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RE: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Levantovsky, Vladimir <Vladimir.Levantovsky@MonotypeImaging.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 17:25:31 -0400
Message-ID: <E955AA200CF46842B46F49B0BBB83FF2924CEA@wil-email-01.agfamonotype.org>
To: "Jonathan Kew" <jonathan@jfkew.plus.com>
Cc: <www-style@w3.org>
Hello Jonathan,

On Monday, June 22, 2009 3:22 PM Jonathan Kew wrote:
> 
> On 22 Jun 2009, at 18:15, Levantovsky, Vladimir wrote:
> 
> > I believe the patent issues have already been resolved, see
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2009Jun/0228.html
> > .
> 
> I presume you are referring to this paragraph:
> 
> <quote>
> For avoidance of any doubt, Monotype Imaging agrees not to exercise
> its rights to apply limitations known as a "field of use restriction"
> if our technology is implemented as a part of a W3C Recommendation,
> and we are willing to work with any interested party, whether a W3C
> member or not, to make our IP available on a RF basis for the purpose
> of developing and prototyping the implementations of a future W3C
> Recommendation.
> </quote>
> 
> Is it correct to understand that you are speaking as an official
> representative of Monotype Imaging at this point? On that assumption,
> I appreciate this statement of the company's intent, and the positive
> attitude that I believe lies behind it. Thank you.
> 
> To clarify further, when you say "agrees not to exercise its rights to
> apply limitations....", are you making a commitment that Monotype will
> offer a patent license free of any such restriction, or are you saying
> that although the W3C-compliant license to be offered may be limited,
> Monotype will not actually seek to enforce such limitations? IANAL,
> but as I'm trying to think about this, I see a critical distinction
> here. What I think we need is an explicit commitment to offer a patent
> license that is not only W3C-compliant but also GPL-compatible; is
> that what you are promising?
> 

Yes, I am speaking as a representative of Monotype Imaging, and we are
making a commitment to offer a GPL-compatible patent license that is
free of field of use restriction if our compression technology becomes a
part of the future web font standard.

> > When it comes to a derivative work where the only purpose is to rip
> > EOT font and install it as system font - I think we are all in
> > agreement that this is inevitable and patent will never prevent
this.
> 
> True; regrettable, perhaps, but still inevitable.
> 
> > An efficient web font solution will benefit all web users and will
> > accommodate all fonts, whether commercial or free.
> 
> Indeed, and there are some attractive technical benefits to EOT, or
> something similar to it. If you can definitely confirm Monotype's
> commitment to offer a fully GPL-compatible patent license, ideally
> with at least draft text of such a potential license (so that others
> can independently evaluate the issue of license compatibility), then I
> think the chance of persuading non-MS browser developers to consider
> adding EOT support will be considerably improved.
> 

I have the management approval to offer a GPL-compatible license, it's a
promise that is contingent on the adoption of the technology in
question. I am not sure I can offer you a draft text of the license -
this would require engaging our legal counsel which I am reluctant do at
this point - we do not even have the Fonts WG setup yet. I am sure we'll
have time to iron this out while we are in the process of creating the
recommendation.

> > The solution that is *only* suitable for free fonts is not a good
> > solution.
> 
> Certainly. And even for free fonts, the compression possibilities of
> EOT could still be very worthwhile.
> 
> On the other hand, given that current (or very near-future) versions
> of all the main non-MS browsers will be supporting .ttf/.otf files
> (and not .eot files), perhaps foundries that are willing to license
> fonts for web use should consider John Daggett's recent suggestion,
> which as I understand it would work with today's browsers: create the
> desired "fences" simply by appropriate font naming. For example, the
> Monotype EULA that permits .eot use on a web server could also
> permit .otf use on a web server provided the font is internally
> renamed along the lines John suggested. That would (it seems to me)
> serve as a pretty clear "No Trespassing" sign, too, and would allow
> sites to be both IE-compatible and FF/Opera/...-compatible in their
> font deployment. Used in this way, direct linking to .otf files need
> not be suitable *only* for free fonts.
> 

I am afraid to do what John proposed would be absolutely impractical and
prohibitively expensive from the production process point of view. I
cannot see how we can put this burden on our customers, and I don't
think that modifying every single copy of a font licensed for web use by
changing its name will work, especially because I'd imagine that most
font EULAs would also allow non-web use where normal, full-featured font
versions with proper names and styles have to be supported.

Regards,
Vladimir


> Jonathan
Received on Monday, 22 June 2009 21:26:01 GMT

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