Hall of Shame

This should be self-explanatory.


  • edited October 2016

    After being called out on their stolen outlines from Linotype Didot (yep, the font info still had their name in the header), Frieze Magazine (or, more specifically, their “type designers”, Amy Preston & Joe Porter) is back again with a slightly different Didot. This time, they have knicked the outlines of a free font, Theano Didot by Alexey Kryukov. I don’t know the specifics of the Open Font License, but I know that derived fonts are also subject to the same terms: Feel free to download it here.

    In any case, this is a clear cut case of designers passing someone else’s work off as their own. And not only once: Two times in a row.

  • edited October 2016
    Radim Peško designed Dear Sir/Madam, you say? Eric Gill begs to differ.

  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 736
    edited October 2016
    I have no problem with Peško designing and releasing a typographic interpretation of Gill’s ca.1905 alphabet, but I don’t see a reason not to fully credit his source, rather than this vague description:
    “The typeface is inspired by classical alphabets that were used as guides for signwriters.”

    Perhaps I should give him the benefit of the doubt that he found an image of a Gill alphabet and was unaware of its author.

  • edited October 2016
    Note that Gill’s work is not public domain. Even if it were, crediting the source is required.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,600
    Note that Gill’s work is not public domain.

    Under UK copyright law, I believe it is. Gill died in 1940, so copyright would have expired in 2010.

  • edited October 2016
    Thanks for the correction, John.
  • …crediting the source is required.
    Required by whom? By the same person who appointed you as font policeman?
  • edited October 2016
    I am only intimately familiar with Norwegian copyright law (Åndsverkslovens § 3, and § 48), which specifically requires crediting the original artist even if the work is in the public domain. It was my understanding this applies to EU as well. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 137
    edited October 2016
    …crediting the source is required.
    Required by whom? By the same person who appointed you as font policeman?
    Required by IP laws.

    Intellectual property embraces industrial property (patents, trade marks, engine models, etc.) and copyright (artistic creations, software). Although copyright laws may vary very much between countries, their kernel follow a standard model proposed by WIPO.
    The copyright kernel is divided in two groups of rights: material and moral. Put simply, material rights let the creator earn money with its creation and avoid others to do it. In most Western countries, these rights are valid up to 70 years after the creator death.

    Moral rights, in other hand, preserve the creation integrity and the author acknowledge. They are permanent, there is no time limit. For example: you can freely publish a Shakespeare text, it is under public domain. But you are obligated to say it is wrote by Shakespeare and cannot change its contents. Moral rights are also applied to industrial property.

    Digital fonts are software, mechanical fonts may be classified as industrial design or artistic design. In any case, to give credit to the person who created a font is needed in most countries accordingly to IP laws, no matter how many years ago the font was made.

  • Yªssin BªggªrYªssin Bªggªr Posts: 73
    edited October 2016
    Frode, on twitter you said Radim Peško was contacted about this issue. When, by whom and with what results? I remember this issue being raised last year on twitter, with the same assumption being made that he is aware the design is by Eric Gill and he purposely decides to hide that fact.
    As far as I know, that assumption hasn't been proven factually accurate.
    He is giving credit for Larish so it seems strange that he wouldn't credit Gill on purpose.

    Public shaming is a dangerous slope. I wouldn't dismiss it altogether as it makes sense in some cases – especially when a situation is clear-cut illegal but a designers doesn't have the ressources or desire to pursue things legally – but it should be reserved for rare, clear and really bad cases. Public shaming is not rational and objective. Especially in a profession where many designers know each other for years and are friends while others might be looked upon as outsiders or even intruders.

    It certainly shouldn't be used as a tool to attack or dismiss someone because of a personal distaste for his work. On twitter you have expressed such distaste which makes me wonder. I certainly agree that the design should be credited to Eric Gill, and that people should be upfront with their sources of inspiration. Radim Pesko is certainly not the only one in the type design community whose typefaces' credits could be seen as insufficient, and there are far worse cases, for example when designs or ideas of living designers are being remixed.

    There is a big difference between criticism (based on personal ethics, taste, or whatever) and falsely accusing someone of infringing on copyright law, which might (I don't know) potentially be considered libel. We should all abstain from such legal considerations unless we have some serious experience with the laws and their various applications across different countries.
  • Sweeping such things under the carpet is nothing less than betraying the health of our craft. You have friends who might be guilty of plagiarism? Not confronting them is betraying that friendship.

    Is it often nuanced? Sure. But that's no reason to look the other way. About 3½ years ago I realized that the Eklekta corporate font re-used outlines from Kontrapunkt's Via. Encouraged by others to dig deeper, I alerted Claas Philipp Bischof, and contacted Lars Vorreiter to simply express a strong concern. Vorreiter's reply was somewhere between unacceptable and acceptable... Bischoff felt the same way. I decided against alerting R&O, but did report my findings on Typophile. And that was that.

