Adobe Creative Cloud - Now Allowing YOUR Fonts to be Added!



  • To clarify three things:
    1. I think it's not till tomorrow, actually.
    2.  It doesn't allow collaboration.  It's just for an individual account. (yes, I know)  So, in some ways it's exactly like the current situation where you can install fonts on your system.  Of course, the ideal is to improve on current, not maintain the poor status quo
    3. This is only for fonts that aren't already in their system via a contract.

    Anyone have a screenshot of the various screens when someone uploads?  I'd like to see what kind of agreement they are requiring of the end users.  If they are collecting and distributing data when a font is uploaded I'd consider that a boon to license enforcement.

  • Stuart SandlerStuart Sandler Posts: 329
    edited March 2020
    Joyce, the screens are clearly shown as you scroll down.

    The only requirement for users is a checkbox they click that says they have the license to upload the font - Step 5 on page. There is literally zero validation or proof of purchase and it's for every font from everywhere not in their system.

    At least Font Squirrel allowed a blacklist but there has been zero dialog with the font industry about this. It feels deeply irresponsible to font makers who don't participate in the Adobe Fonts program.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 769
    edited March 2020
    Yes, I agree. This is a typical move fast and break things attitude.  I'm sure they think it's fine because it is the same as the status quo, not a new lower standard.

    Even if no one ever lied, end users often think they have a license when they don't.

    I'm not in a position to do anything since we do almost no custom work and all our retail fonts are with them.  Perhaps they will listen if people are loud enough.  

    If it comes to suing, I implore you to get someone better than Martinez.  

  • Over on Twitter, Nick Sherman commented:
    The difference between licenses based on number of “users” vs “computers” just became a lot more critical.
    I added:
    Also, clauses that prohibit making copies except for archival purposes (an upload is a copy, no?), installing the fonts on a server, distributing the fonts to third parties (I’d assume you don’t “retain exclusive custody and control”* over a font uploaded to an Adobe server).
    In my reading, most EULAs prevent such usage. Foundries need to adjust the wording to reflect the current reality.** Strictly speaking, the common clause about “only one archival copy” is at odds with cloud backup systems or Time Machine, too.

    *) That phrase is from Monotype’s EULA.
    **) That is, if they want their customers to make use of this new feature, of course.

  • k.l.k.l. Posts: 91
    edited March 2020
    Couldn't agree more with this.

    This begs the question, though, do we really need to rewrite EULA’s* every couple of months as fonty people or companies are constantly dreaming up yet another clever way to either cash in on otherones’ IP outright or to make their own IP more attractive by allowing their users to do odd things with otherones’ IP? None of these creative fellows, Adobe in particular, had just heard the word ‘font’ for the very first time.

    * If only to clarify what they have stated before.
  • It's far worst than that Floran, take a look at this passage from the site.

    This means any Adobe CC subscriber can freely use your fonts on iOS devices which means they never need to purchase such a license from a foundry.
  • I don't understand: what capability is this feature actually providing? How is installing the font in the CC app different than installing in the OS? 
  • Technically, CC decentralizes the font from residing on a single End User CPU/Desktop OS device into a cloud-based network.

    Universally, we accept that an End User should be able to use fonts they previously purchased on their own Desktop devices under the terms of the EULA they purchased.

    If those same fonts were then uploaded from a Desktop device to a cloud-based network so the same End User could access them on a different Desktop device under their control, it would even seem on the surface to be harmless or at worst convenient for them to access these fonts virtually anywhere they had an active Adobe CC subscription.

    In reality, the act of uploading the fonts to a cloud-based network is in effect redistribution which is wholly forbidden by nearly every EULA in existence and therefore the End User NEVER has the right to perform such an upload.

    This means that when the End User is presented with a checkbox confirming they have such a right to upload purchased fonts, both Adobe AND the End User knowingly and illegally are infringing the terms of the EULA.

    This may seem to be a picky technicality of licensing going from one platform to another and back again (which remains forbidden) and could be easily dismissed but let's go further . . .

    If that same End User uploads a previously purchased font from a Desktop OS device into the cloud-based network and can now access that font via their Mobile OS Devices, in effect, not only has the End User bypassed proper foundry licensing for use on mobile devices BUT they didn't have to pay any additional fee for such uses.

    The issue becomes infinitely more concerning when you multiply the volume of CC subscribers that are now getting the benefit of using fonts on unlicensed platforms which can extend to web, mobile, Adobe's ad's platform, and so on.

    There are literally no checks and balances that a foundry can implement to prevent unlicensed illegal distribution and uses of its fonts via CC which can ultimately have a significant impact on the ability for the foundry to generate income on those platforms or devices.

