Broadcast license and TV advertising

I'm reviewing my licensing and currently the Desktop license prohibits 'broadcast use', by which i mean use in tv program titles, film titles/credits and channel identities. However, I'm thinking about the use of the the typefaces in TV advertising and not sure what to do. I expect that most foundries' desktop licenses would permit that. Is that correct?


  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 291
    We need a new column:

    I flicked through a few EULAs on our system, it doesn't seem to be so widespread or is non-explicit.

    Is your definition of "broadcast use" or some advertising / promotion defined? Otherwise it's one interpretation against another. Another approach is to think about the defined software-use, commercial-use, or static-graphics, with everything prohibited except… [insert here]. This is quite common.
  • If I understand my font EULA history, broadcast use restrictions were one of a few measures foundries took in the late 90s to offset the inadequate software licensing model of retail fonts (counting the # of CPUs) with some of the more nebulous but obviously large scale-of-use things (things not measured in CPUs or users, like use in a film or an advertising campaign). 

    I'm pretty sure I've also seen licenses that permit broadcast use but specifically restrict some technical things, like installing fonts on a chyron system fonts.

    Lately the trend has been the opposite, simplifying EULAs and allowing more types of usage. I think it's partially to make customers happy, but I imagine it's also that people just don't want to bother figuring out or negotiating these kinds of things. 
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,511
    edited May 2016
    I have thought for a long time that restricting broadcast use was kind of shortsighted. Somebody wants to use my font on something that will be seen by millions of people (including graphic designers)? I get way more than $29 from that. If I charge extra, I'm basically discouraging people from using my fonts where lots of people will see them.
  • Miles NewlynMiles Newlyn Posts: 197
    @Mark Simonson but if selling broadcast licenses were going to bring in thousands of dollars per year, it would be worthwhile right?
  • One foundry offering broadcast licenses once explained to me that a broadcast use by a large TV station can basically destroy any demand for that typeface in that market. I thought that was a good explanation of why they offer specific broadcasting licenses, but we’ve stayed away from it for now as one main goal for us (and our customers) is too keep our licensing somewhat understandable to people.
  • […] we’ve stayed away from it for now as one main goal for us (and our customers) is too keep our licensing somewhat understandable to people.

    This is how I feel as well. Even a simple license is a rough read for most people, and as Jackson mentions, it’s also very difficult to legally define the specific boundaries. I’d love to hear from more foundries.

  • I'm a little late chiming in but I'd pose the question this way . . .

    If you saw your fonts used in the opening of a blockbuster movie that made millions of dollars or saw it on a TV commercial hocking cleanser to millions of viewers throughout the world or if you saw it become the iconic opening credits of a television show via a streaming service, would you feel you're owed any financial compensation for improving somebody elses work product?

    If the answer is yes, then you should absolutely write a broadcast use restriction into your EULA. This is something I've included in my EULAs since the late 1990s and it has generated a significant additional source of income for me and my libraries over the course of time. I've never regretted having Broadcast Use restricted in my EULA but I did regret not having it there.

    Also, any firm who wants your font will always be happy to pay for it, they know these uses aren't free and you'll still get the exposure for the font but you'll also be fairly compensated for the use.
  • I know there's a parallel with music licensing here especially with broadcast usage for film and television. If you look at fonts having a similar IP value compared to music (or any other art form) then many of these extended licensing options such as broadcast make sense, right?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,511
    edited May 2016
    I think it comes down to whether you think fonts are more like art or more like art supplies. I'm inclined to the latter.
  • Miles NewlynMiles Newlyn Posts: 197

    Many helpful contributions to this subject - thank you all.

    Typotheque limits their broadcast license by region, but I think this is problematic since as soon as any audio visual media using the type get on the web it become impossible for the licensee to restrict the regional distribution, and as I understand it the costly worldwide license is then needed. Furthermore I'd be concerned by the annual renewal of the license in the circumstance that such media may be difficult to take down once it's on the web.

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 730
    We want to be able to keep our message simple "static use is included in the basic EULA; embedded use requires an addendum" in order to make it easier for licensees to comply.  Therefore broadcast use is covered.  
  • Miles NewlynMiles Newlyn Posts: 197
    I would think if titling/end credits etc in audio visual media as dynamic, not 'static'.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,240
    Miles, depends if the credits are scrolling or not? XD
  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 277
    In my opinion...

    Static use = Bitmap images of strings, paragraphs or pages.
    Dynamic use = Bitmap images of glyphs, that can be manipulated like a font.

    Movement or animation is irrelevant.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 730
    edited May 2016
    @Miles Newlyn to clarify, by "static" we mean "not embedded in a final software product".  We've seen some printers need embedding licenses for mass mailing products but we've never had to issue one for a broadcast channel.  
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