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Re: Rumours of the death of "new, professionally designed typefaces" are perhaps exaggerated?

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Mon, 03 Aug 2009 16:22:33 -0700
Message-ID: <4A777139.9040806@tiro.com>
CC: www-font@w3.org
Robert O'Callahan wrote:

>         The idea that creators and users of free fonts should be forced
>         to jump through hoops to "protect the IP" of third parties they
>         have no connection with strikes *me* as daft.

>     The idea that most computer users recognise a distinction between
>     free fonts and non-free fonts similarly strikes me as daft, 

> By "users" here I meant "Web authors".

Which is a pretty broad term in itself. Professional web designers and 
their clients are likely to be sensitive to licensing terms and 
requirements, just as they are when using fonts in print media (as I 
discussed earlier, the market for commercially licensed web fonts is 
expected to be pretty much the same market as for commercially licensed 
print fonts). On the other hand, we see enough unlicensed use of 
commercial fonts in print to know that a lot of casual misuse takes 
place even among professional designers. Casual misuse among amateur 
users is much higher, and in the case of typefaces that gain the dubious 
honour of mass popularity this misuse is epidemic with the number of 
unlicensed uses massively outnumbering licensed uses. [Erik van Blokland 
can speak personally to this: his Trixie typeface become one of the most 
pirated fonts of all time, largely due to its use in the titles of the 
X-Files.]

Is it 'daft' for web authors who want to use free fonts to have to do so 
in a format that is the same as that for non-free fonts, even if this 
can be characterised as a hoop to jump through? I don't think it is if 
a) the hoop is not an arduous one and stepping through it is roughly as 
easy as going around it, and b) it contributes to an overall environment 
in which free and non-free fonts are both widely useable without 
jeopardising the freeness of the one or the IP of the other. This seems 
to me not only not daft, but a reasonable balance.

JH
Received on Monday, 3 August 2009 23:23:16 GMT

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