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Re: I expect all foundries to start offering web font licenses within 6 months.

From: Dave Crossland <dave@lab6.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2009 16:51:57 +0100
Message-ID: <2285a9d20907200851u425b360fmd164059c1b799e17@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
2009/7/18 Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>:
> On Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 7:52 PM, Dave Crossland<dave@lab6.com> wrote:
>> 2009/7/17 Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>:
>>> On further consideration, I just wanted to say that "I expect all
>>> foundries to start offering web font licenses within six months" may
>>> not be so crazy.
>>
>> Well, as I admit, I am hyping things a little. But things do seem to
>> happen fast on the web when standards bodies aren't involved ;-)
>
> Does this mean we have to kiss the next time we see each other, just
> to finish the process?

Things don't happen that fast, sweetheart :-)

>> But those protections are not DRM, and despite the server-side
>> restrictions, the solutions are indeed supporting raw TTF fonts.
>
> The only reason they aren't doing DRM is that it isn't practical to do
> at their point in the supply chain. They would be happy with, and even
> prefer, to be building on a DRM based solution. Or at least that's
> what two of the three TypeKit partners said in discussion today after
> lunch.

TypeKit "offers the level of protection that type designers need
without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM."
- http://blog.typekit.com/2009/05/27/introducing-typekit/

I'm sure that if I was directing a business under intense pressure
from its venture capitalists to convince foundries to do business, I'd
direct my team to go to TypeCon and smile and say plenty of sweet
things so type designers felt like we were similar people. Why, I'd
even support your baseball team. Poor salesmanship would risk
foundries resenting my company for getting a nice cut of their income,
and brewing their own solutions as Typotheque appear to have done.

>> Which makes all the cusses from various type designers against Wium
>> Lie and Daggett and Hyatt for rushing ahead immorally with support for
>> that format kind of funny, to me.
>
> There's no irony there. TypeKit and their competitors have found what
> looks like a business opportunity in making a silk purse out of a
> sow's ear (from the foundry POV) and getting as close to DRM as they
> can given the limitations of the underlying technology.

The irony that I see carried in support for TypeKit, Tal's webfonts
and EOT Lite is that foundries said, for years, they MUST get DRM or
they'll withhold their fonts from the web. But they didn't get DRM,
and they are not remaining chaste. As per the subject, it looks to me
like they're dropping their pants quick enough that all of them will
offer web fonts real soon now.

So, if it was acceptable to do web fonts without DRM afterall, I'm
kinda like, why didn't foundries just say so earlier? Why the charade?

> If the web font format war is never resolved, the foundries might
> still never license their fonts for use as regular desktop fonts on
> web servers. Why not? Because going through services like TypeKit,
> Kernest and Typotheque gives them something akin to the protection
> they want, while providing cross-browser support, and all that might
> be preferable to the foundries.

Its not totally clear to me how are foundries not licensing their
fonts for use as regular desktop fonts on web servers when they go
through (or rather, provide) services like TypeKit.

But there is a difference between demanding web publishers use a
service and allowing them to host fonts themselves, yes.

With that, I'm reminded of the GNU manifesto:

"“Won't programmers starve? Most of us cannot manage to get any money
for standing on the street and making faces. But we are not, as a
result, condemned to spend our lives standing on the street making
faces, and starving. We do something else. But that is the wrong
answer because it accepts the questioner's implicit assumption: that
without ownership of software, programmers cannot possibly be paid a
cent. Supposedly it is all or nothing."
- http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html

It was said that without DRM of web fonts, type designers would
possibly be paid a cent. Supposedly it is all or nothing.

Yet if we go back 18 months or so in our mailspools, we can find
discussion of font hosting services as a way for foundries to make
money from web fonts.

For example, 14 months ago
http://opentype.info/blog/2008/04/19/font-face-survey-results/ gave
the results of a poll of web designers in which 34% accepted that
"font vendors would probably want to host the font files on their
servers and just give you a link to a CSS file."

Everyone knew what was going to happen, and some foundries prepared;
Typotheque's service didn't get built overnight. Web developers are
not as expensive as type designers, from what I hear about the price
of type design.

Other founders are going to trust their customers to uphold the
contracts their enter into, and allow them to host fonts themselves.
This may be only to differentiate themselves in the market from those
demanding the use of font hosting services.

I guess we'll see what the market determines is the best solution.

Free market capitalism, ahoy!
Received on Monday, 20 July 2009 15:53:05 GMT

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