Font and law in different countries

What is font in your country's legislation and how is it protected?
All I found about the font in the legislation of my country (Ukraine) is that it is protected as a copyright
"From the very moment of font development, its author becomes the owner of copyright both for the graphic part of the font and for the software with which this font can be used in computer systems."

If a font was created in one country, but is used in violation of the rules in another country with different font protection laws, then which country's legislation will apply in this case?
If I enter into a contract for the use of a font, then I add the line: "This agreement is governed by the laws of Ukraine and the jurisdiction of the Ukraine courts applies."

Also, from personal experience, I can say that in our country they ask me if I really am the author of the font and how can I prove it, as an inexperienced person, I was completely taken aback by this.
A couple of years ago, a company from Russia even asked to provide some documents for the font, in the end everything went without them but what to do in such cases and how to respond?

How does it all work in your country?

Comments

  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 280
    If I enter into a contract for the use of a font, then I add the line: "This agreement is governed by the laws of Ukraine and the jurisdiction of the Ukraine courts applies."
    Only if the contract (or EULA) clearly defines *how* your fonts are protected according to the laws of Ukraine and the jurisdiction of the Ukraine courts. The EULA needs to clearly state what a user can and cannot do with the font, ideally in terms that can be enforced.

    Although most font disputes never reach the courts, it is valuable to reflect upon the narrative of those disputes. 

    Case study: Font Brothers charges $20 for its use on a desktop computer, but its fees rise according to the number of people likely to see it. In 2016, Toymaker Hasbro was sued over allegations that it did not buy a "special licence" to allow the font's use on its toy packaging and related services. This lead Font Brothers to seek damages of $150,000 per infringement.

    Also, from personal experience, I can say that in our country they ask me if I really am the author of the font and how can I prove it, as an inexperienced person, I was completely taken aback by this.

    A couple of years ago, a company from Russia even asked to provide some documents for the font, in the end everything went without them but what to do in such cases and how to respond?

    Where can we find your fonts? This might help answer those questions.

  • Vasily DraigoVasily Draigo Posts: 30
    This lead Font Brothers to seek damages of $150,000 per infringement.
    As far as I know, in such cases you still need to prove that you lost money on this more than the cost of the font. I wonder if there is moral compensation in such cases.
    KP Mawhood said:
    Where can we find your fonts? This might help answer those questions.
    They found them mainly on Russian sites with fonts, basically it's fonts-online.
    At that time, fonts were sold in some sites, some I redirected to buy there, and some wanted to buy directly from me through a license agreement.
    Some fonts cannot be bought on websites and they remained on dafont.
    Some companies found my fonts specifically on dafont and in the agreements, contribution fprms indicated a link to it as a source. 
    By the way, dafont works very well as a portfolio, it is very useful for lonely unknown type designers.
  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 280
    Nice, found you. :smile:
    As far as I know, in such cases you still need to prove that you lost money on this more than the cost of the font.
    If you think someone is misusing your font, it's fine to ask the right questions to calculate the money lost. Many want to do the right thing. 
    By the way, dafont works very well as a portfolio, it is very useful for lonely unknown type designers.
    My first graphic design gig loved dafonts. 
    At that time, fonts were sold in some sites, some I redirected to buy there, and some wanted to buy directly from me through a license agreement.
    Understood. So you're doing all the right things with your font's copyright statement and using the reseller's license agreement. Essentially, that gives you the proof and protection you need. Are you happy with the terms of the reseller license?

    Did you create your own license agreement?
  • If a font was created in one country, but is used in violation of the rules in another country with different font protection laws, then which country's legislation will apply in this case?
    If I enter into a contract for the use of a font, then I add the line: "This agreement is governed by the laws of Ukraine and the jurisdiction of the Ukraine courts applies."

