Broadcast License Pricing For A Daily News Show

Hi all. Hope you're all safe and sound during these crazy times. Once again, I'm Tré Seals, and I run Vocal Type Co. I just received my first broadcast license request, and it's for a daily news show in America. I have no clue how to price something like that and was wondering if anyone had some sort of formula or recommendation on how to price something like this. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Comments

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    We can't give you our pricing models - that's price fixing.  If people have it posted on their websites you can make up your own based on what you think of what others have posted publicly.

    That said, broadcast is only an add-on for some.  I do not charge extra for any static uses other than lettform products (other kinds of product printing is fine).


  • Michael JarboeMichael Jarboe Posts: 258
    I believe Typotheque has Broadcast pricing listed or available with their site licensing options. Dalton Maag has pricing details included with their licensing information. I don't know if they have a broadcast specific licensing option listed, but you can possibly extrapolate based on their per-style pricing for other more nuanced, or 'additional' licensing options. Underware has licensing and pricing information outlined on their site for certain uses. 

    Also, like Joyce expressed, consider some foundries do not have licensing restrictions for broadcast. Others are simply not forward facing with any of their additional licensing pricing. Some foundries draw a distinction between broadcast use for advertising versus non-advertising specific use (in which the latter requires additional licensing). There are also factors of region, and duration (annual vs. perpetual) to consider.

    Licensing limitations and pricing varies wildly among foundries, so take your time and feel out what would make the most sense, knowing you can always make adjustments as you move forward.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,880
    edited April 6
    I was initially confused by Joyce’s response, because I thought of this as potentially public info. Of course, if her rates are normally secret and used in competitive bidding, I can see how that might be construed as price fixing.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    @Thomas Phinney, speaking for myself I do not have broadcast pricing.  Most of my rates are posted on my website but a great number of foundries either post nothing or post only rates up to a certain point.  
  • Stuart SandlerStuart Sandler Posts: 283
    Hi Tré, the biggest factors that will affect how you may price a license of this nature is the broadcast territory (e.g. what countries if terrestrial and if online, what platforms and what is the estimated viewership of each platform)

    Knowing viewership will give you actual metrics to base such a licensing fee on similar to how self hosted web font fees are generally calculated.

    Keep in mind, if you were to ask for $100m USD (a totally ludicrous number to make my point) expect the potential licensee to ask you to share similar completed licenses you've been paid that number. So it's a balancing act of finding the market rate and not over or underbidding.

    If you simply aren't sure what makes sense, Font Bros which is a distributorship I co-own (in the spirit of full transparency) and we have done MANY licenses of this nature can negotiate such a license on your behalf directly with the client for a fixed percentage of the total fee.

    I only present this so you know it's simply an option, not as a sales pitch for my company.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    edited April 6
    @Stuart Sandler You don't ever have to share the names of other clients who have paid a certain number.  I've only ever been asked that by license violators, only twice.  Both times I refused to give the information and also refused to change my price.  I've never once been asked that since I started posted all my pricing on the website.

    If this is a question that comes up often I'd suggest asking yourself what it is about your business practices that aren't inspiring trust?  Are you failing to show your work and how you make your calculations?  Do your prices seem arbitrary or opportunistic?  If not your prices, do you licensing terms seem arbitrary or opportunistic?

    If you licensing is hard to understand and clients feel like they are discovering hidden fees then they definitely won't trust that your prices are consistently applied.
  • Michael JarboeMichael Jarboe Posts: 258
    There's a lot of room to follow your instinct and decide what makes the most sense for you and the vision of your foundry.

    For example, specific to licensing restrictions you're free to have a clause restricting use of your typefaces on weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear warheads. Would that be realistic and enforceable? Does it align with the vision of your foundry and business philosophy in any way?

    I believe pricing should always take into account scale and scope, regardless of use. I see many licensing restrictions with commensurate extension options as stop-gaps to police this. Some foundries have very fragmented and complex licensing restrictions, with equivalent extension options and pricing. Some quite the opposite. There's not a consensus that I know of as to what is most appropriate or what will lead to less or more success.

