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RE: Re[2]: pixel fonts

From: Tiro TypeWorks <tiro@portal.ca>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 10:51:53 -0700
Message-Id: <199608121745.KAA01459@kefron.portal.ca>
To: www-font@w3.org
Why do I get the impression that the two Bills are the principle negotiators
of the OpenType agreement?

Bill Hill wrote (playing tag team with Bill McCoy):

>Excellent mail, Bill!
>This is the most rational summary I've yet seen of the issues.
>The problems of IPR for fonts are, as you point out, not much different to 
>the problems of IPR for other "creative works" on the Net, such as 
>photographs and graphics, and in fact, the font embedding scheme which we 
>are proposing gives greater protection to fonts than exists today for other 
>creative works.

I've heard a few good things regarding better protection in OpenType
embedding than, for instance, in Acrobat. I also know that this was won
after a good deal of lobbying by people in Adobe and Microsoft's respective
typography groups. Perhaps the Bills would like to explain this ptotection
in detail, rather than simply assuring us that it is greater than that which
exists for other creative works. In the meantime, I refer you to my previous
post explaining the difference between a font and a JPEG, and the following
excerpts from Jonathan Hoefler:

        While I think that Bill accurately points out that fonts are subject to 
        the same duplicability as all digital data (and increasingly,
        is representable this way), there's a broader issue which John
points out 
        regarding the difference between fonts and everything else.

        Aside from the fact that JPEG has a considerable war chest and has used 
        it most effectively to develop digital watermarking technologies for 
        indicating the origin of a photograph (techniques which survive 
        subsequent alteration), the most compelling difference is that 
        illustrations are not the common currency of readership the way fonts 

And there's the rub! A JPEG is an image, instantly identifiable and, to be
subject to IP protection, unique. A font is a utilitarian package containing
a type designer's image of the alphabet. In the first place, images of the
alphabet are _not_ protected under US law (although they are elsewhere). In
the second place, it is the utilitarian aspect of a font that makes it
desirable to the many people who buy fonts and to the many who pirate them.
A font does not have the uniqueness of an image, since a font's inherent
value is in the user's ability to use it to convey a text.

Let's say that a protected photographic image is employed on a website
devoted to, for instance, cars. Someone cruises the site, likes the image,
and steals it for inclusion in their own website, devoted to rally racing. A
few days later, the photographer, who is a keen racing amateur, comes across
the second page and recognises his image. This is an open and shut case of
copyright infringement.

Now let's say that the original car site employs an embedded copy of Adobe
Garamond for its text face. The person who runs the racing site not only
likes the photo, but also the font, and has the savvy to strip it from the
site and use it on his own. A few days later, Robert Slimbach (who, for all
I know, hates car racing) stumbles across both pages, shrugs and says to
himself 'Oh look, there's my typeface again, I wonder if either of them paid
for it?'

John Hudson, Type Director

Tiro TypeWorks
Vancouver, BC
Received on Monday, 12 August 1996 13:46:28 UTC

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