How to approach a complete font buyout

Hey, everyone! I have no doubt this has been asked before, but times change and new experiences happen, so I thought I'd ask it (again). I was approached by a company that wants to buy one or more fonts from me as well as any and all rights associated to them. They didn't even suggest a purchase price, but rather told me to make them the offer since they just started their fiscal year and budget requests are an option.

So, I'm pretty new to the idea and I was wondering, for those of you who've been there, done that, if you have any recommendations on how to approach the financial side of this, I'm all ears.


  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 766
    edited May 2020
    The first question is what you think that font could make over its lifetime if you continued to be able to license it retail?  Then, by how much are your willing to discount that if you got it in one big chuck right now?

    But also, if this is a font that already existis in the world, and some people have licenses, I wanna ask the client why they want to own the rights to it?  Can you satify the interlaying impulse they are trying to fulfil with some other licensing scheme?

  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 262
    Thanks, Joyce. Really appreciate your thoughts. I think we're on the same wavelength about approaching the purchase cost. There are users who have purchased licenses directly from me, so I'll be sure to add a clause in the purchase agreement about existing users and that the purchase only affects the usage of the fonts after the purchase date.

    In this particular case, the potential buyer would become the owner of the fonts going forward (though I'd love to know what you mean by "buy all possible licensing"). This is because they want to be able to include it in their GPL-licensed open source software which requires the fonts to be either GPL, SIL OFL, or similar since the fonts are compiled into the program itself and not referred to externally. The purpose is to make sure users don't run into font issues when collaborating with others.

    "Buyout" was my choice of wording for this thread, probably poorly chosen. What would you recommend instead, given what I've described above?
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 766
    edited May 2020
    @AbrahamLee Assignment of rights for what I thought you meant but see @John Hudson for what you actually meant
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 766
    Yeah, some people say "complete buy out" when they just mean perpetual unlimited licensing of all kinds (basic, web, app, etc).  This sort of license can still be non exclusive.  Other people use enterprise this way.  But there are also people who say they want "an enterprise license" when they mean perpetual and unlimited for only one type of licensing.  We have a rule at Darden Studio to never use either because it just makes a mess of confusion.
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