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RE: question

From: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2010 23:53:48 +0000
To: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
CC: "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
Message-ID: <045A765940533D4CA4933A4A7E32597E28012462@TK5EX14MBXC111.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
> From: www-font-request@w3.org [mailto:www-font-request@w3.org] On
> 
> "We" being the W3C and browser vendors. Of course many font designers
> and vendors were very interested in some form of DRM (Digital Rights
> Management). But ultimately it became clear that browsers weren't
> going to ever implement anything that even smelled remotely like DRM
> for fonts, and WOFF emerged as a compromise that delivered useful
> things for everyone, even if it didn't come anywhere near meeting the
> initial desires (DRM) of the folks designing and distributing
> commercial fonts.

I'm not sure it was that simple. This version of the story assumes those 
font vendors were willing, able and ready to pay for said DRM systems, 
their deployment and proper management. Something that, imo, is quite unlikely 
to be affordable to small foundries. (And maybe attractive to the larger
ones for that reason ?)

Imo many font vendors who wanted DRM assumed that it would be reasonably
effective and cost them very little i.e. browsers would do all the dirty 
magic and voila ! 'Secure' fonts! All based on the implied assumption that 
this limited burden would generally result in relatively higher revenue. 

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I never noticed the discussion even getting
into any kind of depth e.g. to answer the question: which DRM scheme ? If the 
'desired' solution is a bunch of foundry coalitions fighting it out through 
incompatible DRM systems, good luck finding web authors to buy fonts. Even if
there were only one such scheme, it would have to be able to work reliably 
across browsers, operating systems and from smartphone to desktop. Even without 
the politics, the technical challenge of designing, implementing and deploying
such a protocol was orders of magnitude larger than specifying an encoding like 
WOFF. 

Bottom line: yes, there was interest but very little understanding of what DRM
meant and what it would have cost. Not just to browser vendors, but to font vendors.
Received on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 23:54:30 UTC

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