Copyrighting Font Software

Does anyone have any experience in how to submit font software for copyright purposes? Apparently they reject the actual OTF/TTF font formats and are requesting a XML format? Does this sound right? And how do you go about converting to XML? I would have thought if you are copyrighting the actual font software, that the OTF should have been accebtible? Anyone have any advice they can give?


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,039

    Software copyright is widely based on the concept that source code is a literary work. Basically, that is how copyright registrars decided to handle this thing that was new and unfamiliar to them: by pretending it was something old and familiar. So while the actual value in software is in the experience of using it, copyright associates the intellectual property value with the code used to write the software. So, in the case of fonts, while we all know that the value resides in the compiled binary that can be used as a font, copyright registrars—depending on jurisdiction—may be looking for something that they recognise as source code. In terms of something that actually is source code, I think that .ufo, .vfj. or .glyphs would be likely acceptable formats, because they are all human-readable. Binary source formats such as .vfb would presumably not be.

    You can reverse engineer an XML representation of a compiled binary font file using TTX, and that would be another approach if you wanted something that more directly represented the compiled font, rather than actual source code.
  • RichardWRichardW Posts: 39
    TTX will convert a font to XML, and then the XML to another font, but the two fonts will in general not be identical.

    There may be some merit in the source code that disappears on compilation, but I presume that that IP is not what the OP is trying to protect.
Sign In or Register to comment.