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Re: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 15:47:41 +0300
Message-ID: <4A37946D.4070406@peda.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
François REMY wrote:
> Mikko Rantalainen wrote:
>> Creating a yet another obfuscated font format
>> does not change that fact that you still cannot use those fonts because
>> they are licensed for desktop use only!
> 
> Copyrighters do so because it's unsecure to allow a font to be used 
> on the web because the font can easily be downloaded and used by 
> anyone who's not authorised.
>
> If the format was secured, the problem would (less) occur.

The point is, making the font "secured" would require making it a
working DRM system and DRM systems do not work. I'll explain below.

If the format has no use if it does not secure the font, then it has no
use whatsoever, because it cannot secure the font.

>> "Most font developers believe that without a technological check-point
>> (even a simple one), that web developers and server owners will not
>> understand that they may not simply copy a font from a workstation and
>> use it on the web."
>> 
>> Please, forward this to tech evangelism department. [...]
>> There's no and will not be an effective DRM
>> system!
> 
> It's your meaning. Let's other people think otherly.
> By the way, learn that using the exclamation mark is never seen
> as a good way to give your meaning as it seems you're closed to
> other proposal. In fact, you don't listen to them either.

I used the exclamation mark to highlight the important parts. I
apologize if I sounded rude.


I'll repeat the parts that I feel were important:

(1) Commercial font vendors do not want to license their fonts for web

(2) Effective DRM system does not exist

I'm reasoning that (1) does not follow from (2). In addition (2) cannot
be changed. If we want to fix (1), then we have to find some other way.

Especially any additional obfuscated font format does not change (2).

I believe that if the only way to use custom fonts on a web page is to
share plain font file, then (1) will be fixed when font vendors realize
that either they take the risk that somebody commits a copyright
infringement or they do not license ("sell) their font at all. See
recording industry and "copy-protected" CDs, for an example.


>> [...] Nothing prevents the user from putting that
>> plain file on a public web server... except the copyright law, which
>> commercial font vendors probably do not *believe* in because they're not
>> happy with plain font files.
> 
> Again, you don't look at 'Why do the copyrighters say we can't use 
> the font on the web'... Because "there's no secured way to transmit it"
> seems to be the key word of their arguments...

Here we'll return to DRM issue again.

See this, for example:
http://www.authorama.com/microsoft-research-drm-talk-2.html
(that's the first hit from http://google.com/search?q=drm+alice+bob)

Did you read that? Good. Notice how DRM systems are trying to deal with
the case where Alice wants to communicate with Bob and it's important
that Carol cannot get the information. And Bob and Carol are, in fact,
the same person.

Do you see the problem? It's impossible in theory to make it work in
secure way. (I think there should be an exclamation mark here...)


In the end, if the font foundries want security (think "DRM"), they must
be educated to understand that such thing does not exist. However, if
they want something else, could we please talk about that instead of
security?

-- 
Mikko



Received on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 12:48:23 GMT

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