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Re: The unmentionable

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 15:37:38 -0700
Message-ID: <4A70CF32.1090608@tiro.com>
To: www-font@w3.org
Dirk Pranke wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 1:54 PM, John Hudson<tiro@tiro.com> wrote:
>>> As to seeing the users do the wrong thing, I also have seen a
>>> tremendous number of people pirate MP3s, but that doesn't mean that
>>> iTunes and Amazon are now doing the wrong thing by selling files in
>>> that format.
>> Fonts are not music.

> The analogy to music was purely intended to illustrate the
> consequences of trusting (or not trusting) your customers. I was not
> attempting to claim that music was analogous to fonts.

I understood that to be your point. My counter point is that the 
differences between fonts and music, and the different customer base, 
imply different markets, not least in terms of scale. I don't think the 
retail MP3 business model has anything to do with 'trusting customers' 
per se, and everything to do with an economy of scale in which massive 
unlicensed copying and sharing is an acceptable cost of doing business 
because the income from the people who pay are similarly massive. This 
is because, as a consumer product, the overall demand for music files 
includes a very large number of people who will pay. The overall demand 
for fonts includes a relatively small number of people who will pay, and 
a majority of other people who either refuse to pay or who simply don't 
realise that they are supposed to pay.

Further, the vast majority of computer users are exposed to fonts as 
things that 'come with their computer', either bundled with the OS or 
with other software. They are not customers of the font vendors in any 
direct sense, so it is not a question of whether we trust our customers 
or not. Our actual customers tend to understand our position because we 
have relationships with them -- at least, we tend to if we're small 
independent font foundries in which the font vendor is also the type 
designer --, and they understand the value of what we're licensing to 
them. And, once again, the people who are concerned about protecting 
fonts against casual misuse are in some cases the customer and the web 
author.

For the most part, we trust our customers just fine. It's everyone else 
we worry about. :)

JH
Received on Wednesday, 29 July 2009 22:38:20 GMT

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