    Over time you'll likely make mistakes with pricing which will only serve to inform changes, and you'll learn a lot from various interactions, and negotiations with clients.

    Just sharing some more thoughts as I recall these topics being quite the challenge that I feel I've only recently resolved in any good measure. It has taken many years, and will always be something requiring some level of iteration and adaptation.
  • Stuart SandlerStuart Sandler Posts: 283
    @JoyceKetterer we definitely don't share that confidential info. I was making the point that even redacted licenses occasionally are requested to prove a price quoted wasn't simply made up and that sometimes if licensee's feel they're being ripped off they will request proof.
  • Tré SealsTré Seals Posts: 7
    Thanks for the input @JoyceKetterer @Jasper de Waard @Stuart Sandler @Michael Jarboe. Apologies if I overstepped. I simply have little to no clue where to start. Thanks for the insight though. Much appreciated.
  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 248

    If ‘selling fonts’ is not a hobby, but a serious business, and if selling a few ‘large licenses’ will be potentially a big share of your yearly revenue, then I would suggest something like this:

    • Restrict any ‘large scale use’ in your standard desktop license (even though Fontspring will punish you for that, by withholding their “Worry Free” seal of approval). Any ‘large scale use’ license you offer, like a Broadcast License, will cost (significantly) more than a standard desktop license. ‘Large scale use’ licenses are always tailored to their intended use.
    • Try to get an idea of what the added value is for your potential customer of the intended font use. Get information about your potential customer, about their size, about their activities, about the markets they serve, about the economic value of what is happening in those markets, about how important the intended font use would be for them, about similar companies, etc. (Looking at the few online available examples of pricing for ‘large scale use’, may be helpful—but be careful, because some might prove to be outliers.) Setting a price is nothing more than an educated guess—it’s not exact science.
    • If the price you set approaches the added value of the intended use, then that price is right, both in a moral and business sense. If not, you are either selling yourself short, or you set your price too high.
    • If you lack the relevant information, or the necessary guts and imagination—then you could outsource the pricing for a fee, to Font Bros or another experienced font seller like Fontspring.
    • ‘Sell’ your pricing to your potential customer, by giving them a calculation, like this: Price = <base price> x <multiplication factor>. Your base price could be the price of the smallest desktop license for the fonts involved. Your multiplication factor could be a number like 5 or 8 or 10 or 15 or 20 or 30, or whatever feels right. Your multiplication factor is linked to something that makes sense in the context of the intended ‘large scale use’, like the average number of viewers of broadcasts in which the fonts are used, or like the size of the company involved expressed in yearly revenue. Have two or three different multiplication factors, for two or three different ‘relevant sizes’ that you define.
    • Before sending a quote to a potential customer, ask them what ‘relevant size’ category they are in. Or, alternatively, send them a quote with a ‘price scenario’ for each ‘relevant size’. 
    • Offer a discount for a combination of licenses for the same fonts, if the potential customer considers this. Offer a discount, if that makes sense for another reason.
    • If you decided about multiplication factors and ‘relevant sizes’ for one potential customer, it makes sense to reuse them for future similar customers—so you will not unnecessary reinvent the wheel.
  • I firmly believe that when font designers charge extra for uses that have identical workflow to a use for which they do not charge extra that we undermine trust with our customers.

    [...]

    Even if everyone did read a license we can't expect them to memorize it for perpetuity.
    I agree with the point you're making, but I feel like we are drawing different conclusions from that point. If the above is true, how do you justify the higher cost for an app license, or a broadcast license? How many different kinds of licenses would you say is fair?

