Most of my fonts are available via AdobeFonts through the AdobeCC.
Over that past six months I have discovered that widespread misunderstanding of the AdobeType license is causing me to loose a very large amount of income.
There are two main misunderstandings of the Adobe license:
• Many AdobeType users believe their subscription allows them to host the font files on their websites. It does not. The fonts must be loaded via the Adobe embed code.
• Many designers believe their AdobeCC subscription allows them to use fonts from AdobeType on their client's websites. It does not and this practice is called Reselling
Using FontRadar's excellent service, we contact many hundreds of website owners (many large international businesses, some household names) who are hosting our font files without a license.
More often than not, we receive a reply, often very righteously written, that because they or their designer/design agency has an AdobeCC subscription, their use of the font files is entirely legitimate. It is very difficult to persuade them that this is not so, that they are violating their AdobeCC license, and that they need to buy a font license from us if they wish to self host.
The result of this is a large amount of lost income because:
• Not using the Adobe embed code means that Adobe is not able to account the use and so no royalty is paid.
• Website owners are not buying licenses from us.
• It takes a lot of time to write to and attempt to educate website owners.
• We need to employ lawyers when cases become too difficult.
In some cases we find that not only are the font files hosted on a website, but desktop font files are freely distributed throughout the businesses, on the misunderstanding that because they have an AdobeCC license, it's ok.
I don't know where these font files come from. They are often anonymised with names like font.woff or 7ascn328gfh.woff.
I wonder if Adobe’s narrative makes people think that if the fonts are on AdobeCC, all is allowed, no matter where these fonts originate from. I think the users attitude is influenced by the appearance of all-permissiveness, but I do not put any blame on Adobe. However I do think that the current situation needs improving. Camille Sibucao of Adobe put Adobe's intentions very nicely when she said:
"We do not intend for the Adobe Fonts service to cover every use scenario, and we encourage customers to go directly to the foundry for various licenses that are not possible through our service. We want all of our foundry partners to have multiple sources of income and to be successful with their own retail stores."
We are essentially taking on the the job of compliance for Adobe, and sometimes we are perceived as phishing by the web site owners we contact. Some of them even report us to Adobe, but as far as I'm aware, Adobe does not respond.
The Adobe page we point people to is:https://helpx.adobe.com/fonts/using/font-licensing.html
I don't think there's an easy solution to this problem. Our agreement with Adobe says that if their customers violate their license with Adobe, THEY (Adobe) can terminate the violator's license. Adobe's support here would be extremely useful, but probably unlikely.
An improved licensing page, or better still, a page specifically about the consequences of hosting font files on a website and Reselling would be helpful.
It would also be useful if we had some accreditation from Adobe when we contact website owners, since as I mentioned previously, we're often perceived as phishers.
I'm writing this here to alert other foundries that may not be aware of how much revenue they may be loosing, and to seek the support of those that are encountering this problem in persuading Adobe to take some action, and suggestions as to what that action could be.