    To be sure, while this may seem trivial as I write it in 2020, if we extrapolate into the future, a future where MOST if not all art school grads are working solely on mobile devices, desktop licensing will become reduced to nearly nothing and all font sales will be made via mobile devices.

    The question remains, if we give away our right as content creators to allow our fonts to be distributed freely, how can we sustain any livelihood?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,586
    It is no different.

    The Creative Cloud app has become a system-level font manager, that can make your own fonts (in addition to the Adobe Fonts collection) available across your devices — soon to include mobile devices as well as Mac and Windows.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 769
    edited March 2020
    @Thomas Phinney, beg to disagree.

    First, it is calcifying the existing dysfunctional system.  Presently, fonts are the only expensive-to-make software that as a default can't control the number of copies, push EULA agreement, or require the entry of a serial number (proof of purchase) on installation.  Everything can be cracked, but some short sighted engineers back in the day made OS such that fonts have to be made defenseless.  The result is that many end users legitimately think their employer has a license covering their use when it does not. 

    We've all gotten accustomed to the idea that we just need to live with rampand license violations because the end users, for the most part, aren't doing it on purpose.  I've even built a career on it, but that doesn't mean I believe it is optimal for anyone.  This is one of those moments when the choice not to improve something amounts to choosing to make it worse.  We could lose our window for improvement and who knows when it will come around again.

    Second, so far they don't have a black list - which should scare everyone.  The only fonts that can be added this way are the ones that AREN'T already licensed to Adobe CC. There are some legitimate reasons Adobe would want to do this - namely permitting commissioning clients to add proprietary and exclusive custom fonts that can't be added to the full system - but just as many reasons why this broadly undermines intellectual property ownership. 

    It's not just us who are hurt.  Presently, if a font isn't already with Adobe it could only be accessed on desktop.  That effectively shut out a lot of potential pirates not just of our fonts but of proprietary fonts commissioned by companies.  

  • So, the main added benefit is sync'ing across the user's devices.

    @Stuart Sandler: Suppose I've purchased a license for a font that allows me, a single user, to use it on five devices. Suppose further that I've put a copy of the font file into my OneDrive folder so that (i) I have it automatically backed up and (ii) can easily access it from my (up to) five devices to install. Are you saying that the latter would likely comprise a redist in violation of the EULA? Looking at some EULAs, I see mention of "installing on a server", but storing a copy of the file on a server doesn't seem to me to be the same as installing on the server. Please clarify.
  • @Peter Constable not syncing across devices exactly.  It's a work around for the fact you can't directly install fonts onto tablets.
  • @Peter Constable Joyce is correct, backing up or storing font files is one thing but installing and working with fonts in applications on an unlicensed devices via a storage platform that's serving as a transfer method is entirely something else I'm sure you would agree.

    I'll also bring to your attention Section 7 of the Monotype EULA which is the default EULA presented for all fonts sold on MyFonts when a foundry hasn't added its own:

    7. Transfer of the Font Software. You may not rent, lease, sublicense, give, lend, or further distribute the Font Software, or any copy thereof, except as expressly provided herein.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,947
    edited March 2020
    I’m inclined to rewrite some of my EULA to accommodate this. I’m sure that many of my users are freelancers who license a font for one device and use it on a laptop and an iMac, and will soon be running it on an iPad as well. So I think I’ll move away from licensing per number of devices to number of users. Of course I’ll still require people using a font server, including CC, to have a license for every possible user. Can’t have people buying a license for one user and passing the file around between three designers and two editors!

    Not that it matters much, most of my stuff is on CC anyway. But might as well accommodate the people who have CC and still buy the fonts.
  • It's far worst than that Floran, take a look at this passage from the site.

    This means any Adobe CC subscriber can freely use your fonts on iOS devices which means they never need to purchase such a license from a foundry.
    I, as a user, wouldn’t expect to need to buy an additional licence for my iOS device if I stay within the licenced number of devices. What’s the difference whether I use a font in Pages on macOS or Pages in iOS?

    Are you mixing it up with app embedding licences? These are a totally different thing, there the font is installed and used on devices the owners of which do not have their own font licence.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,337
    In the case of the MyFonts default license that @Stuart Sandler mentioned...

    7. Transfer of the Font Software. You may not rent, lease, sublicense, give, lend, or further distribute the Font Software, or any copy thereof, except as expressly provided herein.

    ... if the customer backs up a font on DropBox, they're not distributing it, are they? Isn't it only distribution if there's a recipient? If a customer uploads a font to their personal Adobe CC cloud, wouldn't it be essentially the same as backing it up to Dropbox? I think Adobe mentioned that the fonts can't be shared with other CC the customer truly distributing fonts in this case?