    Not trying to be smart. I'm honestly interested.
  • @Tré Seals I don't think you have anything to apologize for. You kickstarted what I think could be an interesting discussion, so thanks!
  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 248
    edited April 9

    Joyce, you are probably over-interpreting. I do not advocate to charge for every possible kind of larger scale use. I described a general approach for (exceptional, customized) “big deals”, not for “standard deals” that can by covered by standard licensing. Customized licensing only makes sense for big deals. I am silent about what exactly to consider to be ‘large scale use’ or ‘big deals’. (I am primarily thinking here about fonts that are already sitting on the shelf.)

    In general, for ‘big deals’, I consider workflow to be irrelevant for the added value a font offers. The added value is about what results from using the font, not about how that result was reached. I guess, in the end, a customer is much more interested in that result—than in how that result came about.

    The difficulty in my approach may be for font creators to understand, that I suggest them, for ‘big deals’, to charge for the added value that results from the use of their fonts. There is no hidden trap in the concept ‘added value’.

    I do not understand why simple would be fair in itself, and why easy to remember would be fair in itself. For sure, I am not talking about precision—but about educated guesses.

    I do not make any assumptions about prior user knowledge of licensing. The license should explain itself! And yes, I do expect big customers to understand the concept of ‘added value’ as it is explained in the license. And of course, I do expect that people who work for bigger companies and who are responsible to spend money for a ‘big deal’, are able and willing to read such a license (or they let their legal team read it).

    If a logo is very valuable for a company and that company is big, I do consider a font for such a logo ‘large scale use’. (Most logos are not like that.) Big companies do understand what ‘added value’ means. If a font really adds a lot of value to a logo—then such a company is happy to pay for a license which pricing is related to that added value. I have no idea how to price in such a big added value “at the basic level”. For sure, it cannot be done with a standard desktop license.

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    @Jasper de Waard  I literally justify charging separately for app embedding because it's a different workflow.  Some may consider static rasterized images in apps to be app use but I do not.  My app license is an application embedding license.  We price based on the number of active users of the app, all of whom are engaging in actions which cause text to be rendered in the font, at a per user rate that is fractions of what we charge for "desktop" licensees of the fonts.  I'd not call that "charging more".  

    Same goes for web embedding.  I know some foundries consider image use on the website to be webfonts but I do not.  

    I don't charge for broadcast or or any other static use of the fonts that is the same workflow as "print".  In fact, we go so far as to exempt pdf embedding from the add on licenses because the workflow doesn't "feel like embedding" to most users.  


  • Stuart SandlerStuart Sandler Posts: 283
    @Ben Blom I support your idea of large volume licenses when appropriate and while a multiplier may be a starting point, it's far from a repeatable formula which means EACH use must be fully understood and estimated accordingly. Again, gather as much information about the use before you even think about preparing such a license estimate and then consider total eyeballs, printed goods, broadcast or digital media uses and then set off to find your own sweet spot in terms of what you feel is fair pricing.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    @Ben Blom Everything you say makes sense intellectually but it doesn't fit into my experience of how font licensing sales happens on the ground.  I sell licenses for retail fonts, not custom fonts where I can cater the licensing to the customer every time.  I don't interact with most customers.  Most large customers start by buying a small basic license that they eventually expand.  The entry level license needs to scale up with the customer, to anticipate that the smallest sale might grow into a huge license.

    The reason simplicity and ease of remembering is fair intrinsically is because it's simply not practical to expect that an end user will check the license every time they do something.  However, if they know that all uses on one side of a line are covered and all uses on the other side are not that's something they will probably remember. They may still forget that they didn't license the entire family, or think they got app licensing when they only got web... But at least when you tell them later that a given use needs retroactive licensing they won't feel tricked.  They will know "yeah, right, I forgot that" and it will be much easier to work with them.  


  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 248
    edited April 10

    Stuart, agreed. Note that the multiplier is primarily meant to ‘sell’ your pricing to your potential customer, not as the primary way to decide your pricing. Any repeat use of an earlier created multiplier, should be based on an educated guess of sufficient similarity.

