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Re: CSS3 @font-face / EOT Fonts - new compromise proposal

From: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 16:53:39 +0100
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <200811121653.39647.bert@w3.org>

On Wednesday 12 November 2008 10:12, Mirko Gustony wrote:

> Could someone please explain me, why fonts actually do need more
> technical protection then let's say a ... text (I know there was a
> similar question already)?

I think we have to distinguish the "ideal world" from the current 
situation. In an ideal world, people would realize that fonts are just 
as much the result of a (creative) effort as a text or an image and it 
would be easy for them to find out if they can re-publish a copy and, 
if not, who to ask for a license.

In practice, people are used to seeing a copyright statement at the 
start of books and another underneath images, but they never see one 
for fonts. When they use a word processor to create a document, they 
apply a two-column layout, the color green and the Palatino font all 
with the click of a button and they don't realize that the rules 
for "green" and "Palatino" are somewhat different.

And thus fonts have been ahead of most other things in incorporating 
partly machine-readable metadata. When you create an electronic 
document (Word, PDF, Illustrator, etc.), it's the software that checks 
the license for you. That doesn't quite work for HTML yet, because 
compound documents look a bit differently on the Web: they are held 
together by URLs, rather than stored in a single, binary container. 
That URL is the essential contribution that EOT makes to OpenType, the 
other bits (literally) were already there.

As more and more tasks are automated, it would also be good to have 
machine-readable metadata for text and images. And indeed Creative 
Commons is working on that, see, e.g., the ccRel submission[1].

W3C has an Interest Group[2] that is studying all the different "policy 
languages" (not just for copyright) that are deployed or proposed. They 
have already identified a dozen or two different ones. It would be nice 
to settle on just a single one, but even assuming it is politically 
possible, it will take so long that I'd still argue for a special 
purpose language for fonts. Especially as it seems we can get a lot of 
fonts on the Web with a very small specification.

[1] http://www.w3.org/Submission/2008/02/
[2] http://www.w3.org/Policy/pling/wiki/Main_Page



Bert
-- 
  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
  http://www.w3.org/people/bos                               W3C/ERCIM
  bert@w3.org                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 (0)4 92 38 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Wednesday, 12 November 2008 15:54:19 GMT

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