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Re: the truth which dare not speak it's name

From: Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 2009 16:50:52 +0300
Message-ID: <4A55F5BC.9030402@peda.net>
To: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Christopher Slye wrote:
> On Jul 8, 2009, at 11:32 AM, Christopher Fynn wrote:
> 
>> While this is a concern I'm not sure if it is a real issue. If someone
>> uses a font they have exclusive rights to on their website, and then
>> someone else copies and uses it on their own website, or in a
>> publication, couldn't the first party take legal action against the
>> second just like they could if somebody used their trademark?
> 
> Yes... except in court they might be asked about whether it was obvious
> to the person who took the font that it was not free to take. This where
> the "protection" issue is important to foundries. People keep trying to
> convince the foundries that "your font is not really protected because
> people can just un-wrap it". But that is a substantial protection,
> legally speaking. If someone gets on the witness stand and says, "The
> font was on the web site, and most such fonts are free, so I just
> assumed this one was," then maybe that's persuasive to a judge or jury.
> But the case is much different if they have to say, "I found the font
> file and unwrapped it and ignored the licensing information that I
> deleted."

Obviously, I'm not a lawyer, but why do fonts require this extra
protection when every other media and file formats do fine with just
copyright law?

I'm running Ubuntu Linux as my operating system and pretty much every
piece of software I'm running is free software and I know I have a
license to distribute verbatim and/or modified versions of pretty much
any file on my computer. I still wouldn't expect to win in court with a
defense "most of my files are properly licensed so I assumed that this
file was too" if I were infringing a copyright on *any* file.

Under modern copyright, you cannot copy a work unless
(1) you own the copyright, or
(2) you have a proper license.
As a result, you cannot assume to be able to copy any given file (font
or not). I'd expect that to hold in court.

In addition, I'd like to point out that if such wrapped format is the
only font format that works across all browsers, then majority of such
wrapped files will contain free fonts (because of cost). As a result,
the defendant in your imaginary court case could still claim "the font
was on the web site, and most such fonts are free, so I just assumed
this one was". If you have to always wrap the font for your domain, then
that action is required for all fonts (also free) and does not require
any special step for restricted fonts.

So, are you arguing that restricted fonts should be distributed under
some wrapped format and free fonts should be distributed as raw TTF/OTF
files? If we had such arrangement, then it would be clear to casual user
that when a font is not a TTF/OTF file, it must be special.

-- 
Mikko



Received on Thursday, 9 July 2009 13:51:35 GMT

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