    JoyceKetterer: “The entry level license needs to scale up with the customer, to anticipate that the smallest sale might grow into a huge license.” For real huge licenses, this feels like a pipe dream to me. To be prepared for real huge licenses, the only thing I can imagine to include in an entry level license, is a clause that restricts ‘large scale use’.

    JoyceKetterer: «when you tell them later that a given use needs retroactive licensing they won’t feel tricked. They will know “yeah, right, I forgot that” and it will be much easier to work with them.» It works exactly like this, when the entry level license includes a clause that restricts ‘large scale use’ (especially when the unlicensed use at issue, represents a significant added value).

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    edited April 9
    @Ben Blom  almost all of my huge licenses started with a small sale.

    Also almost all of my medium licenses and almost all of my licenses that add up to a lot over time because a loyal customer elects to have timed licensing they renew annually for a "modest" sum by large company standards. 

    Very few of my customers walk in the door to make a large purchase. 

    The ones that know they will need a large license start by licensing the design team then they do a roll out. 

    Others buy a small license, forget they didn't cover various uses, I find the uses and convert the violation into a sale.  

    The big licenses out the gate come from commissions and the vast majority of my licenes are for retail fonts.  If you have strong retail fonts one of the advantages is that the client can nibble away at use for a while before spending a big sum.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    edited April 10
    @Ben Blom  upselling only only works like that if the restrictions feel sensible and easy to understand.  If the restrictions include a lot of exceptions and caveats you have to fight the client for the up-sale. 

    The absolutely most tricky feeling restrictions to a client are broadcast, logo and static web use.  All of these make non sense as add-on licensing to someone who doesn't live and breath fonts.

    Almost no one feels tricked when I tell them that web embedding costs extra because it feels like a different kind of use so covering it under a different pricing table makes intuitive sense.  Then I show then a pricing table which, much like our basic pricing, encompasses many tiers.

    A big company only using one styles will think my pricing is cheap. A start-up with big dreams can pay me a pittance at first and doesn't mind at all paying quite a bit when their traffic balloons. 

    The idea of only requiring additional pricing for "large volume use" forgets that large companies don't start out large. It also feels opportunistic to the customer. 

    Fonts aren't like other kinds of software.  They aren't their own end and their value isn't obvious to non-design people who have to cut your checks. The font licensing game is all about winning people over and making them feel like they understand what they are getting.  
  • Jasper de WaardJasper de Waard Posts: 460
    edited April 10
    @Jasper de Waard  I literally justify charging separately for app embedding because it's a different workflow.  Some may consider static rasterized images in apps to be app use but I do not.  My app license is an application embedding license.  We price based on the number of active users of the app, all of whom are engaging in actions which cause text to be rendered in the font, at a per user rate that is fractions of what we charge for "desktop" licensees of the fonts.  I'd not call that "charging more".  

    Same goes for web embedding.  I know some foundries consider image use on the website to be webfonts but I do not.  

    I don't charge for broadcast or or any other static use of the fonts that is the same workflow as "print".  In fact, we go so far as to exempt pdf embedding from the add on licenses because the workflow doesn't "feel like embedding" to most users.  


    Thanks for your extensive answer! I agree that web/app licenses should be about embedding, not rasterized images. With 'different workflow', I assume you mean a different workflow for the user? But why does a different workflow warrant a different price? To me, printing 10.000 books (a single desktop license) is not much different from showing a webpage 10.000 times (a web license dependent on pageviews). Why is their pricing structured differently?

    I think we should differentiate between two kinds of users. A-users: users as defined in a desktop license, i.e. people that actually use the font to design something. They chose your font over somebody else's font. B-users: users that use some (interactive) website/app that was designed by somebody else. They likely don't even notice the typeface.

    To me, B-users are not really users. They use the typeface about as much as someone who reads a book uses the typeface it's set in. True, there is a difference in that a book is generally not interactive. But is that difference really so fundamental? I would say B-users only become relevant when they use the font to create something. If the website/app creates postcards set in my typeface, then they are using my typeface in the A sense, and should pay to use it.

