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Re: Proposal: Font Use Modelling

From: Andrew C. Bulhak <acb@cs.monash.edu.au>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 05:53:54 +1000 (EST)
Message-Id: <199608121953.FAA21809@silas.cc.monash.edu.au>
To: Chris.Lilley@sophia.inria.fr (Chris Lilley)
Cc: tiro@portal.ca, www-font@w3.org
[Chris Lilley]
> 
> On Aug 9,  3:23pm, Tiro TypeWorks wrote:
> 
> > There is a tendency, of which we are all guilty, to look at type from the
> > perspective of our own corner of the industry (or related industries), and
> > not to fully consider what people in other areas might require of font
> > technology.
> 
> Bingo. Well put.
> 
> > I propose (and I'll let everyone else decide who is best placed to implement
> > such a proposal) that time should be taken to build a series of models of
> > current font usage, detailing how fonts are purchased and used by different
> > market groups, how fonts are likely to be used by such groups in the future,
> 
> And by other groups. It is the community who do not currently use fonts now but
> wish to in the future that is the growth area.
> 
> > and which smaller market groups are likely to grow in response to various
> > current technological initiatives.
> 
> Why the restriction to "small" market groups? Just curious. Or was that an
> ironic reference back to your "own corner" ;-)
> 
> > Of principal concern should be issues of
> > ownership, licensing, and data protection. Obviously these issues are going
> > to imply different things to different groups -- one thing to companies
> > commissioning custom typefaces, for example, and another to developers of
> > Web browsers.The point _is_ the difference, and we lack a model of these
> > differences suitable to informing the present debate.
> 
> OK, sounds interesting. You volunteering to put forward a discussion document?
> 
> > I suspect, if such modelling were available, font technology developers
> > would see the need to control, within the font data, the ways in which a
> > font can be used.
> 
> Rather like certain Kanji fonts which are restricted to being imaged at low
> resolution (below 600dpi) for example? Or a license for temporary installation
>  for read only use with documents from a particular website?
> 
> > It is not that I am opposed in principle to outline fonts
> > being used, in some fashion, on the Web and in electronic documents; rather,
> > font designers, manufacturers and distributors should be able to determine
> > which of their fonts can be used in such a fashion and which cannot.
> 
> There are likely to be several "fashions"; particular foundries might give
> their assent in the license for some and not others. Machine-readable licenses
> would be a help here.

The problem with machine-readable licenses is that they're only as
reliable as whatever reads them.  Were software development restricted
to a guild of licensed artisans, conforming to a strict code of ethics,
they may be workable.  But, as anyone with a C compiler can write or
modify a browser, they're no more an option against piracy than banning 
unescrowed encryption is against terrorism.

That's a somewhat disturbing undercurrent in the "IP protection" 
concept.  To work, to be airtight, IP protection would have to build 
a closed system of applications whose formats and specifications were
kept secret, to the exclusion of free software.  Whether or not that is 
any more workable than Type 1 encryption was, it would freeze out 
free software and truly open, documented standards in favour of a
technical oligarchy.

-- 
  http://www.zikzak.net/~acb/       "`HAVE A NICE DAY' died for your sins."
           <acb@dev.null.org>                                  -- Mumbles
Received on Monday, 12 August 1996 15:56:42 UTC

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