Re: non-normative best practices & file caching

Dave Crossland wrote:

> This discussion is veering into DRM.

No, it isn't. No one has suggested a mechanism that would have legal 
consequences for users or require enforcement of specific license terms 
by a user agent. Indeed, no one other than you has tried to link this in 
any way to licensing issues.

We're talking about a non-normative annotation for how user agents 
handle unwrapped WOFFs -- which mainly serves to confirm that caching of 
the WOFF is okay --, in clarification of a normative reference to the 
CSS Fonts spec, which says that download resources 'MUST NOT' be made 
available to other applications or documents on the user's system. I 
take David Singer's suggestion to be that the wording of our note should 
reflect the wording of the CSS Fonts spec.

This is entirely independent of the font license. The font license 
states what may or may not legally be done, not how a conformant user 
agent should handle downloaded resources according to a technical 
specification. The terms of a libre license have no more relevance to 
the conformance requirements than do the terms of a restrictive license: 
the user agent is not required to enforce either.

>> I can't think of a situation in
>> which installing the unwrapped content of a WOFF file is a necessary action,
>> so it is easiest simply to recommend that this should not be done.

> I can: The WOFF is entirely libre software.

That does not make installing the unwrapped font a *necessary* action. 
It would be a permitted action according to the libre software license, 
but it would not be a necessary action, not least because the same 
license would make the font available in any number of other ways. You 
can't oblige user agents to facilitate everything that is permitted in a 
libre license, any more than you can oblige them to enforce any terms of 
a restrictive license.

> The best and only legitimate thing such user agents can do is to
> present the license metadata in the fonts to users *prominently* in
> their user interface and trust that users to not choose to do what
> they are not permitted to do.

I agree that the WOFF metadata should be prominently presented so that 
users can make informed decisions.

The same metadata could provide a link to a downloadable and locally 
installable TTF/OTF for a libre or open source font. Perhaps this is 
something we might want to consider adding the standard metadata fields: 
an optional field for a URL link to a locally installable version of the 
font? This would facilitate the permissions of libre licensing at the 
same level — the WOFF metadata — as restrictions of other licensing, 
e.g. licensee, may be expressed.


Received on Sunday, 3 October 2010 20:45:26 UTC