  • ... if the customer backs up a font on DropBox, they're not distributing it, are they? Isn't it only distribution if there's a recipient? If a customer uploads a font to their personal Adobe CC cloud, wouldn't it be essentially the same as backing it up to Dropbox?
    This is what I'm wondering as well. CC is providing sync'ing of fonts between devices. But is it also allowing fonts added by one user to be accessed by other users?

    I'd be surprised if that were the case for desktop/tablet utilization in authoring contexts, though I could imagine (I haven't looked into this) them also making it possible to use the fonts for Web content created by the given user. (I.e., I add a font file into CC and now I can use it as a Web font on my site.)
  • @Jens Kutilek our Desktop EULA is indeed User specific (with device limitations) which exclude the use on mobile devices. We understand this isn't embedding use, we simply restrict the fonts to desktop and laptop installation and uses only.

    @Peter Constable in my opinion, this is a letter of the law concern, not a spirit of the law one. Indeed, back-up is back-up and as technology evolves the difference between a local CPU back-up and a cloud based back-up is becoming blurred lines. We can agree remote software back-ups are common sense.

    Legally as per the line I cited in the Monotype EULA, there is no question that uploading a font to any 3rd party is redistribution of the font software files, even if it's for the benefit of the same End User.

    Given that, even if we're now talking about headless terminal situation where any User anywhere who doesn't own a computer wishes to access their CC account and CC apps with their activated Adobe Fonts from any coffee shop computer throughout the planet, again totally makes sense.

    If that same User purchases our fonts and wishes to upload them into CC, with purchase validation and permission we would agree this makes common sense. Today there is no such mechanism in place for these things, especially when the same fonts are sold via MANY 3rd party distributors or converted from WOFF files easily found online and distributed freely.

    Specifically, to just give the user a checkbox to check that confirms they have permission and have purchased the correct license to add to their font library is simply irresponsible. There are simply no checks or balances in this system which are unfair to all parties, not just the foundry. Users will unknowingly put themselves at risk for violating EULAs, Adobe is acting willfully to allow these infringements to occur and the foundry for its part is potentially losing sales it would've otherwise captured.

    To Peter's comment, indeed it is on Adobe's roadmap to allow uploaded fonts to be accessible in their other authoring environments which include mobile. I cannot confirm if web display is planned but as it's already an existing capability, it would not be surprising.
  • k.l.k.l. Posts: 91
    edited March 2020

    ... if the customer backs up a font on DropBox, they're not distributing it, are they? Isn't it only distribution if there's a recipient? If a customer uploads a font to their personal Adobe CC cloud, wouldn't it be essentially the same as backing it up to Dropbox?
    [...] But is it also allowing fonts added by one user to be accessed by other users?

    I'd be surprised if that were the case for desktop/tablet utilization in authoring contexts, [...]
    Adobe has been working on piecing together an integrated marketing environment for years now, from design software over collaboration tools to marketing/analytics tools. Allowing individual designers to upload ‘their’ fonts as such is of little value, if merely meant to install such fonts across devices. (Phase one, testing IP owners’ reactions.) In context of an integrated marketing environment, which is all about collaboration, the ability to upload fonts would make perfect sense, though, once a company can disseminate fonts, alongside other design building blocks, to internal design teams, external design agencies, freelancers, etc. (Phase two, the actual product/service.)

    Now if Adobe would combine phase two functionality with giving automated feedback to respective type foundries – that of course would be an interesting thing for all parties involved. Type foundries included. This could be something like “company C or agency A wants to share fonts F with X other users, does C or A have permission to do so, please confirm or contact C or A”. This kind of automated feedback actually would make sense even with phase one functionality ... (Fonts usually have a designer and/or foundry url in them so sending an automated mail to anything@url should be piece of cake for a service.)
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 769
    edited March 2020
    @James Puckett " rewriting your EULA is what they want you to do.  I have no retail fonts that aren't in their system but for our custom fonts and renamed mods I intend to issue an addendum.  It will both permit Adobe use and convert the license to user based from CPU based.  If I had retail fonts not in their library I'd do the same, mostly because my license is CPU based (and charge).  However, if I already had a user based license I'd still require an addendum.  It's partly a way to avoid an otherwise unnecessary rewrite, but it also is the only way to address existing licensees.  You could issue the addendum for free if you want but I'd personally not because I don't want people to feel this extra functionality has no value is has no value. It does and I'm kinda in favor of it the same way i like any enhancement in technology, as long as I'm not forced to give it away for free.
  • @Peter Constable  dropbox doesn't convert the font or make any use of it.  Adobe has to do some things to onboard it.
  • k.l.k.l. Posts: 91
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 769
    edited April 2020
    @Christopher Slye  Thank you for weighing in.  

