Myfonts/monotype New Agreement

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Having read through the last post about Monotype Acquisition endeavours, I notice no one talking about changes to the new agreement , and what that means going forward for both the foundries and Monotype. ( For those currently on Monotype/Myfonts) It would be interesting to see what peoples thoughts are.

The other topic I'd like to hear more on , is no one seems to realise that the actual big earning takeaways Monotype make are not from the website e-commerce sales, but from the Enterprise sales and Offline deals. If I look at my own sales, individual Desktop and Webfont Licenses are only the tip of the iceberg, if you compare them to a Corporate/Special/' Offline' License.

I imagine acquisition strengthens their income mostly in this regard.

The takeaways of the new agreement BTW are, if you sign:  
  1. You have to include all your fonts on their system ( you can't pick and choose, if your font exists somewhere else - you have to include it on Monotype) .
  2. Their system spans across all channels , current, and currently non-existant : Myfonts, Fontshop, Monotype fonts, Linotype etc, fonts.com , so your fonts have to be on all channels, not just one or two. 
  3. A mutual NDA...a first.
  4. You have to notify them if you are intending to sell your foundry/ be part of a subscription service, 3 months in advance. I wonder what they do if you don't. Yikes.
I think these are the main points? Anyone spot any more?

Anyway - thought this all deserved a little discussion too for interests sake.


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Comments

  • Enrico Sogari
    Enrico Sogari Posts: 47
    edited May 2023
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    Personally I've been feeling very uncomfortable about the points 1 and 4, since I watched the presentation.
  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,807
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    If you signed the new agreement, might this posting be itself a violation of that NDA?
  • Jeremy Dooley
    Jeremy Dooley Posts: 67
    edited May 2023
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    .
  • Igor Petrovic
    Igor Petrovic Posts: 271
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    I haven't heard of it, still got no mail announcement. Thanks for bringing this important topic to our attention. 

    My opinion is that points 1 and 4 are unacceptable, and I am unpleasantly surprised despite what we have seen in the last few years.

    This and the announcement of their offers for mass acquisition start to shape the emerging Monotype attitude towards independent type designers/partners in the near future...
  • George Thomas
    George Thomas Posts: 639
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    A mutual NDA...a first.
    In simpler terms, you can't talk about how you're getting paid pennies for your work.
  • PabloImpallari
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    Not if you signed it
  • Igor Petrovic
    Igor Petrovic Posts: 271
    edited May 2023
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    NDA in this case might be legal but not legitimate in my opinion, given the position of Monotype, and the number of type designers on their platform.

    NDA is for specifics of a particular partnership. We came to the point of monopoly where communication about the general terms and policies is prohibited. I imagine that prohibition might be considered a breach of the 1st Amendment. 
  • Igor Petrovic
    Igor Petrovic Posts: 271
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    Ok, but even by contract law, you can't make whatever contract you want if it is contrary to the paradigm of the legal system.

    As a metaphor, it would be like if one opens a street store without windows, and says "If you want to go in, you have to sign the contract that I can do to you whatever I want". No matter how many lunatics would sign and enter, one can't do to them whatever one wants. 

    It's dangerous to understand the law as a completely bureaucratic machine, hence the distinction between legal and legitimate. There is an unspoken ethic system above any law. 
  • James Puckett
    James Puckett Posts: 1,979
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    I’m not suggesting anybody do anything unethical. But I’ll point out that Typecon is in August and there has to be a restaurant in Portland with a big room to reserve. And hotels have big suites that can be rented out for a night.
  • Fontfruits
    Fontfruits Posts: 51
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    If you signed the new agreement, might this posting be itself a violation of that NDA?
    I havn’t signed anything of the sort:) 
  • Peter_Schoenwald
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    Is it not completely obvious that Monotype is a monopoly at this point?

    Of course due to their size but also because of the following:
    - Acquiring all but one to two other major points of sale in this industry (Fontspring+CreativeMarket, Adobe);
    - Counter-competitive practices shown for example in this very agreement;
    - Acting both as a player and referee in this market.

