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

Re: CSS3 @font-face / EOT Fonts

From: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 19:44:50 -0500
Message-ID: <7c2a12e20811061644x26c48e24gdee65946d6b72046@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Cc: "Mikko Rantalainen" <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>

On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 12:57 PM, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:
> This is the most important point said so far, or at least the best telling
> of it so far, imo.  We web authors want to use fonts.  This is a given.  We
> love fancy fonts that alter the feel of a site.  All we need is an easy
> mechanism to actually use them.
> If plain TTF/OT font linking was supported today, we could get by with only
> the free fonts.  It wouldn't be as good, but it would be adequate.  Fonts,
> like all other digital media, will continue the standard trend of becoming
> more and more free if we allow them to.  Let us embed fonts.  Let copyright
> law sort out the people who are violating it.  A bit of obfuscation does
> absolutely nothing for the "font pirate", but inconveniences us authors.
>  This is the standard failing of DRM - it hurts the average user who *isn't*
> violating copyright, while doing absolutely nothing to stop those who *are*.
> Let us link free fonts.  Let us do it easily.  When free fonts are easily
> usable on the web, they will increase.  They will multiply.  Everything will
> be right and good with the world.
> And we get to avoid handing the tools for further unnecessary lawsuits to a
> new group of people, so that's always nice.  ^_^

I completely agree with this logic except for one detail: Microsoft
doesn't, and if IE doesn't support the font inclusion mechanism, it's
pretty much worthless to web developers, except those targeting
certain very constrained audiences.  So unless Microsoft is going to
change its mind, vendors who oppose DRM on the web have to make the
decision between delayed web fonts or none at all, and compromising
themselves.  So far the decision seems to be the former.

What I would say is that if some compromise is necessary, it
absolutely must include the *option* for using bare font files, in the
same fashion as images are used, for those who want to distribute free
fonts.  If the font foundries get DRM, it had at least better be
possible for people to easily distribute totally non-DRM free font
files, that anyone can remotely link to and install on their computer
as easily as possible.

In the same vein, I think a default same-origin restriction that needs
to be overridden by HTTP headers is a really bad idea.  It kills
remote linking of resources unless it's explicitly enabled, and that's
exactly the opposite of the incredibly successful model that the web
has always used.  It means that people can't just see a font they like
on a website and be reasonably sure of remote-linking it, *even* if
the font is free.  They'd have to copy it to their domain, if they can
even upload font files to their domain (consider an Internet message
board allowing a decent subset of CSS, or Wikipedia); and if they want
to use a font in multiple places, they'd have to figure out how to
work .htaccess files or who knows what.

Of course, embedding the allowed domains in the font file poses
problems to web authors who choose to use DRM fonts, but frankly,
that's something for them to bring up with the font retailer.  If
their retailer isn't willing to let them use fonts with appropriately
broad permissions set, then they can find another retailer, or use
free fonts.
Received on Friday, 7 November 2008 00:45:29 GMT

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