Experience with Monotype royalties owed

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Domenico
Domenico Posts: 4
edited December 2021 in Type Business
Hi all. It's a long time since I've hit up a type forum! I wish I could post something more positive but I'm reaching out to hear others' experience dealing with Monotype and receiving all owed royalties. I've been with Monotype for about 5 years. I signed up to fulfil an OEM order which couldn't be completed on MyFonts where I have been for around a decade. I suspect a glitch with being payed royalties from sales on Monotype's sites (excluding MyFonts, as MyFonts has its own database which works for me).
I recently discovered I have no access to data in the Monotype vendor portal. I also haven't received a payment since fulfilling the OEM order 5 years ago. It strikes me as odd that email reports sent to me from Monotype indicate I am only owed an accumulation of puny royalties for their once available cloud fonts service which are below payment threshold. I am a very small time foundry but I have reason to suspect they're selling my type without paying me as I receive license inquiries and can see sales on MyFonts. I also managed to obtain a Linotype invoice from a designer who purchased an app license recently for my typeface. I was only able to do this because this friendly designer contacted me to ask where they could obtain an app license prior to the sale.
Before anyone draws any conclusions I make no accusations that Monotype is acting deliberately to not pay royalties. I am not looking to discredit them—I am just illustrating my issue to understand where I stand. It may very well be an isolated case.
I have been speaking with Monotype's email only foundry support for weeks but responses are slow, underwhelming and frustrating as I have to repeat myself and continually chase them up.
It'd be great to hear any experiences or advice how I might be able to solve this. This post may very well encourage you to check your reports as it took me quite a while to realise something was up.

Comments

  • Domenico
    Domenico Posts: 4
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    Note: I have no idea how the double space between the paragraphs got in my post... apologies in advance!
  • Peter_Schoenwald
    Peter_Schoenwald Posts: 6
    edited July 2020
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    Hi Domenico,
    I do not believe anything fishy is going on, but from what you said, I think I may know what's actually amiss.

    First, what do you mean "I have no access to data in the Monotype vendor portal"? Why don't you, did you forget your login info? And why not contact them to reset your password or see what the issue is with your access?

    But let's get to the main problems; and that is what are the exact reasons you have to believe something is not right. As I've gathered from your post they are as follows;

    "I have reason to suspect they're selling my type without paying me as I receive license inquiries and can see sales on MyFonts"

    So, your first indication is basically "if my fonts are selling on MyFonts, they must be selling on Monotype". That is hardly the case. MyFonts is a much more visited site and the fact your fonts are actively being sold there does not mean they must be in demand on other smaller sites as well. Especially in your case, as you say you are a very small foundry, but more importantly "have no access" to the vendor portal, which means you haven't set up any promotions and discounts in past years, which are an important tool for building exposure.

    Your second indication is

    "I also managed to obtain a Linotype invoice from a designer who purchased an app license recently".

    which is implying that you can confirm a sale has happened but was not reported to you, right? Well, what do you mean by "recently"? It is now mid-July, so something "recent" must have happened either in July, June, or even May. If it happened this month, how could it have been reported to you since you don't know your login info for the vendor portal? And if it happened in May or June, how could that be reported to you since it would be included in the quarterly report for the past quarter, which you will not receive until the end of this month? (Also, for some external sales on sister sites, I know it takes until the quarterly report for them to be stated, so even if you did have access to the vendor portal, it may not be entered until the end of the fiscal quarter in question.)

    I know you are careful not to make serious accusations of fraud, and it is perfectly fine to question financial practices of a system you are not familiar with, but please first get your facts straight and write about any such problems you may have concisely and clearly, which would make it easier for us here to try and help you, and for Monotype to both explain their practices to you, and check if there is indeed any mistake. If you write in this manner I am not surprised their answers are "underwhelming and frustrating" and that you have to repeat yourself, because you are not explaining the situation well. 

    As a first step, you should have written to them about your problems with access to the portal and asked for a solution. Second of all, any inquiry about the missing funds should also simply state which exact indication you have something is wrong.

    pS

  • Domenico
    Domenico Posts: 4
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    Hi Domenico,
    I do not believe anything fishy is going on, but from what you said, I think I may know what's actually amiss.

    First, what do you mean "I have no access to data in the Monotype vendor portal"? Why don't you, did you forget your login info? And why not contact them to reset your password or see what the issue is with your access?

