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Adam Twardoch

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Adam Twardoch
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  • Re: Units per em

    For TrueType-flavored fonts you can safely specify any UPM between 16 and 16384, and the only place you need to do it is the head table. 

    For CFF-flavored fonts, it's more complicated: in addition to the head.unitsPerEm field, you need to change the /FontMatrix parameter inside the CFF table. The problem is that various PS/PDF creation apps as well as readers often ignore or misinterpret the /FontMatrix parameter. Some always assume it's [0.001 0 0 0.001 0 0] (which is the correct setting for UPM=1000 bit is not for other UPM sizes). 

    Unfortunately, when some environments correct these problems, new environments introduce this problem anew, see e.g. https://github.com/nodebox/opentype.js/issues/115

    So basically, non-1000 OTFs are always broken "somewhere". One possible reason for it is that the https://www.microsoft.com/typography/otspec/head.htmdoes not in any way mention CFF.FontMatrix, and the specification for CFF is, well, really weird. It's written from the perspective of CFF being a standalone font asset living inside a PDF, rather than a table inside an OpenType font. So many software developers fail to see the link — they try to implement in good faith what's in the spec, but in reality, handling fonts requires much more knowledge that is largely undocumented. 
  • Re: Font or Font Software

    Artem, 

    This is an excellent question. I've found it pitiful that most font vendors worldwide, including those from Europe or South America, have blindly drafted their EULAs purely around the limitations of U.S. copyright law. It's ridiculous that they seem to have completely abandoned the potential protection of their own domestic legal systems, and by doing so they have weakened the value of their intellectual property. 

    Why weakened? Because many countries don't have any specific exclusion of typeface protection as visual works, like the U.S. has. If a legal case emerges in some country, judges will most likely want to consult with experts in the field, and the experts will possibly look at what the consensus is in the creative community itself. 

    It looks like the typeface vendors have silently and passively accepted the "reality" that typeface designs aren't subject to copyright protection as visual works. Well, they may mention that this is only "in U.S. copyright" in some informal discussions — but this is not reflected in the legal reality they *project*. 

    And yes, that *projection* of legal values by a given community is what matters. Courts of law in the UK, France, Poland, Argentina or Thailand don't have magical knowledge of a variety of specific topics. When it comes to deciding what the manifestation of individuality, creativity and originality is in a given segment of the creative industry, courts will look at what position the authors themselves represent. 

    Typeface authors have for some reason, as a whole, abandoned ship.

    I haven't heard the phrase "typeface author" in a long time, there is very little mention of authorship.

    The EULAs practically never underline the claim (or ambition) that the digital fonts, while *also* claiming to be software programs (especially for the purpose of jurisdictions where that scheme is the only available protection scheme), also claim that they are copyrightable visual works. 

    So right now, if a judge sampled various EULAs from various foundries worldwide, that judge would most certainly be under the impression that the typeface authors themselves don't think their creations are copyrightable visual works — because they only talk about "font software". 

    "If the majority of these people doesn't want copyright protection, well, I won't be the one who'll try to change their minds," the judge would say. 

    This is pitiful for another reason: if a user accepts a EULA, the user accepts (at least to some extent) a certain legal reality that the EULA defines. If my EULA said my typeface is a work of art, then even if the general copyright (in the U.S.) does not agree, those who accepted the EULA would still be bound by such commitment.

    Just like the font EULA can prohibit you from doing various things that the general copyright permits, it could include phrases like acknowledgement that the font software is digital expression of a typeface which in itself is a visual work that is protected under copyright in many jurisdictions. 

    This would have the effect that those who agreed to the EULA might be in breach if they imitate the design, but it would also have educational effects, lobbying effects, and would actually strengthen protectio in many countries.

    But the majority of typeface authors seems not to see enough value in their rights so they would do something about it. They seem to passively acknowledge that whatever some person in the U.S. Copyright Office "ruled" some 40+ years ago (!) is true forever and valid globally. 

    I mean even when German foundries sell to German users, they use this American "font software only" template. Actually, in Germany the situation is slightly differrent because of the country's 1981 special law dedicated to typeface protection. But there are tons on protection schemes not available under U.S. law but available under EU law which European font makers seem to have been happily ignoring. The 1996 EU database directive, anyone? 

    The thing is — if type designers as authors send out such a strong signal that they themselves don't care much about the legal protection of their own work, why should others (users, courts) care? 

    So, thank you, Artem, for raising this issue. You should be using triple protection: typeface as visual work, font as database and font as software program. In case the software program scheme fails (and you're right to recognize that it's whacky), you still have the database scheme. 
  • Re: TextEdit Font Menu

    I once tried to understand how it works but failed. There is a lot of convoluted "magic" for this. 
  • Re: Are foundry initials an inherent part of a type family name?

    Suppose foundry XYX released a type family XYZ Abc. Is 'Abc' now considered to be 'taken'?
    tldr; Yes.

    That's a bit general, no? Monotype claims the trademark on "Monotype Scotch" and "Scotch Roman MT", but claiming the trademark on "Scotch" alone would be tricky. Nick Shinn released Scotch Modern and claims a trademark on that combination, but, again, not on the word "Scotch". 

    All kinds of common words, e.g. "Commercial", aren't trademarked, so you have Commercial Script and Basic Commercial. 

    Trademark law doesn't work by the "tldr yes" principle. You cannot freely register common words, personal names or names of places as trademarks, and while you can claim them, this can be disputed. If the trademark is a neologism, then it's easier of course. 
  • Re: Are foundry initials an inherent part of a type family name?

    Generally, it is a matter of trademark law. One entity can introduce a product under a certain name, and either claims or registers a trademark.

    If another entity introduces a different product under the same or similar name (in the same product class), and the first entity feels that this can lead to confusion among the consumers (they may search for one but find the other, be mislead as to the second product's origin etc.), the fist entity can enter a dispute with the second entity.

    The dispute can have a form of arbitration (be it inside a major distributor that offers both products, or in front of some panel of peers, or within a trade organization both entities are members of), or happen in court. 

    In the process of the dispute, the first entity needs to demonstrate that the word or phrase they claim a trademark on is unique and can be uniquely attributed to their product within its class. If it's generic (like the words Serif or Sans in case of fonts) or had been used by other competitors without protest, then the trademark claim is void, and a trademark registration can be anulled. The first entity also needs to demonstrate that there is indeed potential for consumer confusion. 

    It really is up to the first entity whether to open a dispute with the second. There are no absolute rules. It’s like with offense: you can only potentially offend a person if that person feels offended.