W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > November 2008

RE: CSS3 @font-face / EOT Fonts

From: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 16:28:24 -0800
To: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <6D096C8718FA4241B934489A5E1CE1420118D9B1F2C4@nambx04.corp.adobe.com>

> On Wed, 5 Nov 2008, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
> Both of these hurt Web site developers, with no apparent gain for
> either
> developers or users. I wouldn't support such a proposal.
> What's wrong with plain old TTF/OT files? They work great for
> developers,
> and they work great for users. Those are the constituents that browser
> vendors need to be looking out for. I don't really see why we would go
> out
> of our way to make things harder for developers and users just to go on
> a
> DRM fool's errand.

I agree that those are the constituents browser vendors should be looking out for. But "plain old TTF/OT files" do NOT meet the needs of developers. The logic is simple.

1) Developers (especially designer-developers) dearly want to be able to use any font at all, and they want to be able to do so legally. They value "retail" fonts and don't want to be stuck using only shareware/freeware/open-source fonts. We know this from several hundred responses to surveys aimed at end users.

2) The folks who make the retail fonts want exactly the two kinds of protections in question, which requirements are met by EOT and apparently by the compromise proposal as well. The minimum requirement seems to be: URL info in the font, plus just enough obfuscation that the font can't work in Mac or Windows without pre-processing. That minimum will get a critical mass of retail fonts available: many font makers would like a LOT MORE than this, but we could probably get > 1/2 of all retail fonts with just these two elements. We know this from spending scores of hours talking to font developers.

So, if you want to meet the needs of web developers, you need to satisfy the requirements of the folks who make the majority of retail fonts out there, which means exactly these two elements you are so unexcited about.

> Attempts to "protect" the licenses of font developers are doomed, just
> like attempts to protect audio and video -- and we're not even remotely
> talking about something anywhere NEAR as effective as BD+ or AACS. If
> browsers were to support a standard format whose exclusive goal was to
> make TTFs only work on Web browsers and only work with certain domains,
> I
> predict that within days, there would be automated tools to strip these
> restrictions and convert the files into plain TTF files.

Could be. But the concern of most font makers is not keeping fonts locked in a perfect vault, just keeping the strong majority of users honest. I personally, and folks from most font foundries, believe that even light obfuscation which requires some special tool to break it, will achieve that goal.

If people want to actively pirate fonts and strip DRE information out of them, they can and will. But having such info in the fonts there means that people will have to knowingly do something that most people think is wrong, and experience (PDF, SWF) and survey data both suggest that most people won't go so far.

You know this position, underlying beliefs and survey results from previous discussions, including the panel you, Bert, Si and I were on at the ATypI conference in St Petersburg. You can deny the validity of this viewpoint if you like, but it seems odd for you to ask " What's wrong with plain old TTF/OT files?" as if you haven't heard these arguments articulated repeatedly (though perhaps not on this list).

> DRM is evil. Easily-circumvented DRM is pointless and evil.

I believe this isn't DRM, but DRE (and even more so in the new "compromise proposal"). But of course calling it DRM makes it easier for W3C folks to have a knee-jerk reaction against it.


Received on Thursday, 6 November 2008 00:29:02 UTC

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