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Re: Protecting WebFonts

From: Joseph M. Reagle Jr. <reagle@RPCP.MIT.EDU>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996 15:28:34 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: michael@cascadilla.com (Michael Bernstein)
At 02:55 PM 8/22/96 -0400, you wrote:

>That's a very good point.  As far as the illegal redistribution of fonts
>goes, the only way to address that is with lawsuits against major infringers
>and education about alternatives.

       Maybe something can be done eventually... I've been thinking about
crypto and IP for a bit now and I think font protection could be one of the
dilemas for the application of "blessed binaries." If signing mechanisms do
take place (this font can be used with by this person with this certificate,
otherwise consult this font server (which logs, charges, or whatever)) the
large applications makers (adobe, MS, etc.) who have a vested interest in
protecting their font IP, could bless the apps that use fonts. These apps
(or operating systesms) would make sure that the fonts are "legal" (check
the signatures.) Hence, applications and OS's become an IP-policy
enforcement mechanism, something I don't actually agree with philosphically,
but an interesting techincal challange none-the-less.

[quoting from a working paper of mine "Encryption as an Intellectual
Property Wrapper"

The same method is used by "blessed binaries" which are widely used by
players of the game Netrek in order to prevent users from using "borg"
(cheating) clients:
RSA is a new way for servers to make sure that players are not using cyborg
clients.  The RSA package generates a header file containing a public and a
private encryption key.  These keys are compiled into the client; the
private key encrypts the data and the public key decrypts it.  The main
advantage of RSA over the old reserved.c method is that the server gods need
know only the public key; the RSA package can be kept in a few select hands.
Also, if someone breaks the protection on a certain private key, that key
can be turned off by the server god, and that client will no longer work.
(Netrek FAQ)

Regards,            Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. 
		    -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Joseph  Reagle      http://rpcp.mit.edu/~reagle/home.html
reagle@mit.edu      E0 D5 B2 05 B6 12 DA 65  BE 4D E3 C1 6A 66 25 4E
Received on Thursday, 22 August 1996 15:26:49 UTC

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