    A related thing that bothers me about embedding-licenses is that they are generally priced according to number of pageviews, users, or 'active users'. How do you define active users? And can I really expect type buyers to monitor the amount my typeface gets 'used' to adjust their license accordingly? I'd say the only things I can reasonably ask type buyers to remember are:
    1. Licenses exist. Having a font file does not mean you can do with it as you want. Already, this one isn't easy.
    2. This font was licensed for a particular purpose (e.g. desktop/web use). A different purpose will require a different license.
    3. This font was licensed for an amount of users (in the A sense). If more people use it, the license needs to be upgraded.

    Again, I hope you don't take this personally. I'm genuinely interested, and trying to keep the debate alive. I also realize it's easy for me to say these things because I don't have to make a living as a type designer.

    The funny thing is: my 'desktop' license also allows for web use and app use. But people still buy the web license on Fontspring, or contact me about app license pricing.


  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    edited April 10
    @Jasper de Waard I'm going to have take each point one by one and reply inline below.  I'm sorry my replies are so long in this thread.

    With 'different workflow', I assume you mean a different workflow for the user? But why does a different workflow warrant a different price?
    Let's be clear about nomenclature.  By "user" here I think you mean the end user of the website.  If so, no, that is not who I mean.  I mean the person designing the website, who would possibly not even be the "end client" but just a developer.  

    The reason workflow matters is that it can function as a signifier that something has changed and make it easier to remember that a different license is needed.  The workflow I'm talking about here is 1) the act of embedding 2) the fact that once the fonts are embedded one can cause text to be rendered in the font without touching it directly.

    To me, printing 10.000 books (a single desktop license) is not much different from showing a webpage 10.000 times (a web license dependent on pageviews). Why is their pricing structured differently?

    The difference is embedding.  I completely agree that use of the fonts as images on a website is essentially a kind of printing and that shouldn't be treated any differently from a licensing perspective than how the license treats a book.  

    The biggest difference with embedding is that it is ongoing without directly accessing the font.  If a marketing agency makes images and ships them to a client that client can make use of the images without the agency but they can't alter them without installing the font files.  With a website, when the developer walks away the client will not have an interruption in their access to the fonts. 

    Additionally, there's the question of scale.  All font licensing is a proxy for scale of use.  I started working in fonts before webfonts were a thing.  The number of basic licenses directly scaled to the output of design assets using the font.  With embedding, a much smaller design team can make have a huge output.  Therefore, it makes sense for me to switch to a different metric to asses scale.

    I think we should differentiate between two kinds of users. A-users: users as defined in a desktop license, i.e. people that actually use the font to design something. They chose your font over somebody else's font. B-users: users that use some (interactive) website/app that was designed by somebody else. They likely don't even notice the typeface.

    To me, B-users are not really users. They use the typeface about as much as someone who reads a book uses the typeface it's set in. True, there is a difference in that a book is generally not interactive. But is that difference really so fundamental? I would say B-users only become relevant when they use the font to create something. If the website/app creates postcards set in my typeface, then they are using my typeface in the A sense, and should pay to use it.

    I agree with you.  What you call A-users is what I call the end client.  That is always who I am licensing.  I only measure what you call-B users in order to provide the end client with a price that is commensurate with the scale of their use.  As I explained above, I need to do this because the number of "desktop" users at the end client is not functioning as a accurate proxy for the scale of the end client's use when they are embedding.  

    A related thing that bothers me about embedding-licenses is that they are generally priced according to number of pageviews, users, or 'active users'.  And can I really expect type buyers to monitor the amount my typeface gets 'used' to adjust their license accordingly? 

    I didn't like either of these metrics at first either.  I had to adopt them because they became so widely used that it was unreasonable to ask customers to learn a different way of doing things.  

    Speaking for myself, it's not that big a deal to get clients to report the metrics.  Best practices for any business include them having these numbers anyway.  There's more than one way to count some things so I need definitions and I'm working on the honor system but all of this is a proxy anyway so I find it's pretty forgiving.  

