Font licensing thread – would you approve this?

Katy MawhoodKaty Mawhood Posts: 188
edited December 2017 in Technique and Theory
With the discussions of lazy licensees, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on some of our queries / decisions to demonstrate the diverse challenges of font licensing. Are you game?

Let's start with an easy one.

[QUERY 001] Please load this for (Rehr) to Font Explorer in XXXXX. This is a free font. Please check the issue and let us know if it’s a legal complaint [sic]. (files attached)

1x font file + screenshot from a forum (attached).

@Erwin Denissen
Your name is in the copyright + "Typeface (C) High-Logic. 1999, 2000. All Rights Reserved".

Comments

  • Your name is in the copyright + "Typeface (C) High-Logic. 1999, 2000. All Rights Reserved".

    My bet is that this bit is placeholder text inserted by the font editor because the actual designer didn’t fill in the respective information. Not a good practice.


  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 175
    edited December 2017
    I'm assuming the person who sent you this request to load a font has no idea what is being offered for free by the licensor.  I can't say if I'd approve it because I don't know if the free license permits more than testing/demo use or if it permits commercial use.
  • The attached message from the designer says:

    Here are my first two fonts, Rehr and Kverneland, based on the handwriting of Danish cartoonist Henrik Rehr, and Norwegian cartoonist Steffen Kverneland, respectively.

    I created them for lettering the swedish translation of their comics, and they kindly agreed to let me release them to the public domain. So feel free to use them.

    So, I don’t see a problem, unless you have some reason to think the High-Logic forum post is bogus? Of course, one might suggest that the designer update the copyright notice in their fonts to reflect their actual intent.

  • My bet is that this bit is placeholder text inserted by the font editor because the actual designer didn’t fill in the respective information. Not a good practice.
    You are right about it being placeholder text. The current strings are:

    Copyright: Typeface © (your company). 2017. All Rights Reserved
    Description: This font was created using FontCreator 11.0 from High-Logic.com

    Providing these default placeholder strings seems appropriate to me as many amateur font makers do not know what to fill in here. Users should configure the FontCreator Options to enter their own details, then every new font that they create will contain the appropriate text. 
  • Thanks for confirming, Bhikkhu. The current strings are indeed better, but not ideal.
    Typeface © (your company).
    It is clear to everyone on TypeDrawers that this is FontCreator “talking” to the font maker. But is it clear to the font user, too? Wouldn’t it be better to have something like <copyright info not defined>?

    I once was asked to review two fonts that both had “Copyright 2014 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved” in the meta data. It turned out that one of them was an unauthorized modification of a font by Adobe. The other one was simply lacking a distinct copyright string, and because it was generated with Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType (AFDKO, also used by FontLab Studio), the software inserted this (not so) generic string.

    So, I don’t see a problem, unless you have some reason to think the High-Logic forum post is bogus?
    Agreed, chances are that there isn’t really a problem here. But when it comes to the crunch, I wouldn’t rely on a note which is detached from the font file. One can find lots of bogus information in forum posts, including download links to unauthorized content, and people pretending to be the designer/IP owner when they are not. The link in the forum post leads to a site that apparently has drastically changed since 2003 and has nothing to do with fonts.
  • Bhikkhu PesalaBhikkhu Pesala Posts: 153
    edited December 2017
    The High-Logic Forum post is still there after 14 years, but the fonts are no longer at the link provided in the post.

    If we're talking about hosting the fonts on a font sharing site, I would definitely return them, and ask the contributor to fill in the correct Copyright and Description fields.
  • [QUERY 001] Please load this for (Rehr) to Font Explorer in XXXXX. This is a free font. Please check the issue and let us know if it’s a legal complaint [sic]. (files attached)

    1x font file + screenshot from a forum (attached).

    @Erwin Denissen
    Your name is in the copyright + "Typeface (C) High-Logic. 1999, 2000. All Rights Reserved".
    I wasn't able to get the font file, but we are aware of numerous fonts which include such "template" font information as generated by FontCreator.

    We changed those defaults back in 2005 (or a little earlier, can't remember the exact date), as it then became clear some people forgot to provide correct font information. It is less of an issue now, but still some font designers forget to provide proper description, foundry tag, panose, etc.
Sign In or Register to comment.