Time to Leave Creative Market - Default Font License Now Grants Unlimited Commercial Use

Well it's been fun Creative Market but any requests for sanity have now fallen on deaf ears as this organization now hellbent on running the font industry into the ground.

Meet the NEW Desktop License which grants the following uses:
The licensed font can appear in unlimited commercial and personal projects including, but not limited to, physical end products, social media, broadcast, packaging, and paid ads.

And with that, we're leaving . . .

I've reached out to as many folks at this organization as I can including the now former co-founder Aaron Epstein and his previous team prior to their being bought out and not a single response.

We owe it to our fellow font makers at Creative Market to let them know it's time to leave the party - I'm absolutely sickened by the lack of respect for the creatives who's backs this organization was built on now being poisoned at the well.


  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    I bailed recently.
  • CreativeMarket sent a letter stating that new types of licenses are coming soon: desktop; web; app; e-pub. Maybe you should wait a bit and then draw conclusions...
  • I will see how it pans out for a little while, but my inclination is to remove all my work too. I voiced my complete dissatisfaction with the new licences in a recent questionnaire. I had particular problems with the “sub-licensing” section, as well as the webfont licences that can also be used for an unlimited number of websites.  

    It seems they have ploughed ahead with the draft licensing in spite of the serious issues with them. Also, most of the shop owners are not used to licensing fonts elsewhere, so they just think it’s great to be able to license for different applications. So, the majority opinion is that their proposal is good for everyone. 

    I requested that shop owners should be able to opt out of these licences – this is key to me sticking it out or moving on.

    Creative Market was where I first started selling my fonts, so I have a soft spot for them. However, it seems there are new and inexperienced people at the company making questionable/unpopular changes to the site and some very poor decisions being made regarding licensing. It doesn't bode well.
  • We bailed a while ago; time to get the popcorn out I think!
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,086
    I requested that shop owners should be able to opt out of these licences – this is key to me sticking it out or moving on.
    I had assumed this was the case, from the reference to "default font license" in the thread title, but the original post just says "the font license". I can see why they've done this, because generally people buying a copy of a font, although they realize they're licensed to use it on only one machine, don't expect to face other usage restrictions.
    That, of course, doesn't apply to more serious corporate customers of more expensive typefaces. But I presume Creative Market expects Monotype Imaging, Font Font, and so on to continue to sell their fonts from their own web sites.
    Thus, my conclusion is that Creative Market thinks that everyone using it to sell fonts is a "little guy" or a near-amateur typeface designer, and they're no longer orienting their service to serious professional typeface designers. Therefore, those of you planning to bail will get no argument from me.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 786
    edited June 2019
    First, I don't think it's functional to permit a font to be licensed under a conventional reseller's EULA (where they are shipping the files for direct installation).  I believe that the only way to license a font is where it has one clear set of licenses (basic and add on).  Otherwise you introduce contradiction and loop holes.  

    That said, what's so wrong with permitting the basicly licensed to be used on unlimited commercial projects (so long as the use is static images)?  This is how almost all font licenses have functioned as long as I've been in the industry (11 years).   
  • Miles NewlynMiles Newlyn Posts: 235
    edited June 2019
    Broadcast use is the only one that I'd prefer to be kept out of general use. Still, I don't like the way some resellers continually change the EULAs without consensus from the IP owners. I quit MyFonts for this and some other reasons.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,703
    @Miles Newlyn
    I thought foundries on MyFonts could have their own individual licenses (EULAs)?
  • Miles NewlynMiles Newlyn Posts: 235
    @Thomas Phinney
    I don't remember it like that, but it was quite a long time ago.