    As far as monitoring goes, this is why even our perpetual licenses function on a "license year."  We contact the end client for reporting every year and charge overage if needed.  It's more work on our end and so it becomes a business choice for the foundry.  For us it's worth it.   

    How do you define active users?

    An "active user" is a person who opened the application once in a given month.  That's not my definition, it's how application metrics measure use.  I got that idea from Fontspring.  None of my customers have trouble reporting it.


     I'd say the only things I can reasonably ask type buyers to remember are:
    1. Licenses exist. Having a font file does not mean you can do with it as you want. Already, this one isn't easy.
    2. This font was licensed for a particular purpose (e.g. desktop/web use). A different purpose will require a different license.
    3. This font was licensed for an amount of users (in the A sense). If more people use it, the license needs to be upgraded.

    Agreed, with the modification to 3 that "this font is licensed for an amount of a relevant metric for the type of use"


    Again, I hope you don't take this personally. I'm genuinely interested, and trying to keep the debate alive. I also realize it's easy for me to say these things because I don't have to make a living as a type designer.

    Of course not.  I'm always happy for the opportunity to explain my thinking to someone is engaging seriously with the questions. I don't make a living as a typeface designer either.  I make a living as a foundry owner and font licensing expert.  Doing things my way is a full time job on its own.  It's a perfectly reasonable choice for a foundry to focus more on new work and let a lot of these things go if they don't have someone like me on the team.


    The funny thing is: my 'desktop' license also allows for web use and app use. But people still buy the web license on Fontspring, or contact me about app license pricing.

    Yes, that sort of thing happens because font licensing is such a mess that the end clients would rather buy something they don't need just in case.

  • @JoyceKetterer Thanks again for your answers! Really appreciate it :smile:
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,905
    edited April 10
    A few comments in this discussion quickly conflated 'large volume licensing' and 'large scale use'. Volume scale — whether determined by number of users or number of installations — is the backbone of almost all non-libre font licensing. We're already good at writing and pricing licenses in that way, and users have come to understand that much, at least, of the licensing model.

    What Ben was talking about in terms of 'large scale use' seems to me something quite different and, generally, much harder to address. He's not talking about the number of users or installations, or about the technical deployment (installed, served, embedded), but about the value derived from the font use. The only aspect of most font licensing that begins to address derived value is webfont licensing based on number of page visits, and that's possible because its relatively easy to require reporting or to audit because it is a trackable number. Of course, it is only beginning to address derived value because actual derived value depends not only on how many visitors a website gets but what kind of website it is and how it is financially exploited. I'm sure a lot of non-profit medical organisation websites are getting huge numbers of visitors these days, but obviously they're not deriving financial value from fonts and other web assets in the same way as, say, Amazon.

    Being able to peg font income to the value derived from the fonts by licensees seems to me the philosopher's stone of font licensing: enticing but elusive. Some licenses — including our own, inspired by @JoyceKetterer — make an exclusion for ‘letterform product’ use, i.e. non-textual use of glyphs as design elements in products, for which a royalty model is used rather than a use license purchase. This is feasible mostly because a) such royalty models already exist for design licensing and are understood by the kinds of companies that make such products, and b) as with website visits the numbers involved are easily quantifiable: if a company is making 5,000 cushions decorated with a pattern made of glyphs from your font, you can contract a royalty per cushion.

    But 'large scale use' per se is difficult to define. We all know that if a major television network uses a font, that is 'large scale' by virtue of the number of people who potentially or actually see the font in use. But the number of user licenses involved could be relatively small — especially if the graphics are being created by an external studio, and the actual font isn't being directly used by the network —, and even if your license explicitly singles out broadcast use, you a) are still not accounting for other kinds of 'large scale use', and b) still only have ersatz derived value based pricing and licensing model based on assumptions, estimates and averages.

