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Re: a basic question

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 19:36:03 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0907061736m618e1194k3c83820f10fec1dc@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Cc: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>, www-font <www-font@w3.org>
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 5:50 PM, John Hudson<tiro@tiro.com> wrote:
> Thomas Lord wrote:
>
>> What is the rationale against a "TTF/OTF plus ____ format"
>> proposal?  That would allow the providers of restricted
>> license fonts to continue to withhold permission to use their fonts on the
>> web in TTF/OTF.  It would also
>> serve well the providers and users of permissively licensed fonts, as well
>> as the makers of software that
>> process font files.
>
> I think it comes down to a question of that that other format looks like. If
> there's going to be a wide open raw TTF/OTF format for the web*, then the
> other format needs to be something other than the same TTF/OTF with a couple
> of wooden pickets out front, a bit of string and a sign that says 'Please
> don't steal me'. If you want to contrast a format suitable for those who
> want to freely distribute their fonts to the world with a format suitable
> for those who do not, then the latter format actually has to be able to
> provide some serious safeguards.
>
> What I'm hearing on this list, though, is that there isn't going to be such
> a format.

Part of the reason for that is that so many people are hung up on
agreeing on a *single* font format.

I, for one, would be quite happy with both raw TTF/OTF* and a
substantially restrictive format.  Basically once I get a sufficiently
free format I don't care what other formats are supported.

However, there is also the obvious point that no matter *what* is
done, fonts will still be infringed upon.  It is technically
impossible to create an effective DRM system.  As well, the browser
ultimately needs to decode the font format into the native OS format,
which means that some type of cached version of the raw TTF/OTF will
be floating around no matter what (even if it's never committed to
disk, and only floats around in memory).  As such, one objection to
any highly restrictive scheme is that it's a lot of work for what is
still basically an ineffective barrier.  Plus, as stated by some of
the Moz folks, implementing any form of DRM more effective than
rootstrings possibly opens them up to legal issues under the American
DMCA and possibly similar laws in other countries.

Basically, I understand the position your clients are in (just as I
understand why some music artists are strongly against filesharing),
even though I disagree with them on an ethical level.

* I'm still banking on an EOT-without-rootstrings proposal, which has
the very nice benefit of working on all brands of IE immediately while
being nearly as trivial as you can get without just using raw TTF/OTF.

~TJ
Received on Tuesday, 7 July 2009 00:37:03 GMT

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