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Re: The unmentionable

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 11:59:34 -0700
Message-ID: <4A709C16.80103@tiro.com>
To: www-font@w3.org
Dirk Pranke wrote:

> Conversely, there are certainly people that will point out that this
> does not provide any value at all for legitimate users, only hurdles
> that they have to jump over. I.e., why should browser vendors
> implement features that make users' lives harder, when even the font
> makers admit that this provides no real security or restrictions? Why
> aren't we willing to trust users to do the right thing?

In my case because I've been in this business for fifteen years and I've 
seen an awful lot of users do the wrong thing.

But I disagree that these protections offer no benefit to users. If I am 
at risk of breaking the law, e.g. by trespassing on private property, a 
fence or a sign is helpful to me. I say this as someone who lives in a 
rural area where ancient trails run across what are now subdivided lots, 
and I like to know if I'm at risk of walking onto someone else's property.

Also, what are the 'hurdles'? What about a web font format makes users' 
lives harder? All but a few existing TTF and OTF fonts are not licensed 
for use on the web. The hurdle that users -- users in this case being 
web designers/authors, not web readers -- are going to need to jump over 
is obtaining a new license that permit upload to web servers. [Whether 
that license is something that costs extra to the regular font license 
is a business decision for the individual foundries.] If the new license 
comes with a new version of the font that is packaged for web serving, 
is compressed ready for web serving and hence does not require users to 
involve themselves in server-side compression for font data, and 
contains serialised license data making absolutely clear that this font 
is licensed for web use, all the user has to do is upload the font and 
put the appropriate code in his or her CSS. How is this more onerous 
than obtaining a new license to upload an uncompressed naked TTF or OTF 
font and linking to that in CSS?

Also, as I've stated numerous times, font maker/owner and user are not 
exclusive categories. In the case of companies with custom typefaces, 
they are both the owners of those fonts with an interest in protecting 
them and also the users who want to make use of these custom types in 
their websites.

If an interoperable web font format is taken up by all the browsers, I 
suspect the makers and providers of free fonts will be quick to make 
downloads available in that format. [I have academic clients who make 
the custom fonts I created for them freely available[1] for 
non-commercial use, and I would provide them with new fonts in a web 
font format to make available for free download.] Yes, there will be a 
file format distinction between the desktop installable version of a 
free font and the version served on the web, but since those files 
reside in different places why shouldn't there be a format distinction? 
Again, there doesn't seem to me anything onerous about this.

John Hudson


[1] http://www.sbl-site.org/educational/biblicalfonts.aspx
Received on Wednesday, 29 July 2009 19:00:24 GMT

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