    As you know, my concern has always been that most end users have no idea what licensing they have.  It doesn't take bad faith for a thing that relies on end user knowledge to lead to a lot of violations. 

    Also as a nonlawyer, I honestly think it would take a court to decide on the correct interpretation of "distribute".  I think your interpretation is conflating distribution and storage, and I understand a bunch of people here are doing that, but I personally have never seen it that way.  They are two separate things that are often in the same clause.  Storage is not relevant since what Adobe is doing is permitting a use.  This new case is not literally distribution but I think the argument that distribution clauses show the intent of licensors to limit the scope of the license is pretty clear.  My understanding is that courts take these sorts of things into consideration in cases of unanticipated innovations.  

    Regardless, a lot of licenses simply don't permit this just because the end user is already maxed out on what the license covers in terms of computers/CPUs. Even most user based licenses, like those issued by Adobe, have a maximum number of devices per user which could be maxed out.

    Almost all the license violations I encounter are caused by employees of large companies thinking they are covered when they are not.  People wrongly focus on knowing piracy as if there would be no license violations if everyone was honest.
  • Craig RozynskiCraig Rozynski Posts: 29
    edited September 2020
    I've read through this thread in detail as I need to sort out my own approach to licensing, and would like to eventually see my fonts available through the Adobe fonts library.

    Based on everything I've read here font licensing is incredibly complicated, fluid, and full of loopholes.

    Licensing exists to ensure font creators get paid for their work. 

    The buyer doesn't care, they just want to use what they've paid for.

    I'd love your opinion: Hypothetically I start a foundry and sell fonts without licenses. No licenses!!! At checkout it simply states the purchase is subject to the condition the font can not be resold or distributed.

    I accept that without a licence a certain percentage of sales are going to slip through the cracks. I have faith the majority of people want to do the right thing. I sleep better at night not having to worry about my EULA wording and the effect the constantly changing industry landscape might be having on it.

    Please tell me why this is a terrible idea.

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 769
    edited September 2020
    @craig.rozynski I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.  I am a business person and so this is help at thinking strategically about a business question.

    What you're describing is a very simple license.  If you have literally no license then you can't even assert the one thing you care about.  That said, you need things like governing law, etc in order to be able to enforce that.   Software needs a contract.  Sometimes it constitutes assignment of rights, not a license, but it needs some sort of a contract and contracts all have some ministerial things that need to be covered.

    To determine if this is really something you want to do, don't think about the ideal scenario.  Ask yourself, "if one of the top companies in the world used my font as their primary brand font under the terms I'm imagining, having bought a fairly low user license, would I feel cheated?"  If the answer is yes then you're going to want to do more.

  • @JoyceKetterer thank you for telling me so eloquently why it was a terrible idea  :D
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 769
    edited September 2020
    @craig.rozynski I really wasn't trying to say that.  You could have some altruistic purpose for designing fonts or some other reason that your answer to my hypothetical wouldn't be "oh, shit, that's a bad idea".  I don't pretend to know your situation or priorities and I don't think that there's ever one answer to a business question.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,337
    edited September 2020
    @craig.rozynski From my experience going with an unusual EULA can cause problems with distribution. If you're doing your own distribution, maybe an interesting EULA could work. But if you're going through distributors, you have to play ball. At one time I had an agreement that was a properly constructed legal agreement that allowed the customer pretty much what you described. Some distributors, understandably didn't like it. If you think of it from their point of view you can imagine what a pain in the ass it would be to have to deal with that. They're negotiating custom agreements and they have to explain to a customer that font A charges $1000 for app embedding and font B lets you do it for free.

    And some customers didn't like it. I had to sign custom agreements. I'm sure they would have rather paid for a normal license that to have to do all that paperwork. Think about design agencies. Do they want to deal with some kind of creative license strategy?  Wouldn't they prefer a bog standard EULA that they don't have to think too much about. You'd think everyone would appreciate freer license terms but not everyone does. If you really want to give it away, consider established libre licenses.

    Customers appreciate creativity in typeface design but not in EULA design.
  • Not having a license, or leaving basic license terms unstated, undermines your ownership of your work. It’s a vague, general principle so I don’t want to try to get into specifics (and besides, I am not a lawyer), but without asserting your ownership and control, specifying permissions and restrictions, and related IP concerns like copyright and trademark, you’re risking someone asserting in the future that some of it isn’t yours to control.

    There are two common paths to the very reasonable desire to avoid creating a EULA out of thin air: First, an existing open source license will offer broad permissions to users but protect many of your basic rights as the owner of font IP. Second, signing up with a font distributor leaves the licensing to them — and as Ray mentions, many users will be happier to deal with a license their lawyers are already familiar with.
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