protecting my design while presenting it to a foundry

I am new to this world, designing my first font. I wonder do any of you have experience you can share about the hazards of presenting a new font without it getting stolen? Is there any protection that I should get and use?
Thanks for your consideration.

Comments

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,654
    edited August 29
    Not really.  :-(

    The NDA is a tool of those already in power, not those seeking power... Meaning: somebody seeking favor cannot ask for the other party to take a risk; the risk here being that they might already be working on something similar, and if they agree not to "copy" yours, they get stuck...

    Ergo: you have to trust the party you're showing. Also: you have to be honest to yourself concerning the originality of your work; and not be too protectionist if you end up seeing something you feel is too close.

    Related: showing your work in public is an interesting double-edged sword. On the one hand the chances of being copied are much higher; on the other hand because you thenhave the first public record of it, it's much easier to lay claim, and less likely a given person will be brazen enough to copy it. Now, if you do show something in public, make sure you don't take too long to release it...
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,901
    The NDA is a tool of those already in power
    An NDA is a legal agreement between two parties, and can contain any requirements of either party to which both agree, including entirely equivalent responsibilities of mutual confidentiality and agreement not to make use of any information revealed by either party. If you are concerned by the risk that Hrant posits, you can include a requirement to disclose any in-process work that may be deemed similar to what you are disclosing, so there will be no future doubt.

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,654
    edited August 30
    @John Hudson wrote:
    "you can include a requirement to disclose any in-process work that may be deemed similar to what you are disclosing, so there will be no future doubt."

    Which very few in a position of power will agree to, because they generally won't trust an unfamiliar party to not steal their ideas, agreement or not; suing for breach of NDA does not bring your idea back... And usually the other party isn't materially even worth suing. So hypothetical NDAs are one thing, the realities of power are another, and an unproven beginner, being an unknown, simply has very little power.

    BTW @jefecarpenter along the lines of what @ronotypo expressed, I highly recommend the Type Crit Crew: https://medium.com/typecritcrew/type-crit-crew-fdd180b881c
    Not least because people who offer their time for free are less likely to be thieves...
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,901
    The original post didn't ask anything about seeking a crit of work or getting feedback. The question was about presenting work to a foundry, presumably to consider licensing or sale for distribution. That is a professional interaction, and the only way to protect yourself at all is to put the terms of the interaction into a contract. If the foundry won't agree to terms that protect your work from exploitation, that isn't a foundry you want to work with anyway.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,654
    edited August 30
    @John Hudson The point is virtually no reputable foundry will agree, hence the responsibility to give advice that will actually help. That's what beginners need way more than legal hypotheticals.
  • @Hrant H. Papazian  We're reputable and it's mostly just that we don't have time to give away.  We try to be encouraging but if you need design coaching you should take a class.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,901
    That's what beginners need way more than legal hypotheticals.
    What beginners need is guidance on how professional practice actually works, what people who have experienced have found useful and practical, and how things are typically done. We use NDAs. The industry uses NDAs. They work pretty well. Do they still require a measure of trust? Yes, and bulletproof protection against a bad actor isn't possible, but NDAs provide a reasonable measure of protection and reassurance. That is why they are used.

    [Last on the subject.]
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,654
    edited August 30
    @John Hudson Of course NDAs are useful, and I've signed a few. But even somebody who has sold fonts since the 1980s might not find themselves in a position to demand one, much less a beginner. So after offering "guidance on how professional practice actually works" (it works to the benefit of the powerful) I attempted to give more actionable guidance. Versus being officious.

    [Just like giving useful advice is a duty, so is public discourse.]
  • @Hrant H. Papazian In my experience no one refuses to sign an NDA when asked - it just looks bad.  What people will sometimes do is agree only to sign their own NDA.  I'd be careful in that situation but I'd not flat out refuse to sign someone else's NDA without asking my lawyer.  It's pretty difficult to make them horrible since they are so basic.
  • Thanks very much for your viewpoints, and your suggestions.
    I value your thoughtful contributions.
  • @jefecarpenter BTW, forgot to say: welcome to the world of type design! (In spite of certain things, it's a better place to be than most.)
  • @Hrant H. Papazian In my experience no one refuses to sign an NDA when asked - it just looks bad.
    In my experience, some do refuse to sign an NDA! It tends to work only when the refusing party has some leverage (i.e. some reason for the other party to care), but I’ve seen it and made effort to address the concern(s) in some cases. I think it’s always good to read carefully and challenge things that seem wrong. It doesn’t mean you’re always going to win or be right, but sometimes old contract language needs improvement.
  • Christopher Slye said:
    It tends to work only when the refusing party has some leverage
    Bingo.
Sign In or Register to comment.