@Miles Newlyn I think you fundamentally misunderstand what a distribution addendum from Darden Studio is. It is NOT a one size fits all solution. Distribution licenses name the number of simultaneous CPUs permitted. And, I remind you that it is four times the cost of a basic license for the same number of CPUs - which I think of as valuing it highly.
The idea is not to prevent piracy. I don't consider what you're talking about to be exactly piracy (which I think of as intentional stealing of software). The lazy passing around of the font files by people who don't really understand the license is something else. But, as previously discussed, we can't really prevent either. People who don't read, or don't want to bother to take out their credit card again will never do what they are supposed to do. The various licensing instruments we create are by their very nature for the clients who do put in some effort to follow a license.
When we came up with the distribution addendum we weren't thinking about piracy at all. We had a very large client with a custom font who did a lot of short term projects and didn't want to pay full price for each contractor to have a perpetual license that the contractor would only use for a few months at most. This seemed like a reasonable request to us. Also, we're always happy to get a large sum of money now instead of a slow trickle over many years and this instrument allowed us to do that.
We later realized that clients using retail builds of the fonts (which the contractors could continue use when the project ended) might also find it useful. For those with the sort of scenario above it does save money (which is how we justify the mark up). But over time I've realized we get a lot of clients buying distribution addenda who don't do short term projects. They just don't like the idea of paying for their contractor to have a license that can't be transferred. So they pay a premium to keep all licensing in their own name. Personally, I don't get it but I'm glad I can provide them with a license that suits their disposition and I'm happy to take their money.
The great thing about being a small company is that we can be flexible for our clients. I find that usually leads to us making more money - not less. I think your attitude is short sighted.
Forgive me if I misunderstood the flow of the conversation. I think there's a suggestion on the floor that all EULA should discuss the typeface as a design product the way it is treated in Europe.
I just checked our EULA and we are among the foundries @Katy Mawhood is talking about that don't use the work "typeface". We just talk about font software. We're aware that Europe treats the design differently than in the US but our general rule with the license is to treat everyone by the standard of the most permissive law. For instance, we permit all licensees to open the software to look at it because some places would override us if we didn't (we didn't used to for the sake of clarity since you can't modify the software). It's just easier for us if everyone is treated the same. But also the governing law for our EULA is NYC. I think it might be the same for some of the foundries discussed.
As far as updates go, @Dave Crossland's venture makes things sound so much more linear than my reality. We update our EULA as needed and same with the fonts. Certainly more frequently than every five years in both cases. If a licensee gets a new download of the fonts (either because of an update or because they need to reinstall) or renews a timed addendum they agree to the current EULA in order to complete the action. In some cases it's the same EULA they already agreed to but that's too difficult for us to track so we just make them agree and send a new EULA.
@Rodrigo Saiani I'd be happy to discuss the Darden Studio model with you. Certainly the intent is to permit exactly what you're describing. If we're missing some need please let me know so I can look into it.
The purpose of our distribution licensing is to provide an option for companies who use a lot of contractors for short term products. The licensee can get the distribution license at the cost of four times a license for the same number of CPUs at one location and in exchange they can permit an unlimited number of contractors to use the fonts over the life of the license (so long as the number using the fonts at a given time doesn't exceed the licensed number). The licensee is required to keep a log and ensure that contractors delete the font when they are done with the project.
I think I've said this before but the primary reason we don't allow modifications is to protect our reputation. Years ago we actually found a massive license infringement because a google alert on Josh's name pointed us to bad review of a new font. The reviewer recognised it as a derivative of one of ours and raked us over the coals.
But also, we have since found decent amount of infringements do start with an unauthorized derivative of one kind or another.
While the idea of permitting modifications sounds generous (and even convenient to the foundry) I think that leads to more trouble than it helps. Otherwise you've got lots of caveats and explanations like "no new styles, no new language" that a lot of people aren't really going to track. They will just read "modifications are allowed" and then do whatever.
Our way, we can always grant permission to someone who asks and we sometimes do. But in the EULA we say no.
Ug. This is one of those things that keeps me up at night. You all know that my big thing is simple intuitive licensing and that I am always trying to reduce customer confusion. But you may also have noticed our licensing is CPU based...
I agree that the CPU model is a bit antiquated, though not for the same reasons @Stephen Coles gave. We were never concerned with making customers secure licensing for printers and other devices. We were, in fact, always concerned with trying to be more permissive not less. The question one got back in the day with "user" licensing was "what if two people use the same computer?" So, back then we went with CPU pricing in order to be able to say that a company didn't have to double pay for that one computer. Of course, that's no longer needed.
But the problem with the user based model is that it's still a little hard to track for companies that may not be up to date with technology for user profile management.
If we were opening our shop today we'd probably be using the user model. However, change is also confusing so we decided with the last couple EULA rewrites to keep the old CPU model on the theory that all things being equal change is worse for customer confusion.
You may notice that our latest EULA introduces the idea of virtual machines - which starts to move towards a user model. My hope is that by the next rewrite the customer base will have moved more in that direction and we can make that more dominant.