    _____


    On the subject of derived value pricing, my Slabo 27px font has been viewed online almost a billion times in the past seven days, and has been viewed a total of 1,044,646,822,454 times since it went live on Google Fonts. The value derived by all the different websites using the font is incalculable. The value derived by Google Adsense ads in which the font is used is very calculable; in fact, Google could give me an exact dollar figure if they were inclined to do so. Even if one were to base the derived value on the difference between ad click-through rates of ads using Slabo and the previous ones using Times, we'd still be talking about a very large sum of money. In moments of fantasy, I sometimes imagine a per-view royalty model of tiny fractions of a cent accumulating over time; what I never do is calculate how small the ever reducing per-view rate I was actually paid is getting. Every new view increases the value that Google derives from my work while reducing my share of that value. I don't say this to complain — I was paid what I asked to be paid for the work —, but to point up what makes derived value pricing such an enticing fantasy, and to suggest that, sometimes, it would even be technically practical because the numbers are knowable.
  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 248

    To me, ‘large scale use’ is use, which volume is unlimited, which volume is considered to be large—and that is considered to produce significant added value for the licensee. This volume, this scale, this size, this amount, can be about anything for which the use of a font produces significant added value for the licensee—or which can be considered to be an indicator that such value is added. For instance, the size of the licensee, can be considered to be an indicator of the size of the added value. The ‘large scale use’ that a ‘large scale use’ license covers, can either be a specific ‘large scale use’ like broadcast use, or a combination of different ‘large scale uses’.

    Because ‘large scale use’ is about an unlimited volume, it doesn’t make sense to suggest that an added use may produce an added licensing income for the font seller. To suggest such a calculability also doesn’t make sense, because the decision about what to consider the added value to be, is based on an educated guess.

    The term ‘large scale use’ implies this: If there is significant added value for the licensee, then this is based on some large quantity of something—how indirectly or ‘incalculable’ the relationship between this quantity and this added value may be. ‘Large volume licensing’ can be ‘large scale use’—but doesn’t have to. The quantity that is ‘behind’ ‘large scale use’ is relevant, but only in combination with relevant knowledge of the licensee and the context in which the licensee operates.

    Two explanatory paragraphs from my ‘large scale use’ license:

    Note that ... [in this license] the word “use” is being used in two different meanings. (1) The number of desktop users that use the font(s). (2) The scale of the use of what those desktop users produce with the font(s). These two meanings of “use”, are related to two different kinds of licensing: (1) licensing for a number of desktop users of the font(s); (2) licensing for large scale use of what is being produced with the Font(s). For (1), large scale use is not included. For (2), the number of desktop users is irrelevant.
    This [license] covers large scale use of fonts. The added value of this large scale use, is added value for Licensee—not for a third party that is working on behalf of Licensee. Because of this, a third party that is working on behalf of Licensee, does not need a license that covers large scale use.

    A story. Last year, I sold a ‘large scale use’ license. In this license, it says that it only covers the use of desktop fonts—not a webfont version of those desktop fonts. This year, the customer that bought that license, contacted me, and explained they were working with a new third party that wanted to use webfonts to produce added value that was, in my opinion, already covered in the original license. Then I decided to give this customer an additional license for free—that covered that use of webfonts.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,905
    Ben, how do you quantify the dividing line between scale of use that requires the Large Scale Use license and use that doesn't? What constitutes 'significant derived value' requiring this license rather than a lower use license? To me, it all sounds kind of vague, so while I can understand a situation in which you tell a customer that they will need the Large Scale Use license and they agree to this, I wonder how you'd go about enforcement for someone who has purchased a regular license but then used the fonts for something that you consider 'large scale use'?
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    edited April 12
    @John Hudson - perfect question!