  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    edited June 2019
    They will use your EULA if you want them to, but the default is to use their standard one. This is true of many distributors.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    FWIW, I've changed my own EULA a few times, but only to make it clearer or less restrictive.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,703
    edited June 2019
    My recollection is that MyFonts allowed foundries to use their own EULA going back many years. This was always what made them more of a distributor than a foundry, in my mind.
  • only to make it clearer or less restrictive.
    I'm curious, do you have a no-mod clause in your EULA? And if so, from the beginning?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    I've always allowed it, so long as the modified version is only distributed to users covered by the licensee's license. (I'm referring to the desktop license, to be clear.)
  • @Mark Simonson That's wonderful. I have a –sadly extremely short– list of foundries that allow modification, from which I recently lost a member (Monokrom) so I'm very happy to see you belong on it too.
  • Miles NewlynMiles Newlyn Posts: 235
    @Hrant H. Papazian @Mark Simonson

    I think 'no-mod' is there to preserve the quality of the work right? - mods done by the original type designer are best.
  • Aside from quality (such as how breaking open and regenerating removes kerning and feature code), it’s also a question of support. If the client runs into these sorts of problems, you’re now suddenly providing tech support for fonts you didn’t even make.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    edited June 2019
    @Miles Newlyn Yes, and customers still do come to me to make modifications. I just don't feel it needs to be a requirement.

    @Robin Mientjes Forgot to mention, my license also specifies that I don't provide tech support for user-modified fonts. This is sometimes probably why I still get requests to do modifications.
  • Of course there are practical (read: financial) advantages to disallowing modification. But to me it remains an ungracious short-changing of culture, especially when you consider that we necessarily stand on the shoulders of predecessors to some extent, sometimes greatly. The no-mod clause is especially egregious when it's a revival. A design is never merely about the points one places.

    And as Mark says, no need to provide support. Additionally, the original designer should be alerted to the modification plan in advance, and any modified version should be submitted back. All this gives the original designer much more of a chance to contribute (and get paid). Lastly, whenever the typeface is mentioned (for example in a colophon) that it was modified from an original must be pointed out.

    BTW a modification is not always best when done by the original designer, for example in extending a typeface to cover languages with characters they're not familiar with. Also, if a designer cannot meet a deadline, it's simply unfair.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,128
    I permit mods, and it’s worked for me. Case in point: Monotype modified a weight of Beaufort for the League of Legends web site, adding language support and changing the /3 to have a pointy top right. Frankly, I don’t often enjoy having to deal with adding language support, happy to not be involved, other than “cashing the cheque”. They did a super job on the Greek too, which was quite a challenge, given the nature of the design.
  • The terms of your license should reflect your value proposition, as they say.
    Although overall cultural health is its own "value proposition".

    I think you feel it's a "reasonable thing to allow" because you're a reasonable person, who doesn't do something simply because they can get away with it. BTW including a no-mod clause does not imply an intent to pursue violators – quite often it's simply a scare tactic, and something to hold over people's heads if so inclined.
  • BTW speaking of Monotype, people love to demonize them, but guess who largely legitimized the now broadly adored no-mod clause...
  • @Ray Larabie Indeed. Needless to say people will counter that with: "You're not buying the font, you're licensing it." Of course there's a difference between the two (for example they can't distribute copies of the font themselves) but to me this difference doesn't include not modifying it.

    Make no mistake however, a no-mod clause does affect you: it possibly traps people into paying you more (because everybody knows virtually nobody reads the EULA until it's too late, and that's because they're human beings, with lives). So the real reason to not include a no-mod clause is ethics, contra business (which is often something people simply need a little prodding to realize).

    BTW when you modify something, you generally void the warranty = no support. Which is totally fine for fonts too. You keep the support for the original, you're on your own for the mod.
  • For the record, I allow modifications, but I have the same logic as Mark: you forgo support for those files. It’s just that I’m a small business, support is hardly a concern and I can easily take care of my entire customer base.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    Maybe a small point, but... The analogy with physical things feels right but isn't quite right since we are selling licenses to use fonts, not the fonts themselves, which are IP we own. I don't allow users to modify the thing they are actually paying for, i.e., the license. :smile:

  • They're not buying the license either, because they can't distribute (or even re-use) the license itself. They're buying the right to use the font. So the question becomes: is modifying part of using? To me saying  No to that is culturally ungracious, because you modified other people's things (which goes way beyond point placement) to make your font.
  • Khaled HosnyKhaled Hosny Posts: 289
    Aside from quality (such as how breaking open and regenerating removes kerning and feature code),
    That not necessarily always the case. It is a limitation of some font editing tools (deliberate or not) not something inherit to font formats.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    I've never had to do support on a font someone else modified. Is this something that actually happens?
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