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Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 16:56:12 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0907021456n62639b60m24f59ac432076f72@mail.gmail.com>
To: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Cc: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>, "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
On Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 4:45 PM, Chris Wilson<Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com> wrote:
> Tab Atkins Jr. [mailto:jackalmage@gmail.com] wrote:
>>I'm not fully familiar with everything that EOT offers.  You're
>>correct about the TTF embedding bit, though it is trivial to override
>>and is in fact *necessary* to override in many cases as many
>>completely free fonts nevertheless have the embed bit set by
>>overzealous programs.
> Not sure I understand the "necessary to override" comment, but...

The creator of the "embed" tool (which unsets the embed bit in OTF
fonts) explains this on this page:

Basically, the tool he uses to create fonts automatically sets the
embed bit without an option to turn it off (or at least a visible
option - I'm not familiar with the tool he uses).  This was a problem,
as his fonts are distributed under libre terms.  When investigating
this, he found that many of the other free fonts in his collection
similarly had the embed bit set, despite being released under free
terms that allow such embedding.

>>I believe I should amend my statement to say that none of the
>>proposals floated on this list have placed "limiting the author" as a
>>priority in any way.  If any limitations have been requested, it is on
>>the website viewers.  Author limitations haven't come up once in any
>>of the many, many messages that have been sent on this topic, to the
>>best of my memory.
>>So, the effect of licensing terms on page authors is still apparently
>>orthogonal to discussion of an interoperable webfont format.
> I still don't understand, because I think what the license enables page authors to do with fonts is precisely what the discussion of an interoperable webfont format is about.  Sorry to be dense.

To the best of my understanding (and I've been an active participant
in these discussions since Vladimir first brought up the MTX proposal
a year or so ago), the ability for page authors to do things has never
been under discussion.  All 'restrictive' proposals are centered
around restricting the ability of website *viewers* to use a font
linked on a website.  (Or similarly, restricting the ability of
*other* authors from hotlinking a font hosted by another author who
has an appropriate license.)

The entire concept of 'garden fences' is predicated on this.  It is
assumed that the original user of a font understands their licensing
obligations, and so many proposals have attempted to make it clear to
viewers of the site that their use of linked fonts on the site may not
be legal.

Another point is that, in every proposal, there has been a focus on
making the *authoring* experience as simple as possible.  Nobody wants
site authors to jump through hoops to use their fonts; some people
want viewers to jump through a hoop to reduce 'casual' or 'unknowing'
copyright infringement.

Received on Thursday, 2 July 2009 21:57:08 UTC

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