W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-font@w3.org > July to September 1996

Re: SuperATM and MM fonts instead of embedding (was Re: pixel fonts)

From: Tiro TypeWorks <tiro@portal.ca>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 12:34:04 -0700
Message-Id: <199608121927.MAA05419@kefron.portal.ca>
To: www-font@w3.org
Bill MCoy wrote:

>John Hudson wrote:

>>the font _is_ installed in the user's system, that's how they are able to
print
>>a PDF file. 

>Yes, on certain platforms (i.e., Macintosh) an extracted font may be
>transiently made available to the system. But, embedded fonts are never
>permanently installed into the system by Acrobat... thus I stand by my
>original statement.

If one's purpose is to steal a font from an Acrobat file,it hardly matters
whether the necessary data is 'transiently made available' or permanently
installed. The point is, it's there, it's easy to find and easy to strip.

>>We can strip a fully functional font from a PDF file in a matter
>>of seconds

>So what? Any ten year old can copy any standard U.S. commercial software
>install disk in a manner of seconds. Most likely they can copy your font
>disks as well. A decade ago, commercial shrink-wrapped software was
>universally copy protected in the U.S. - but it didn't stop hackers and it
>did piss off legitimate customers.

This is the most arse-backwards argument I've come across (and unfortunately
I hear it all the time):

'It is easy to steal fonts by copying disks, so people are doing it;
therefore, let's give them another, even easier way to steal fonts, and make
this one really special by allowing the pirates to send the fonts to
millions of anonymous people all over the globe via the glories of the World
Wide Web!'

Perhaps Tom Rickner is right: if this is Adobe's attitude, they should just
start embedding PageMaker and Illustrator in electronic documents and
sending them off into the great wide world to try their luck.

>You have the right to license your type any way you want, and Acrobat today
>makes it clear that font embedding should be enabled only if your fonts are
>licensed appropriately.

That's really big of you. We can tell people that they're not allowed to
embed our fonts, but we're not actually allowed to do anything to prevent
them. It is illegal to steal cars, but I'm sure you don't rely on the fact
to protect your vehicle if you leave the doors unlocked and the key in the
ignition. If you agree that we have the right to protect our fonts by any
licencing agreement we choose to draft, why won't you acknowledge that we
have the right to demand a technical implementation of that protection? At
no point in any of this discussion have I said that embedding is
intrinsically wrong -- what I have said is that the implementation of
embedding should be tailored to the legal protection of that which is
embedded. Since, as you yourself point out, the principal legal protection
for a piece of software is specified in its licencing agreement, the content
and nature of which is determined -- by right -- by the software
manufacturer, doesn't it also make sense that the level of technical
protection should also be determined by said manufacturer (in this instance
the humble type designer).

>Our authoring software respects the TrueType
>embedding bits, which will be enhanced and extended in OpenType for both
>TrueType and Type 1 technologies. And, different markets may require
>different behavior (i.e., copy protection is still common in Japan, and so
>we also support font outline encryption for Japanese fonts, which we hope to
>strengthen in OpenType). So yes of course you should be able to "opt out" of
>the system - legally and/or technically.

The legal option is, de facto, meaningless without the technical option. I'm
glad to hear that protection is probably going to be strengthened in
OpenType, and look forward to learning the details.

>I only argue that your moral high
>ground is not sufficient justification for placing requirements on a
>standards-based Web font solution that would either impair the solution or
>delay its implementation. 

We're probably never going to agree on that. It's in your interests to push
something out before someone else does (and, frankly I'd rather see Adobe
tackling this than most other software companies), regardless of IP and
technical protection issues. It is not in our interests to have anything
released until the latter concerns have been properly addressed. Given the
way money has of moving mountains (and moral high ground with them), you
will probably win... Somewhere, I believe, there is a balance which we'll
both have to compromise with: How fast is fast enough for you? How secure is
secure enough for us?

John Hudson, Type Director

Tiro TypeWorks
Vancouver, BC
tiro@portal.ca
http://www.portal.ca/~tiro
Received on Monday, 12 August 1996 15:28:22 UTC

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