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Re: Font license vs. conversion between font formats

From: Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Date: Wed, 08 Jul 2009 13:50:46 +0300
Message-ID: <4A547A06.60807@peda.net>
To: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
karsten luecke wrote:
> you addressed each point individually, but the problem is in the
> combination of these -- as I thought I had summarized in my other
> mail:
> 
>> (a) Users already have TTF/OTF fonts, licensed for print use, and
>> these fonts work just as fine with @font-face. (b) "Downloadable
>> fonts" are as easily downloadable as this term indicates. The
>> combination of these two aspects turns every site which employs
>> @font-face into a font filesharing host.
> 
> I cannot help thinking that you are trying to explain to me that
> there's nothing wrong about this.

I'm not trying to say that there's nothing wrong. I'm trying to say that
I believe that using any other format instead of TTF/OTF is not going to
protect the *same* data any better. I believe that no matter which
format we select, the actual font data will be copied if there's any
demand for it.

Requiring the other format may force authors to do a bit more work and
potential font downloaders may have to use an additional tool to convert
from the other format to system font. In addition, if downloading fonts
from the web pages and installing those fonts as system fonts gathers
popularity, you can be certain that the required tools will be
integrated into the browsers (e.g. extension that does this
automatically). After that, all we have is a format that wraps the same
data as TTF/OTF, doesn't prevent potential illegal downloaders but still
makes the life a bit harder for the content authors (who must convert
from system font to the other format).

I guess I'm trying to say that I'm afraid that we end up with a format
that has only downsides compared to TTF/OTF only. (I'm trying to figure
out the outcome say 10 years in the future - I agree that for next year
or so, the other format would make it harder to copy from the other
format to system font.)

The fact that this "font filesharing host" distributes font data in
other format or in TTF/OTF format does not make any real difference.
Pretty much all pirated content is already wrapped inside ZIP archives
as far as I know. The fact that pirated content is usable only after
running a simple tool (unzip) does not seem to prevent people from using
that pirated content. Why do you think that replacing that tool (unzip)
with other tool (unwrap-the-other-font-format) would make it any harder
to pirate fonts?

>> Am I correct that the problem is that such customers are not aware
>> what they have bought? Or that they don't care? This cannot be
>> fixed by an another file format.
> 
> A couple of type foundries, including the most popular ones like
> FontShop, have been quite explicit very early on as regards the
> licensing vs buying, and individuals spend a lot of time to tell
> designers so on forums like Typophile.

This sounds good. I hope other vendors follow the example.

> Support of a special, exclusive web-font format will be a stopper
> because: TTFs/OTFs won't work on the web just so. And (for example)
> EOTs won't work in the OS just so.

I don't really understand what you're saying here. The exclusive
web-font format will be a stopper of what?

> The only reason for implementing @font-face is the desire to use REAL
> scalable fonts for web design.

I agree as a content author. And I'll use free fonts in my designs in
the future, probably in TTF/OTF format. I was responding to claim that
"[with fonts] you only get the high-res printable version", which I
claim is not true. Hacks can be implemented that look like the high-res
font on screen but not on paper.

I also understand that if high-quality printing is requirement, then you
MUST distribute the real font and the font foundry either allows it or
it does not. They own the font, they can decide that you cannot use the
font. No matter how much you like the font.

I'm afraid that all font foundries cannot accept any terms that can be
implemented by GPL licensed software (Firefox, Safari, Chrome) because
they want some kind of DRM system. I believe that the ones that are
happy with EOT will accept plain TTF/OTF once they understand that EOT
does not *really* offer any more protection.

-- 
Mikko


Received on Wednesday, 8 July 2009 10:51:32 GMT

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