- Evolved piracy!

Do you already know this strange “distributor”?
Every user is incentivated to upload fonts to obtain credits to download other fonts.
I don't believe some of you authorized this kind of “distribution” in this way but if you looking for one of your fonts you’ll see it on the results of your search.
Take a look at

How we can stop something like that?


  • Grazie Fabrizio.
    There’s a lot of Chinese at that site. They list about a dozen of my fonts, for which I never gave any consent.

  • They are one of the many pirates! Very serious - do not allow download without registration. I can get my fonts on other sites without registering. I think (in my case) they buy out the store because they have enough money.
  • Sites like that are bad even for Open Source types, because they prowl GitHub, hoover up whatever they find, whether alpha or beta, and then rarely if ever upgrade. They're also not guaranteed to be virus-free (as I learned some years ago when a user accused me of distributing a virus with a font). Not a lot to do about this aside from warning users on the front page (which most will never see).
  • At least they're thorough. They list one of my popular fonts nine times, each pirated from a different source 🙄
  • Thomas RettigThomas Rettig Posts: 6
    edited October 2021
    I think this is, to a large extent, inevitable. It's rather tough to contact the site owner about the pirated font(s), let alone get a response. But if anyone ever decides to use pirated fonts online, it's easy to detect, because almost all of them lack a proper digital signature and have strange metadata like "wf-rip".
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 187
    edited November 2021
    the russian equivalent of facebook, which I wont even name, is perhaps the worst offending community these days, especially because they also host the files, not just the groups. it seems that many jurisdictions don't care about DMCA requests etc, and make it hard to even engage.

    even so, I think it's a good thing that there isn't something like web browsers' encrypted media extensions API for fonts. my perspective is that DRM is an overall bad thing that only serves to punish paying users (or app makers etc) who end up being the ones who have to implement crazy encryption schemes, all because of pirates who wouldn't be paying for the fonts one way or the other. cory doctorow, the sci-fi author, has argued roughly the same thing for a long time and has some good blog posts about DRM

  • RichardWRichardW Posts: 100
    The site seems to be incompatible with the SIL Open Font licence.  That's a shame; I was considering uploading the updates to some of my free (as in beer) fonts.
  • I am a fan of commercial software, but I dislike DRM, and I hate DRM for fonts. It has caused endless hassles. I am glad it is not much used these days.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,073
    When webfonts first started being a thing, there was a different incompatible format for each browser, and several browsers only allowed DRM-protected webfonts to be used with them. I did not approve of that situation, and I'm not surprised it led to the death of the protected webfont formats.
    However, if there had been a single standard for DRM protection for webfonts, and it coexisted with using free fonts as webfonts without protection, then it wouldn't have caused much hassle for legitimate font users - and it would have meant that commercial font licenses would be more likely to allow use fo the fonts on the Web.
    So, while DRM for music and software indeed has proven to be a disaster, it seemed to me that fonts were one area in which it was possible to have DRM without placing an unreasonable burden on the user - that is, DRM for web use only.
    DRM on fonts so as to prevent them for being used with a laser printer on more than one computer would be the same disaster as in the other places where DRM was tried. But DRM for webfonts is, in my opinion, one case where DRM could be pulled off without it creating an unreasonable burden.
  • what is DRM ?
  • Digital Rights Management, i.e., copy protection.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 780
    edited December 2021
    @Thomas Phinney What most people mean when they say DRM is definitely what I would consider overreach.  So, I would agree with you.  However, what I mean when I complain about fonts not having DRM is so basic that I'd like to know if you disagree with me.  I'm just talking about entering a serial number on installation (so the font could limit the number of installs), or similar.  It's actually good for an end user to be able to perceive guard rails.  Without any friction, the end user has no idea they are violating the license.  The lack of this kind of DRM make fonts us look like we're trying to trap customers into violating.  
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,634
    edited December 2021
    You of course know me well enough to correctly guess that I have a “strict” definition of DRM. That is, embedding bits or any other metadata in the font do not quite qualify. Sticking the licensee’s name and/or a serial number in the font is not DRM in my usage of the term.

    However “entering a serial number on installation (so the font could limit the number of installs)” would certainly be DRM even under a strict definition, would require more infrastructure, and be potentially problematic. Fonts can and do last for decades.

    I recently moved to a new computer… in your world would I need to re-enter serial numbers for all my fonts, as I must for some apps? (Thankfully only a few needed such re-authorization—but it was a major element of the migration pain.)
  • @Thomas Phinney not in my world!  In my world you could deactivate the old install and reuse it.  I'm not talking about restrictions using the current set of facts.  Of course, that would be untenable.  I'm talking about a dream world where fonts actually work the way uneducated users already think they work.  Do you need me to elaborate?
  • In my world you could deactivate the old install and reuse it.

    Eh, same amount of work. What if my old computer died and I *can’t* deactivate it?

    Anyway, it is still a DRM scheme. It imposes extra hassles. Most retail desktop software already does this in varying degrees. Regardless of my own preferences, I don’t think it will happen again for fonts. It is WAY too much work to create and support, and the font biz does not have the money/importance to get the other required players to buy in to it. Especially when some of them (e.g. Google, Mozilla) are pretty much ideologically opposed to DRM and especially font DRM.
  • @Thomas Phinney hmph.  Fine.  Don't play make pretend with me.  I think a lot of customers already believe that fonts wont let you do things you should do (just like other software).  That's why they don't read EULA.  The choices are get them to read EULAs or hoe for a day when the software behaves the way the customers expect.  
  • True font-level DRM would amount to embedding executable code in fonts themselves, which Apple and Microsoft have zero interest in allowing (someone used to bring it up at every other ATypI.) In theory there are ways to do it with buffer overflow attacks inside the fonts, but bug exploits tend merely to spawn eventual security patches that render them useless.

    I do wonder, at this point, whether Windows 11, which requires TPM 2.0, could be one piece in a DRM font puzzle. You would essentially need a dedicated separate font renderer, e.g. the old Adobe Type Manager, which ran as an OS service, and the fonts would be in some encrypted format that the service would render or at least transform into outlines, and applications would have to support it, and you’d have to provide application vendors with some incentive beyond “hey, we add support for this, and we can render text in Renard or Rialto” in a world where few bother to switch out of Calibri in Word. There is, as there ever was, too little ROI in DRM.

    My understanding is that TPM 2.0 can act as a collection of virtual dongles, if you’ve ever had a software app that required a hardware dongle to run. (I want to say Kaasila’s old Visual TypeMan did something like that.)

    I also notice that in Office 365 running on my wife’s Mac, there are Office-specific fonts like Avenir Next LT Pro and the new Walbaum that have little cloud icons next to them, and I don’t know where, if anywhere, they live on her Mac’s drive.
  • Those Office cloud fonts get downloaded and installed as needed. I *think* they just get installed in the normal location, but I haven’t asked. Simon would be able to tell you more.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,634
    Hmmm. The +357 country code is for Cyprus.

    It is interesting how many forensic cases I have been approached about or involved in, which had some connection to Cyprus.
  • They know what their are doing... Lots of sport betts an casino websites also settle in Cyprus.
  • I've always despised the way Fontke distributes typefaces, but, my god, their font identification system is the most accurate of them all. No joke.

  • Looks like I broke the rules by posting that links. I just wanted to let other designers know that their work can be there too.
    Anyway, sorry for that, I'll read the rules again.

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