    I'm not a lawyer, but to my understanding, copyright law applies according to the law of whichever country the work is used in. For example, a work's copyright might expire in 2020 in Canada but 2040 in France (this is very common). Similarly, while the graphical design of a font may be protected in Ukraine, it isn't protected (by copyright) in the United States (but it may be protected by a design patent). You can't change what is and isn't copyrightable in a given country, or anything like that, and Ukrainian copyright law can't be made to apply outside of Ukraine.
    The contract you make with the licensee may impose other conditions besides those of copyright law, but some of those provisions may or may not be valid according to the contact law of the country in which the other party is located.
    Again, I'm not a lawyer. If you want real details on how these apply, please talk to one! But don't assume you can just apply Ukrainian copyright and contract law outside of Ukraine, at least not in its entirety.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,382
    edited May 31
    [Usual disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice.]

    Further to what Katy wrote:

    License agreement law, which is contract law, is different from intellectual property law. A contract can contain any terms to which the parties agree, but not all terms are practically enforceable. A contract can specify a jurisdiction under whose laws the contract and any disputes will be decided, but that is independent of intellectual property laws, which are applicable only in the country where the infringement takes place. Countries that are signatories to international intellectual property treaties agree only to extend to foreigners that same protections as they extend to their own citizens. This means, for example, if someone were to plagiarise one of my typeface designs in Ukraine, I could sue them there under Ukranian copyright law. If someone uses one of my fonts without a license or infringes the terms of a license, then I can go after them wherever the license specifies as a jurisdiction, although the practicalities of suing someone who is resident in another country can be daunting. What one generally hopes is that they will find defending against a suit equally daunting and prefer to pay for appropriate license rectification.
  • Vasily DraigoVasily Draigo Posts: 30
    "This agreement is governed by the laws of Ukraine and the jurisdiction of the Ukraine courts applies."
    Initially, I saw this line in the agreement from the BBC that they sent me. But of course BBC is a big company where everything is registered.
    It would be interesting to consult with lawyers from myfons, I wonder if this is possible.
    But of course I try to protect myself as much as possible in the agreement, specifying how the font can be used depending on the license they have chosen and a number of other conditions.
    I also add this standard line: "I am not responsible for any loss or damage to your property" and of course: "You and I agree to these terms"


  • Vasily DraigoVasily Draigo Posts: 30
    KP Mawhood said:
    Are you happy with the terms of the reseller license?
    I left only 2 fonts on one site, I plan in the future when I make fonts of sufficient quality to sell everything only on myfonts.
    KP Mawhood said:
    Did you create your own license agreement?
    I've seen the license agreements, so I'm more likely to have font usage agreements with part of the font license agreement added, to be honest, I do not know how to call it correctly in English.
    But it seems that all the legal department of the companies with which I worked had nothing against my agreements.
  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 280
    edited June 1
    *Not a lawyer, nor legal advice*
    Vasily Draigo said:
    But it seems that all the legal department of the companies with which I worked had nothing against my agreements.
    I would think not. The licenses on the one site define unlimited font use across many clauses, with only a few protective clauses. It's mostly concerned with embroidery use. 
    But of course I try to protect myself as much as possible in the agreement, specifying how the font can be used depending on the license they have chosen and a number of other conditions.
    I also add this standard line: "I am not responsible for any loss or damage to your property" and of course: "You and I agree to these terms"
    That's good, but I would recommend engaging a legal professional / lawyer. If you have high profile clients like the BBC, then consider the potential value of each font.
    It would be interesting to consult with lawyers from myfons
    There are legal professionals who specialise in font licensing.

    If you want your font license to be government by the courts of Ukraine, Ukrainian type people may have recommendations. As @John Hudson wisely says "the practicalities of suing someone who is resident in another country can be daunting." 
  • Vasily DraigoVasily Draigo Posts: 30
    Right now there were 2 strong explosions, I could hear the car alarms well, all thoughts just disappeared from my head, sorry for the offtop, it's just hard to get used to strong explosions. 

    Sometimes there is a feeling that the legal part is the most difficult part in fonts. In most cases, it is simply not profitable to even do something. I think to ask Ukrainian type designers directly about their experience in this regard, if it was.
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