, despite being claimed to be an imitation of another typeface. In that case, it seemed clear to me that the "imitation" was merely a typeface belonging to the same genre; similar, but in no way a rip-off.

Looking into this case further, I see that here nothing of the sort applies. The two faces in question were clearly based only on the source typeface, not its sources - and they are, despite that, poor quality copies.

So, while I might still question whether there is any illegality involved, I definitely do agree that Gameloft ought not to be using a typeface of that sort instead of the real thing. In fact, if they can't negotiate reasonable terms for the use of the real thing (as they would be using it to create artwork, not to let users type words in the game, I presume, they wouldn't need to embed the font and enter into the stratospheric realms of that sort of licensing... but maybe they would need to embed it, say for scores and the like - I can't believe they're doing this to save $20) they would be better off buying a copy of Fontographer, and designing their own similar face.

Which could consist of one thing that Generation B, the real thing, seems to be conspicuously lacking for a face of this type... alternate characters.

(EDIT: Visiting the Harold's Fonts page, I see I was unfair; they do have "big" and "small" alternates for all the letters, at least.)

A face could have the same "feel" as that one but with different letters large, small, wedged left, wedged right, displaced upwards, displaced downwards, and so on and so forth.

Incidentally, I thought I'd look around to see other faces that were similar, but I couldn't get closer than faces like Crazy Loot BTN, Mother Hen AOE, Mister Rii PB, MVB Hotsy Totsy, Perfect Magic Bold, and Harry Plotter, which were still all quite different.

EDIT: Although I didn't see any real match, when I saw the full actual face on the Harold's Fonts page, instead of making me think of My Little Pony, it made me think of Big Daddy Ed Roth - whose name I keep having trouble remembering.

dumpling's picture

This whole discussion is really about personal values, and as such, it is getting nowhere, fast.

Why not visit this link instead?

whoiam989's picture

I think quadibloc has a good point. I'll include permalinks to your posts in the e-mail.

Also, nice slap, dumpling!

dvincent747's picture

Hi!

As the guy who "started a crusade of FUD," (an interesting way of putting it) some more information about the history of Celestia Medium might be helpful.

Back in the early days of the fandom, the only people who knew of / used Generation B in their work were me and a few others who actually took the time to figure out what font was being used. There was no knockoff version available at the start.

"if she thought it was wrong she wouldn’t have done it in the first place."

She didn't know it was wrong because she didn't know about Generation B or that she was ripping someone off in the first place. Sometime in spring 2011, PurpleTinker developed the Celestia Medium font based on a screenshot of Generation B (that was not labeled as such). She traced a PNG file of the Generation B character set that was posted on Equestria Daily . The first version of Celestia Medium was a literal trace of Generation B, but all of the metrics and proportions were screwed up. It was also missing the uppercase and special characters. The actual glyphs were fairly close to Gen B (it took a smart eye to notice specific glyph differences), but the glyph sizes were all normalized and the baselines too. This reduced Celestia Medium to a very block-like face, resulting in long strips of letters that had none of the whimsy or motion of Generation B. They were more difficult to read as well. A clear tell of Celestia Medium was the letter Os: they were the same size as all the other glyphs. Compared to the toy boxes, promotional materials, etc with used Generation B, it looked quite ugly. It sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the real deal.

I wrote the first "Why you shouldn't use Celestia Medium" in June 2011 based on the font that existed, and PurpleTinker agreed with me that people should use the genuine article. She was unaware of Generation B itself, having traced that PNG of the rip. There's no animosity between us on that, and she handled it about as classily as someone could.

When she took the font down, MattyHex started making Celestia Redux based on the original font file for Celestia Medium and started tweaking the glyphs to make it slightly different (and worse) than Generation B. I wrote the second "Why you still shouldn't..." bit in September 2011 right around the time that the Redux version came out. Since then, MattyHex has expanded the feature set of Celestia Redux considerably. He's added many special characters that didn't exist in GenB, and he also added a new set of lowercase glyphs (relegating the copies of Generation B's lower case to CR's upper case). The lower case makes it into something completely unrelated, and it's not a very readable face either. So Celestia Redux at this time has morphed into something quite different than Generation B, but people still try to use it as a substitute. Its uppecase still fares poorly compared to Generation B, especially now that he's specifically changed the uppercase glyphs to look kind of like Generation B but not exactly. MattyHex doesn't have the excuse that PT did; he made the Redux version specifically knowing about Generation B to create a knockoff version.

It's one thing for random fanartists to use Celestia Redux once or twice, but it's very tacky and a bit low for Gameloft who has an official license of the game to use a fan knockoff font. It's a pure case of cheapness and greed, which is not unsurprising given their other games and business practices. Other Hasbro licensees continue to use Generation B. This is not the first time Gameloft has appropriated fanworks; they've used several pieces of fanart (likely acquired from google image search) without contacting the artists as assets for the My Little Pony game and their advertising. As far as I know, this is the only case of Celestia Medium slipping into a licensed product. Not even the fan created licensed shirts on WeLoveFine use it.

On the usage of Celestia Redux in the game itself, they shouldn't have used it (or Generation B, for that matter) for all of that body text. Something more readable should have been used instead. I believe there is a body copy font that Hasbro uses on the toy boxes, but its specific name is escaping me at the moment. Generation B would have been fine for titling, but Celestia Redux is used for almost everything in the game, and it's very difficult to read because of it. It's true that Font Bros. basically has no recourse, because of the way the laws work here in the states (Which I'm sure many are aware of) and their response here details it pretty well. It's unfortunate that nothing can be done, but that's the way it is.

At the end of the day, my primary objection to Celestia Redux these days is 1. that it's ugly and 2. I think it's a shame that Harold is not getting his fair share from the unexpected popularity of ponies. Tons of people out there (that are not Hasbro) are making a lot of money off the pony fandom these days for things that are less work than fonts, and there's a lot of Celestia Redux being used in fanart or projects that are used/sold for profit. I just think people should do the right thing and pay the man his due.

hrant's picture

Dan, thank you for the detailed "inside account", and for your stance.

hhp

whoiam989's picture

Glad you replied, Kefkafloyd. Great observation of what happened.

Now, how should we promote this issue so Hasbro can become aware of it? Should I start with something like #MLPMobFont hashtag?

mch's picture

I've been hearing different things about GameLoft but in opinion it's a decent Game Studio. I recently took a test for a vehicle artist in their Madrid branch. Not sure what to think of this.

I think all of us draw inspirations from others and while deriving your own work from others seems fine to a certain degree there's a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism.

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