FontPeople distribuiting one of my typefaces under a different name.

Hi everyone,

In 2019 I was contacted by Jason Harcombe, apparently the founder of FontPeople, with the intention of presenting his website as a potential marketplace to distribute my fonts. He also said he’d been in contact with other foundries to be part of it. From what I see, the site now operates just as a foundry. Although I supplied files merely with the purpose of creating assets to promote my fonts on the website, I never granted FontPeople any permissions to distribute or modify them since the project didn’t materialize as it was described at the end.

I was browsing FontSpring and got unpleasantly surprised when stumbled on a typeface called Testun. This family looks identical to one of mine called Mayonez, published in 2013. It's easy to notice that the only effort put into making Testun different was changing the name and maybe some other font info. According to FontSpring’s site, Testum was designed by Iachawr Telyncombe – from whom I didn’t find any information – and published by FontPeople. As if this wasn’t irritating enough, this knockoff is also available in Creative Market and FontPeople’s site at a significantly lower price.

If you’re one of the foundries that have been contacted by FontPeople before, you might want to check their site to make sure your work hasn’t been subject of the same treatment. Have any of you experienced something like this? I’m not sure on how to proceed. I’m still waiting on an answer from them, but frankly I don’t see this situation left room to blame on misunderstandings.

Best regards.


Comments

  • Oh wow that is shameless. I hope you can get some justice out of this. At the very least I would contact Fontspring and Creative Market, this is just fraud.
  • https://fontpeople.co.uk/

    'The world's first full-service independent type foundry...'

    Whatever that means...
  • Florian HardwigFlorian Hardwig Posts: 240
    edited November 21
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  • Luc Devroye has this listing: http://luc.devroye.org/fonts-104066.html

    Sad to hear of this bald-faced ripoff. I didn't know the Trump family had become involved in the font industry. .
  • Could this Iachawr Telyncombe, even if catalogued by Luc Devroye, be a pseudonym hiding this big fraud! Maybe someone can resolve this anagram?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,881
    Have you asked the vendors to take these fonts down? 
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 602
    edited November 21
    "Combe" does have some roots in Welsh. "Telyn" is also a Welsh female personal name, but "Telyncombe" has never appeared on any surname list, even in ancient times.
    My thoughts on it is that it was done to avoid liability.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,298
    Could this Iachawr Telyncombe, even if catalogued by Luc Devroye, be a pseudonym hiding this big fraud! Maybe someone can resolve this anagram?
    Whence ABC morality?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,491
    FWIW, I signed a distribution agreement with FontPeople for something called FontMarket in November 2019 which was never countersigned. A couple of days later I got an email saying they were pulling the plug on FontMarket. I never actually sent them any font data or anything.
  • Sergio RamírezSergio Ramírez Posts: 3
    edited November 22
    Thank you all for the insightful and supportive comments. Althought I had dealt with sites pirating my work, at least preserving the name and credits, this is the first time I spot someone appropiating it and profiting out of it. It's sad to see this happening because it's bad enough having to deal with plain piracy. How are we going to convince others to respect our work if people inside the industry are pulling this kind of moves?

    Jason Harcombe's got back to me explaining, apologizing and offering a solution, but I still have questions and even more after reading the comments in this thread.

    I took a look at this with Marc Foley's new fontdiffenator. Some vertical metrics have changed. The hinting has gone missing. But the kerning is identical and the point placement is identical. That's undeniably the same font.
    Thanks, Simon. I'd like to know if it's easy to access this information since I'm not good with programming and python. I'd like to prove that the person who did this took more than just the contours from the file.

    Not an anagram but clearly a pseudonym. Iachawr isn’t a Welsh forename; it does mean “healer” in Welsh. “Telyn” is harp, but “combe” doesn’t have Welsh phonotactics. So somebody Harp-Combe. Gosh. Who could the forger be, I wonder?
    Could this Iachawr Telyncombe, even if catalogued by Luc Devroye, be a pseudonym hiding this big fraud! Maybe someone can resolve this anagram?
    "Combe" does have some roots in Welsh. "Telyn" is also a Welsh female personal name, but "Telyncombe" has never appeared on any surname list, even in ancient times.
    My thoughts on it is that it was done to avoid liability.
    I agree that I found these names very strange, especially after googling them even separately and not finding many results. But I didn't want to jump into conclussions given my ignorance on Welsh language and culture.

    Have you asked the vendors to take these fonts down? 
    Yes, I have and it'll take like a week for them to respond to that. They also advice it would be better trying to solve this directly between the parties. Which makes me question if they shouldn't take more responsibility.

    The English name "Jason" comes from Greek Ἰάσων (Iásōn), meaning "healer".
    The Welsh word "iacharw" means healer.
    The Welsh word "telyn" means "harp".
    So examining the name...
    Iacharw    Telyncombe, mysterious type designer
    [healer]    [harp].....
    might lead one to conclude it is in reality this person:
    Jason      Harcombe
    [healer]   [har(p)combe]
    Until proven otherwise I think it is correct, and a very clever play with words too.


    Interesting to see so many coincidences together. According to Harcombe this is responsibity of a designer they hired to create these fonts.
  • Jason HarcombeJason Harcombe Posts: 9
    edited November 22
    Hello everyone,

    I’m ashamed of what has happened here. This is genuinely a result of me being taken for a ride by an unscrupulous individual that I intend to take this up with directly.

    I have decommissioned all fonts from all platforms that are not, beyond doubt, original designs and will be closing FontPeople at the earliest juncture.

    I have offered Sérgio 100% of all money made from the sale of this font.

    I have, this morning, resigned from my job so as not to have any reputational splash back on those that employ me. 

    This is all due to me not carrying out sufficient due diligence on fonts I commissioned. I take full responsibility for that.

    From a personal perspective I have been diagnosed seriously sick recently, and am now without employment, so would appreciate some clemency from the industry that I’ll be leaving. I understand, however, that this is unlikely.

    Jason
  • Don't forget to take down your Creative Market shop as well, where you are still selling Testun. And speaking of due diligence...



    Did you do any?
  • Jason HarcombeJason Harcombe Posts: 9
    edited November 22
    Don't forget to take down your Creative Market shop as well, where you are still selling Testun. And speaking of due diligence...



    Did you do any?
    I have requested it all comes down from all markets as soon as possible.  As for the knife twisting tone of question, who is that helping?

    In terms of disclosing all; I couldn’t agree more.  I am doing all I can to discuss with the other parties what their reasoning and explanation is for their actions.  I’ve always thought it best to hear people out before dragging their names through the mud in a public forum.

    My business is closed, and I’m taking steps toward restitution with those that this potentially harmed and I’ve lost my job. My deteriorating health will be more of a struggle to come to terms with than all of this, regardless.

    I won’t be commenting on this thread further. I wish you all the best.
  • Federico ParraFederico Parra Posts: 1
    edited November 22
    @c.g. I don't think it is a coincidence that many of the rip-offs you mention are URW fonts. According to MyFonts, @Jason Harcombe "is TDi 2018 graduate at the University of Reading. In 2017, he was appointed UK Sales Director by URW."

    Taken from:
    https://typedrawers.com/discussion/3768/who-is-fontpeople-co-uk

    In any case I don't mean to condemn him for what he did, but I think it is scary, seeing the amount of fonts being released everyday. I wish there was a way to trace if there are webfonts that are very similar (as @Simon Cozens did) across the internet. 
  • Die in-dryfounDie in-dryfoun Posts: 10
    edited November 22
    .
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,236
    @Jason Harcombe It was cool of you to show up here and explain what happened. I wish you all the best too.
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