Type Designer Perspectives to Help Designers & Printers Understand Embedding Fonts?

Normally I wouldn’t feel another site’s comment thread on printers requesting designers to outline fonts for print fits discussion here—and I wasn’t quite sure how to title this post in relation to it either—however, it seems those comments hinted that there was some muddling of information across the three sectors of type designer, graphic designer, and printer. The fact that discussion on that topic had been occurring over a few years on and off further encouraged me to ask everyone here for the type designer perspective to add further clarity.
Some particular comments that stand out: type designers as licensers not allowing embedding and outlining, embedding getting messed up in a pdf, type becoming bolder or losing quality when outlined, type turning into square “wingdings” on the printers end (probably referring to .notdef) or strange symbols (unavailable glyphs being replaced by other glyphs) or disappear, and font versioning on different systems affecting display.
I think perspectives here can hopefully help bridge some of that informational muddling among the three aforementioned groups.

Comments

  • I'll let my counterparts add as they wish but one thing I want to make clear is that MANY EULAs remain in effect even if the fonts are converted to postscript outlines. There is a misnomer whereby designers and printers alike feel that as long as the fonts are converted to outlines they no longer have to abide by the original EULA terms when in fact the outlined or rasterized forms are still 100% derivative works of the font and thereby still bound by the EULA in most cases.
  • "in fact the outlined or rasterized forms are still 100% derivative works of the font"
    I get the outlined being copyrighted, because the specific point configuration under copyright is still there, possibly modified depending on the outline format specifications. But I don't get why would rasterized be derivative works, because rasterization reduces the outlines to the raw font design letterforms (including the raw spacing), which are not under copyright.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,894
    The EULA is a contract.

    The entire point of a contract is to obligate the parties involved beyond the existing initial requirements of the law.

    So the question of copyright is irrelevant here.

    I don’t understand Stuart’s assertion that “ the outlined or rasterized forms are still 100% derivative works of the font and thereby still bound by the EULA in most cases.” They do not have to be “derivative works” (a technical copyright-related legal term) to be covered by the EULA.

    That aside, I am almost certain that non-copyrightable things cannot be considered derivative works; if they were, back in the time when most everyone believed outline fonts were protected by copyright, bitmaps derived from such fonts would have also been protected by copyright. But a standard example of how to work around copyright on an outline font involved using a bitmap generated from that font, and wrapping new outlines around it.
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