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Re: EOT & DMCA concerns

From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 14:15:53 -0700
To: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
Cc: Jonathan Kew <jonathan@jfkew.plus.com>, Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>, John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>, www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1249506953.7510.83.camel@dell-desktop.example.com>
On Wed, 2009-08-05 at 13:38 -0700, Thomas Phinney wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Thomas Lord<lord@emf.net> wrote:
> > On Wed, 2009-08-05 at 12:28 -0700, Thomas Phinney wrote:
> >> On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 12:06 PM, Thomas Lord<lord@emf.net> wrote:
> >>
> >> > The proponents argue for EOTL with same-origin+CORS.
> >> > The rationales:
> >> >
> >> > 1) A required conversion step by authors
> >> > acts as a low garden wall.
> >>
> >> I have never heard this argument until now, and I do not believe that
> >> font vendors are concerned about that particular direction of usage.
> >
> > It's come up quite a bit.   The two
> > "conversion step" rationales are the
> > entire basis for some parties saying
> > "no TTF/OTF -- no `raw' fonts".
> 
> No, the first step as a protection has not come up, and the first
> conversion step is neither a rationale nor a basis for anything I've
> seen discussed. It's just a necessity in order to put up the fence of
> a second step, coming back the other way. (It's true that a garden
> fence may make it harder to get *out* of your garden, but unless you
> have pets or small children it usually isn't the point.)

I believe that your recollection or understanding
of earlier discussion is mistaken... there was talk
about not making it "too easy" to copy a font
from Desktop to web.  It hardly matters, though, 
since you agree that at least on the download side
conversion would be needed and that is intended 
as a garden wall.   Free fonts provide a strong 
incentive to automate away any user awareness or
hassle in that conversion step.  There won't be a 
garden wall.  (Yes, I also respond to your "what comes
pre-installed" notion, below.)



> Retail font vendors are very concerned about web fonts chewing into
> their desktop font revenue, 

I get that.   There is a problem for them here
in that ANY web font Recommendation poses that 
risk.  The difference in risk between TTF/OTF and 
EOTL is diminishingly small.

Every other media industry has faced similar
problems, dealing with them to varying degrees
of success and failure.   Every media market
has shown varying degrees of success in 
discovering new business models to replace the 
old.



> because the latter is their main source of
> revenue. Broadly speaking, they haven't even *considered* the question
> their existing revenue source (desktop fonts) chewing into the
> hypothetical future revenue which is about to go up from zero.

Again, I think your recollection or understanding
of past discussion is mistaken but the particularly
narrow distinction you're making is not critical
to my argument.


> Arguably, they *ought* to be worried. But they pretty much universally
> are not, so far. Maybe some of them would be if they thought about it
> more.

I think that they are in a difficult spot, in
terms of their business model.  My suggestion 
to them would be to plan to go after any and all
mass-scale unauthorized redistribution sites and,
at the same time, to make it inexpensive and easy
to buy for authorized use.  A web font recommendation
can help with that by creating excitement among 
users for fonts.  They might want to consider 
partnering with "vertical" services - e.g., ma and
pa use some web service to design their own anniversary 
party invitations and, in that transaction, a font 
or fonts are included.

Meanwhile, just as it ever was, large scale 
commercial uses of fonts requires policing.


> >> What UA maker or desktop OS vendor has
> >> said they want to or are even willing to "automate the conversion
> >> step" back to desktop fonts for users downloading web fonts?
> >
> > I'll write some code for the web-to-desktop case,
> > if it comes to that.
> 
> I'm concerned with what's bundled with the Mac and Windows OSes, not
> with what third parties do. The fact that conversion code will exist
> and even be widely available is not the issue, just whether it's built
> in.

Why do you think that that distinction is important?
I don't see it.

It's (perhaps) interesting that, no matter what, 
downloading some font you see used on a page is 
not something that will be automatic.  Many pages
use CSS, by way of analogy, yet if I want to look at the
CSS of a page I must first look at the page source,
find the URL of the CSS, and then cut and paste.
Perhaps - a big maybe - browsers will eventually have
some menu options for "Download font", "Download CSS", 
etc.  That could be a nice feature!  Even then I 
have trouble believing people would commonly use these
features.

Aside from sites explicitly designed to encourage 
sharing fonts, therefore, I have some trouble believing
there will be much font downloading going on.  When 
I really want to riff off CSS that someone else wrote
I usually go to a site that distributes freely licensed
CSS.

But we digress:

Font downloading, to whatever degree it occurs, will
occur to more or less that same degree no matter what
the format is.  I sense from what you wrote above that you
want to say that if the format is not TTF/OTF that this
will somehow put a big dent in the total amount of 
downloading, in part because Windows won't ship with a 
pre-installed automatic converter.  What can I say other
than that seems to be an extremely tenuous claim.  
The experience of every other media type is that any such
barrier is unlikely to hold or make much difference.

-t
Received on Wednesday, 5 August 2009 21:16:35 GMT

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