Le Monde Journal vs. Spectral Lawsuit



  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,051
    Yes, nick, but on the other hand... I know of about about lots of independent font producer that started new foundries thanks to Google fonts.. and so far I have never heard on any independent font producer that went broke because of it. Even our worst critics back in 2010 are now a days releasing fonts at GF.

    How can it be that giving fonts away for free doesn't put people out of business who sell fonts for a living?
    From a naive common-sense viewpoint, that would indeed be an obvious question to ask.
    However, a little thought does enable me to see a possible explanation.

    What one has to ask, first, is: who buys fonts? Or, more specifically, what is the composition of the market for fonts?
    And once you ask that question, it all becomes obvious.
    Joe Average, who wants to print stuff on a laser printer, and have it look good, with a choice of fonts... isn't going to buy fonts at full price from Monotype or whoever.
    No. What he will buy is one of these 1001 fonts disks from Softkey or whoever... or a copy of Corel Draw with nearly the whole Bitstream catalog.
    Those sources of fonts are what the free fonts from Google fonts is going to put out of business.
    On the other hand, someone who wants a new original typeface for a unique look for a multi-million dollar ad campaign... is not going to be swayed by Google Fonts at all.

    So while Google Fonts is a threat to certain commercial vendors of fonts, those vendors are at the extreme low end, far beneath where typeface designers operate.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 716
    edited February 5
    For me, type design has become more of a boutique work that accompanies my graphic design work. But it's not my sole occupation anymore. I have had several small clients that commissioned me to do tailor-made fonts for friends and family, just like you would commission a caricature/cartoon of your friend, or wedding couple, and so on. One gives personal artwork as a gift to the other person, so producing it with AI or buying a commercially available font that can be used by many more people goes against that logic. At least for boutique projects, type design is alive and well. :) But these are also very small-scale, ma-and-pa level jobs, and they are also few and far between.
    Recently I had a client ask me to convert his (script) company logo into a script font. I came with the idea to add his logo as a letter in the font, so every time he writes a business proposal to his partners, he can type it in his own font and add his logo in the flow of the line. I thought this was pretty neat. :)
    But it's very sad that type designers at a higher level have had a substancial chunk of their profits eaten away by giant companies. That's business, I guess...
    To get back on-topic, I think almost all design styles for fonts have been explored in the last 10-15 years. Which means that one's work is bound to look very similar to someone else's, and, out of nowhere, somebody will claim you saw their work somewhere, obtained it somehow and made a derivative. It might even be a source of revenue for some shady people that can't sell their fonts. I guess this will be only the first of many such court cases that we will hear of. And also, some AI might come into the mix, pushing the boundaries of legislation.
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 752
    edited April 4
    @Dave Crossland Don't jinx it.  I think the appeal window is 30 days.
  • Font wars are always interesting...

    As for Spectral, its spacing looks too loose to me. Is there a practical reason for that? (For example: enhance on-screen readability for dyslexic people, etc.)
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 752
    I think that even font people have trouble distinguishing between the colloquial definition of "similar" and what I'll call "design plagiarism". 

    Because I wrote an expert statement in this case I also got to read most of the other statements (the ones that where written in English or translated for me — I remember there being a few only in French that I couldn't read).  That was my main take away. 

    Speaking as a non-designer, but one who has to have these conversations with my own designers and make business decisions... As I read the statements by the people on the offence (those who thought there was infringement) I got the feeling they were looking at minutia and a shared reference font and conflating that with having copied La Monde.

    We need to remember that to lay people nearly all fonts are similar.   Therefore, there needs to be a really high bar on the industry side, or we would cause a chilling effect and completely destroy creativity.  

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,723
    Similarity is a poor standard. If the case was argued on the basis of similarity, then it was poorly argued and probably should not have been undertaken in the first place. It is perfectly possible to produce a technically derivative font—i.e. one based on the actual outlines of another font—that is not similar in final appearance. Demonstrating such derivation should involve a forensic approach, not asking people to say whether they think the fonts look similar. 
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 752
    @John Hudson. I'm paraphrasing, for the most part.
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 831
    edited April 26
    >>"the only foundry was Ale Paul"
    100% wrong.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 767
    edited April 26
    I meant to say: fully making a living out of the foundry sales
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 831
    edited April 26
    >"I meant to say: fully making a living out of the foundry sales"
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