Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

On Thu, 2009-07-02 at 17:41 -0500, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 5:17 PM, Thomas Lord<> wrote:
> > On Thu, 2009-07-02 at 15:48 -0500, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:

> > There is a lot of talk to the effect that concerns
> > TTF/OTF support will lead to "accidental piracy"
> > are the main motivation for resistance to TTF/OTF.
> > I am beginning to believe that that is not really
> > the motivation but, rather, exclusion by incumbents
> > against potential competitors is the driver.

> TTF becoming the prevalent webfont format does nothing to licensing
> terms, though.  It would probably simply be expedient to release fonts
> with freeer licenses, just because it's more difficult to *enforce*
> restrictive licensing under such an unrestricted format, but there's
> not a single technical issue surrounding TTF that would suddenly
> require foundries to switch to loose licensing.

New entrants to the market, however, would have
stronger incentive to enter the market with 
looser licensing.  That is my suspicion: that TTF/OTF
is being resisted in an attempt to exclude such 
new entrants.

> Basically, every restrictive format involves (and generally, is
> dominated by) one or more of the following three approaches:

> 1. Purposely breaking interop with desktop OSes (EOT, any obfuscation
> proposal, most compression proposals).

That is reason enough for W3C TAG to object to any
such proposal, in my opinion.

> 2. Making it clear that the font isn't intended for 'normal' desktop
> use (renaming proposals, subsetting proposals).

Those are just a specific technical way of accomplishing your point (1).

> 3. Restricting what domains the font can be used on (rootstring
> proposals, same-origin proposals).

Rootstring and same-origin proposals should not be 
lumped together - they are profoundly different.

A rootstring proposal attempts to insist that you
may not perform certain computations that can trivially
be done with a font that you have received.

A same-origin (CORS-style) restriction allows someone
to decline to give you a copy of the font under certain

> None of these three are intended to limit the site author who buys a
> font in any way; they're intended to prevent/discourage viewers and
> authors of other sites from downloading and reusing a linked font
> themselves.

This in spite of that fact that such a restriction
is completely inappropriate for libre fonts.

> (Even the raw TTF/OTF approach uses option 3, as the Webfonts spec
> does or did say that fonts used with @font-face should have
> same-origin restrictions.)

Same-origin restrictions help the operators of 
servers sort out what requests to satisfy on their
own servers.   Don't confuse them with rootstring proposals
which attempt to restrict how YOU use a font file
on YOUR computer.


Received on Thursday, 2 July 2009 23:01:27 UTC