    In my experience,  all licensing needs be have obvious measurements or customers will be distrusting of it.  Sure, there's a point where an unlimited tier makes sense to everyone but in order to cognitively support that I need to show your work by having a full pricing tier up to that point and being able to say "this is where we stop counting."
  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 248
    edited April 13

    For me, licenses are primarily made for customers that are willing to “play by the rules”, not as instruments to facilitate “policing”. When a big customer buys a minimal desktop license and uses that for a large scale campaign (advertising, corporate identity design, product packaging, entertainment promotion, store signage)—it is not hard to explain to that customer that there is a mismatch between the price of that minimal license, and the added value for that customer of the font use in that large scale campaign.

    In my experience, when a big customer buys a small license and reads in that license, under the subheading “Fair Use”, that additional licensing is needed for ‘large scale use’, and they are considering ‘large scale use’, they contact me. Then we discuss the intended ‘large scale use’. Based on that, and the information I gather about that customer (and its context), I decide what the price of the license will be. Remember—this is only for “exceptional licensing”, not for “every day licensing”.

    John Hudson: «how do you quantify the dividing line between scale of use that requires the Large Scale Use license and use that doesn’t? What constitutes ‘significant derived value’ requiring this license rather than a lower use license?» These questions come from a context of exactness, of calculability, of an accountant—not from a context of educated guessing. I guess that most licensees cannot calculate the added value of their ‘large scale uses’ themselves—so I do not expect myself, as an outsider, to be able to really calculate such a thing. I try to estimate the added value, but this is not like an estimate that is just a little off. Educated guessing is imprecise by definition. It is also personal in the sense, that my guess may not be the same as your guess. I have to assess with incomplete information, and to try to make the best of that. Of course, it is important, that my guessed added value feels about right in the eyes of the licensee.

    For some uses, I have chosen a dividing line between scale of use that requires the Large Scale Use license and use that doesn’t—based on what feels right to me, and/or based on such a dividing line as used elsewhere. Other uses I always consider to be ‘large scale use’, because that feels right to me. (That feels right to me, because I guess that such use always produces significant added value for the licensee. I can consider such significant added value to be relatively small, or relatively big. When I guess it is relatively small, I will use a smaller tariff—than when I guess it is relatively big. See below.)

    Because of the educated guessing that is related to ‘large scale use’, there is no pricing tier system for it with a lot of tiers. (When it is not possible to determine the precise size of ‘large scale use’, it doesn’t make sense to define a lot of tiers for such use.) However, both for the ‘selling’ of the pricing, and for a “ballpark differentiation” between different size ranges, I use a “poor man’s pricing tier system” as I described above: «Your multiplication factor is linked to something that makes sense in the context of the intended ‘large scale use’, like the average number of viewers of broadcasts in which the fonts are used, or like the size of the company involved expressed in yearly revenue. Have two or three different multiplication factors, for two or three different ‘relevant sizes’ that you define.» The limits of these ‘relevant sizes’ (= size ranges) are exact, and can be about any relevant (direct of indirect) quantifiable aspect of the font use in question. These limits are exact, and arbitrary at the same time. When there are three size ranges, they will be like this: “below A”, “between A and B”, and “above B”.

    When I communicate with a potential customer, I only use exact numbers. When I explain the pricing in a quote in this way: “Price = <base price> x <multiplication factor>”, and when that base price can be independently verified, and when I give all the multiplication factors of my “poor man’s pricing tier system”—then potential customers do not have questions about the way that price has been calculated. Note that only the multiplication factor is based on an educated guess—not the base price.

    Such a multiplication factor can be considered to be the tariff or rate for the size (or size range) of the use in question. Each size range has its own tariff. As in most quotes—in my quotes, no calculation is given for such a tariff. (Sometimes, my “poor man’s pricing tier system” consists of just one tier, with a single one-tariff-fits-all tariff.)

    For all those font sellers who suggest that they do not engage in educated guessing, I have a question: Can you give me a calculation of the tariffs you use in your pricing tiers? What calculation are those tariffs based on?

  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 423
    @Ben Blom I'm not understanding your use of the word "tariff" here.  Can you please explain?
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