    Are there points here that could be considered illegal?
    Is it simply that this industry is not too known itself that lets this fly under the radar?
  • James Puckett
    James Puckett Posts: 1,979
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    Antitrust laws exist to protect consumers. Consumers have benefited from Monotype’s huge scope because Monotype’s encouragement of deep discounts has lowered font prices. I haven’t checked but I wouldn’t be surprised if Monotype is also charging less for some of the premium IP they’ve bought. Sure they’re not always great for type designers, but that’s not who antitrust law protects. And type designers are always free to walk away and start their own stores.
  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,057
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    Ok, but even by contract law, you can't make whatever contract you want if it is contrary to the paradigm of the legal system.
    Sure, but universally guaranteed freedom of speech is not a paradigm of the US legal system. The 1st Amendment only guarantees that ‘Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’. It doesn’t say that no one is allowed to abridge freedom of speech, otherwise, among other things, moderation of this online forum would be effectively impossible.  :)
  • James Hultquist-Todd
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    My understanding is John is correct here; you can talk about something after you’ve signed an NDA. The company can also go after you for it (in civil court). The 1st Amendment means the government can’t do something like arrest you for breaking an NDA (I think).
  • Rafael Jordan
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    K Pease said:
    The question is when are they going to start expelling designers whose agreements are not up to date.
    From two weeks ago: there is no way to add new font families or update an old ones if the Agreement is not up to date.


    I uploaded a new typeface a few days ago, and I was notified of the existence of a new contract, but didn't sign it.


  • Michael Rafailyk
    Michael Rafailyk Posts: 143
    edited May 2023
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    I uploaded a new typeface a few days ago, and I was notified of the existence of a new contract, but didn't sign it.
    Apt remark. As I remember from that notice, with an old contract we can still ship the submission to MyFonts, only. But for publication on all subsidiary markets + offline sales + subscription service etc, the new contract is now required.

  • Adam Twardoch
    Adam Twardoch Posts: 507
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    Not intending to act as MT's advocate but on the point of the NDA, I think: 

    1. An NDA is these days quite common in business practice. Many B2B contracts are signed with non-disclosure clauses. The general justification for it seems to be that if you've signed a contract with another party, that party may disclose to you some of their upcoming plans which they don't want to unveil to the public yet.

    2. A somewhat redeeming aspect is that it's said here that the NDA is supposed to be mutual, that is, Monotype is also not supposed to disclose your own plans or practices or info that you give them.

    3. A somewhat less positive aspect is if you consider the reality of the power distribution: there is one major entity and many smaller ones. So one can see it as an attempt to stifle the font vendors talking to each other, a bit like NDAs that prevent employees from talking to each other about their own salaries. This mechanism gives the dominant party an ability to discriminate terms: offer different terms to each foundry (often: gradually more beneficial to the dominant party), and not worry that the smaller parties will talk about it and find out that they're not getting the same treatment.

    In principle, I don't see anything outlandish in what's been reported here, but it's hard to tell without seeing the details. Of course the fact that the setup is "you sign it or else" shows that there is some sort of strongarming going on. It certainly doesn't feel "nice."

    If people think that MT is engaging in anticompetitive, monopolistic practices — well, there are regulatory bodies in the U.S. that deal with that. :) 
  • Jess Latham
    Jess Latham Posts: 38
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    Not that I'm even entertaining the idea of signing such a contract but I wonder what about the freeware fonts I release? I've been releasing mostly freeware lately.
  • Marco Pezzotta
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    You have to notify them if you are intending to sell your foundry/ be part of a subscription service, 3 months in advance. I wonder what they do if you don't. Yikes.
    Do I have to notify them that I was already selling fonts on Creative Fabrica, since it's a subscription service?
  • Fontfruits
    Fontfruits Posts: 51
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    @Marco Pezzotta I would imagine so.

  • Die in-dryfoun
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    Also... after having attended the most recent ATypI conference and having witnessed various lectures calling for greater representation for minorities and better gender parity, I cannot help but think that it is ironic that the origin of the greatest disparity and injustices in our industry is the arbitrary and exploitative conditions that distributors impose on independent foundries, yet that is a taboo subject that is not openly discussed on our conference stages.
    Distributors that are only interested in appropriating our intellectual property at the lowest possible price do not find it really difficult to co-opt these discourses and engage in rampant gender and ethnic washing.
    Sorry, but I can't really take seriously people who go on stage to complain about the situation of the BIPOC collective, while they are part of the Monotype staff.

  • Simon Cozens
    Simon Cozens Posts: 727
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    I cannot help but think that it is ironic that the origin of the greatest disparity and injustices in our industry is the arbitrary and exploitative conditions that distributors impose on independent foundries, yet that is a taboo subject that is not openly discussed on our conference stages.
    Nadine led two sessions on the topic of power in the industry, where the relationship between distributors and foundries took up quite a lot of the discussion time.
  • Enrico Sogari
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    Distributors that are only interested in appropriating our intellectual property at the lowest possible price do not find it really difficult to co-opt these discourses and engage in rampant gender and ethnic washing.
    Sorry, but I can't really take seriously people who go on stage to complain about the situation of the BIPOC collective, while they are part of the Monotype staff.
    I couldn't agree more.