    Doing all this simply felt like a duty. To me cage fights and cocktail parties are equally tasteless.
  • I certainly agree that an initial private approach is almost always a good idea.
  • Marc FoleyMarc Foley Posts: 5
    edited October 2016
    How do you even have time to find this stuff?

    There's a huge world outside, go and explore it. Honestly, this type witch hunt stuff is so banal it borders on childish.

    If you have beef, mail them directly.

    Yes, I see the irony in posting this ;)
  • Robin MientjesRobin Mientjes Posts: 118
    edited October 2016
    I am entirely certain Frode did not intend to start a witch hunt. In fact I’d argue that everybody already knows about these instances of dishonesty in the greater type design community. If this thread starter is a no-go, I still think there’s some questions within that we could attempt to further discuss. This presumes that witch hunts are no good and that public shaming is ‘the wrong thing’. We can argue, but we won’t.

    1. As a profession, what do we do about people misrepresenting our work? I personally don’t ever recommend people that I feel do dishonest work (or promotion of their work). Is there an ethical discussion to be had here? Perhaps not entirely in public, but, I feel there is.
    2. When we approach people for failing to properly credit or license typographic work, and they refuse to change, what is the Right Thing to do? An example I found out this week: my local design interest group is using an unlicensed Adobe font. They have been unreceptive to questions about this and other website failings. The Adobe lawyers may not care enough. But it is blatant, and it is especially galling coming from a design organisation. This again is an ethical thing.

    I’d hate to sound like a Twitter moron of yesteryear, but, it really is about ethics in the type design community. We can keep this to ourselves, as we have for so long, and pretend that we’re totally cool with this in public, but I personally don’t know a single type designer who is without opinion when it comes to another designer’s lack of credit. So, maybe this isn’t ripe for public dissection, but I don’t think it’s untouchable as a topic.
  • In cases of copyright infringement, just alert the original holder privately. There is absolutely no need to create an open thread on a message board, titled 'Hall of shame'. Quite honestly in many cases, it can fall under character defamation instead.

  • Personal attacks I am against. Can this be a positive learning space to discuss ethics, stealing and piracy? There is room for case studies without abuse. The type drawer rules set this up quite well.

    If required, details are available via PM or face-to-face conversation. In the case of NDA, many corporations will be protected. I see no reason against granting individuals similar privileges, in light of good ethics.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,391
    “Point piracy” is an issue for the victim.
    Plagiarism has a lot of grey areas.
    How much a designer is considered to plagiarize the work of others, or wreck it in revival, is an important part of their reputation, but reputations are nebulous things, and we all have our own standards with which to assess our own and others’ work.

    I consider a lot of “revivals” to be shameful things, when they trade on the shape, name and pedigree of the original, yet change the design to “modernize for today’s user” or whatever. But again, that’s just my opinion of certain re-designs, which may not count for much in the general consensus of reputations, and I’ve butchered a few classics myself!

  • Untie your knickers. Setting the record straight about who actually designed something is not a personal attack.
  • Setting the record straight about who actually designed something is not a personal attack.

    Yes, but suggesting someone should feel "shame" for their work is, as the thread title says. If the title of this thread was, "positive lessons to be learned", then it might be seen in a better light. 
  • Hmm, I don't have problem with the 'shame' part like some of the other responses, but the "hall" part.

    Surely "hall" of shame should have more than one exhibit? If you don't have more than one exhibit, that does not qualify as a "hall", does it?
  • Luke FreemanLuke Freeman Posts: 59
    edited October 2016
    This thread reminds me of Type Now by Fred Smeijers. Which highlights on this concern of bastardized or in this case known as "font-tweaking". See attached extract scanned in from the book. 

    [copyrighted material removed]

    Type design serves it's purpose to the design community, many branding projects are more likely to incorporate a custom or bespoke fonts or typefaces. It has become a trend but unlike in the early years of type design there was time to use your craft to draw up a font or typeface. 

    What has changed in this digital era of design, in type design we can now have the privilege to tweak a font for a project and somehow call it are own. Without putting in the craft — and that is what has happened in this case of Frieze.

    In the case of Radim Peško I admit I do like his work and has had success in his career look on Fonts In Use of the extent of his fonts being used. And work being noticed in publications. 

    On the Eric Gill debate of Radim Peško copying Eric Gills font Facia (it is a digital font https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/mti/gill-facia-mt/) … Radim's version is simply font-tweaking and having the skills to do that.

    Frode Bo Helland did read your sources before jumping into a thread ?. 
    Theano Didot does allow you to make "modified and redistributed freely as long as they are not sold by themselves" see attached txt file. As am aware Frieze Didot isn't being shelved as a product for purchase. 

    This is all down to the EULA.

  • Charging money to modify a libre font is sadly the main reason libre fonts exist... And hiding credit is unethical.
  • Also this seems to be a recurring argument brought up since Typophile days, with pretty much the same users. Is this some sort of reenactment.

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