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Re: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 13:37:36 +0300
Message-ID: <4A40B070.1050701@peda.net>
To: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Levantovsky, Vladimir wrote:
> On Monday, June 22, 2009 6:30 AM Mikko Rantalainen wrote:
>> Adam Twardoch wrote:
>>> This may sound trivial, but the only situation when font users
>>> and font vendors "get in touch" is pretty much at the point of
>>> sale. So the only viable way for a new contract to come into life
>>> is whenever a purchase is being made.
>> As Brad Kemper already said, font users and font vendors never "got
>> in touch". There was never a real contract. Only an End User
>> License Agreement (legal status of which is highly questionable
>> under various countries laws).
> 
> This is a standard accepted practice for the whole software industry,
> not just fonts. Whether it's a signed hardcopy contract or a
> click-though End-user license agreement - it has the same legal
> status. Whenever you click "I Agree" button (either at the point of
> sale or at the time of installation) - you sign the contract.

I'm aware that this is common for the whole commercial software
industry. IANAL but it seems to me that this arrangement is highly
questionable. For example, here in Finland, I believe that a push of "I
Agree" button will not sign a contract. This is for various reasons,
some of which are:

1) There are no witnesses (two witnesses for a singed contract is a norm
here)

2) The singing parties are not identified: licensor is identified but
the licensee is not - the button may have pressed by anybody (a minor
which cannot enter into a contract by law?) or by anything (a dog? any
software agent?)

3) The fact that the EULA must be accepted after the transaction has
already completed (the customer payed for the media, the seller got
money - if any contract was to be made, it should have been made at the
point of sales).

Again, I'm not a lawyer. I'm just telling you that even though EULA
could be found valid in court in the USA, it could be worth less than
the electricity needed to display it on the screen in some other countries.

> There should be a clear differentiation between distributing a copy
> of the font to be used for any purpose, and delivering a font linked
> to a website for the purpose of rendering the text. My understanding

Why? Only because some commercial font licensor is thinking so? A font
licensed under any free license (as in freedom) can be freely used for
both rendering and for any other purpose. It can be freely distributed
to anybody else, too. Distributing a modified version of font may
require changing its name due to licensing terms.

> of the copyright law is that only the copyright owner can distribute
> copies of the original work, anybody else would have to have a
> license to do it, even you obtained your copy free of charge.

My understanding is that the copyright owner can decide who can
distribute verbatim or modified copies of a work. I'm fully aware about
the differences between free of charge (no-cost, no-redistribution
license) and free of restrictions (no-cost, redistribution of verbatim
of modified versions license).

My concern is that free fonts (as in freedom) cannot be freely used
because of some technological limitations of web browsers (implemented
only to make commercial font vendors happy). My point is that using a
free font should be easier than using a font which requires
technological measurement to prevent "accidental misuse" because there
is no special requirements for distribution for the free font.

-- 
Mikko


Received on Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:38:18 GMT

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