    But let's get to the main problems; and that is what are the exact reasons you have to believe something is not right. As I've gathered from your post they are as follows;

    "I have reason to suspect they're selling my type without paying me as I receive license inquiries and can see sales on MyFonts"

    So, your first indication is basically "if my fonts are selling on MyFonts, they must be selling on Monotype". That is hardly the case. MyFonts is a much more visited site and the fact your fonts are actively being sold there does not mean they must be in demand on other smaller sites as well. Especially in your case, as you say you are a very small foundry, but more importantly "have no access" to the vendor portal, which means you haven't set up any promotions and discounts in past years, which are an important tool for building exposure.

    Your second indication is

    "I also managed to obtain a Linotype invoice from a designer who purchased an app license recently".

    which is implying that you can confirm a sale has happened but was not reported to you, right? Well, what do you mean by "recently"? It is now mid-July, so something "recent" must have happened either in July, June, or even May. If it happened this month, how could it have been reported to you since you don't know your login info for the vendor portal? And if it happened in May or June, how could that be reported to you since that would be included in the quarterly report for the past quarter, which you will not receive until the end of this month? (Also, for some external sales on sister sites, I know it takes until the quarterly report for them to be stated, so even if you did have access to the vendor portal, it may not be entered until the end of the fiscal quarter in question.)

    I know you are careful not to make serious accusations of fraud, and it is perfectly fine to question financial practices of a system you are not familiar with, but please first get your facts straight and write about any such problems you may have concisely and clearly, which would make it easier for us here to try and help you, and for Monotype to try and explain. If you write in this manner I am not surprised their answers are "underwhelming and frustrating" and that you have to repeat yourself, because you are not explaining the situation well. 

    You need to state your problem clearly. As a first step, you should have written to them about your problems with access to the portal and asked for a solution. Second of all, any inquiry about the missing funds should also simply state which exact indication you have something is wrong.

    pS

    Hi Peter. I'll try keep my reply brief as your reply has gone into a few tangents. I'll clarify:

    1) I have tried to resolve issues with vendor portal.. my issue is best described as I can login but there is zero data to see. Further I cannot even select my foundry where I should be able to.

    2) Well aware that sales on MyFonts does not equal sales on Monotype. I'm only claiming how odd it is to be experiencing what I am experiencing overall. It doesn't make sense especially since app licensing is only available on Monotype sites (excluding MyFonts) and over the years have had multiple enquiries I have referred on. Consider that this experience accounts for those that have actually reached out to me.

    3) You have made a fair few assumptions that don't stack up but in response to 'getting my facts straight': I feel everything I need to say I have said and have done so accurately. I'm seeking to be concise as I value the time it takes to read a post and reply!
  • Domenico
    Domenico Posts: 4
    edited July 2020
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    Also, good point Peter about how recent the invoice is. Yes. If I had access to real time sales (as I should) OR took the time to contact everyone who has emailed I would have a more accurate picture. I already felt bad enough contacting the person I did as I felt it wasn't right but was pushed into a corner by support (I only asked if they purchased the license and when without any obligation) but we had a good rapport and they went above and beyond with the invoice.

    Should also clarify I have worked really hard with foundry support to itemise issues. There's also other context I could mention but it's superfluous to the discussion here. 
  • Die in-dryfoun
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    Important message to rookie type designers: Be very very careful with what you sign when you are presented with a draft distribution agreement. Always ask for legal advice and also consult with more experienced type professionals (well, at least the ones who haven't sold their souls to big type/software corporations).
  • Christian Thalmann
    Christian Thalmann Posts: 1,965
    edited December 2021
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    I have a similar problem with my Monotype sales. Apparently Quinoa has been doing well on Fonts.com (well enough to participate in an upcoming promo), but I'm not seeing any evidence of any sales outside of MyFonts. Can someone point me to the location of that information?
    EDIT: According to this page, I can't see my current Fonts.com sales anywhere, but I'm supposed to receive a detailed PDF each quarter. As far as I can tell, I haven't.
  • Christian Thalmann
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    Ah, I did find the royalty statement after all. It's branded «Monotype» rather than «Fonts.com», so I didn't find it when I searched. I got one for September, so presumably there should be one coming in for December any time now.
    I also did get a payment for that royalty statement, even if it seems to have lost $50.— in transaction fees...
  • Christian Thalmann
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    Ah no, my mistake. There were in fact two royalty statements that I mixed up. 
  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,169
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    Yes, PDFs with different content but the same file name—from different branches of the same company, sent from the same email address—can be confusing!