Marking Copies of Fonts

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  • Blockchain yadayada here or there, the two big problems are: The practical implications of embedding such licensing information in a font on purchase and having all major players do so across the industry. And solving the case of end users with malicious intent simply being able to delete that information from the font.
  • Jeremy DooleyJeremy Dooley Posts: 50
    edited January 2018
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  • We have a problem with centralization and typefaces. Those databases and servers can and do go down. As far as the business aspect, Monotype anyone? Breaking that monopoly will require a 10x solution, and cryptocurrency is the best option on the horizon.
    What makes a cryptocurrency the best option? Plenty of type foundries—H&FJ, OkayType, House, Commercial Type, Typotheque—do fine on their own. Type Network is building a MyFonts replacement with a slowly growing list of foundries. It seems what really matters is quality work, a good reputation, and marketing. None of that requires a cryptocurrency or a blockchain to manage licensing.
  • I should clarify that Monotype provides genuine value with it's marketplace. It comes at a price: 50% to be exact. With existing technology, the market has determined that is the price that must be paid. Those going it alone do so with significant overhead costs. I suspect, in many cases, with notable exceptions, they are leaving money on the table. The Monotype marketplace has enabled many designers to get their start.

    I dare to dream of a world where technology unshackles creators from those who do not provide value more than what technology provides. A decentralized marketplace, curated by what we now call a distributor. When creators keep the vast amount of the sale, that is good for everyone who creates IP. 
  • I dare to dream of a world where technology unshackles creators from those who do not provide value more than what technology provides. A decentralized marketplace, curated by what we now call a distributor. When creators keep the vast amount of the sale, that is good for everyone who creates IP. 
    I doubt anybody is arguing against that, but it's not clear how blockchain based license tracking would replace the traditional marketplace with a decentralized one. How does licence information in a font file (mind you, as a removable hash) help anyone purchasing a font? How does it replace retailers? How does it help retailers automatically pay out designers with hundreds of different licensing models?

    Like with many things in the type industry the lack of any kind of agreed upon standard is a far bigger problem to overcome. That is not to say that even with traditional distribution such IPR tracking based off blockchain technology could not be useful. But it isn't the kind of cure it all you present it as. In regard to this topic it is highly interesting, of course, and I see the advantage of decentralization when it comes to embedding license information in the font in that manner.
  • Unfortunately I do not have the time or persuasive ability to explain the implications of smart contracts or ipfs but I can point you in the right direction. 




  • David Gerard's Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain has a great primer on smart contracts.
    Apologists note that The DAO was just an experiment (a $150 million experiment) to answer the question: can we have a workable decentralized autonomous organization, running on smart contracts, with no human intervention? And it answered it: no, probably not.
  • Jim ParrilloJim Parrillo Posts: 10
    edited September 24
    I was thinking about this issue just last night, and glad to see there had been some discussion on this. There is something called a "Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP)" which sounds to me like it's part of the core issue here.
    The question is: "How can you verify that Person A has a proper license (and thereby unlock access to the font files) when the database to confirm Person A is closed and not accessible." Or in essence, "Can we allow Person A access a safe and keep the safe locked AT THE SAME TIME."
    For those far more technical than I, integrating this into .OTF/.TTF would seem to be a methodology to look out for.
    There's a number of companies that are working on these types of systems, and you can be sure that Apple, Microsoft and Google are all working on their own specific flavor.
    If independent font foundries work together to integrate this technology independently first, and choose methods that will work to our advantage, it will mean a huge coup for the little guys.
  • Jeremy Tankard includes details of the licensee in his fonts: https://typography.net/licensing#demo
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