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.webfont Proposal

From: Tal Leming <tal@typesupply.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2009 16:42:31 -0400
Message-Id: <D2486566-A19D-4925-A88B-4895EC041A3C@typesupply.com>
To: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Cc: Erik van Blokland <erik@letterror.com>
We (Erik van Blokland and myself) have been thinking about the various  
proposals that have been put forward on this list and elsewhere. The  
CORS proposal sounded interesting, but with Bert Bos' doubt[1] we went  
back to the drawing board. We had already been thinking about a light  
XML wrapper around font data as an alternative to a new binary format.  
We went back to that and incorporated some of the recent ideas. There  
is no encryption or obfuscation. The markup is very light and,  
hopefully, easy to understand. A demo file is attached. The details:

Required Element:
- The font data is contained in a <font> element. There are two  
attributes: format and compression. The format attribute addresses one  
of the concerns that we have had about the various options being  
discussed: OpenType is the main font format right now, but that may  
change in the future. There are no other formats on the horizon, but  
history tells us that there will be a new format someday. The format  
attribute allows us to anticipate that. The data inside of the element  
is the raw font data. It can be compressed and the compression format  
is specified with the compression attribute.

Optional Elements:
- The <allow> element would list domains that are licensed to use the  
font. A meta URL, "any", would signify that the font could be used on  
all domains. If a browser encounters a mismatch between the listed  
URLs and the URL that is trying to use the font, the browser would  
still render the page with the font. We would like for the browser to  
display some kind of simple, unobtrusive alert or indicator to the  
user about the discrepancies in the font's domain information. We  
think this is similar to Thomas Lord's "Digital Rights Assistance"[2].
- The <sourcename> and <sourceurl> elements would define where the  
font came from. This could be a foundry, an open font initiative or  
anything else. This data could be used for displaying the alert to the  
- The <licenseurl> would point to a full text description of the  
license agreement. The font binary may contain this URL, but it might  
be easier for the browsers to get it without digging deeply into the  

That's it. We have talked to several prominent font foundries about  
this proposal and it was met with support. There are many things that  
we font makers would like to see in a format, but we feel that this is  
a good middle ground for all parties. The browsers are not forced to  
reject data. Font makers have some basic safeguards for our font  
data[3]. Font licensees have some protections for their investments.  
The viewers of sites have no interference to their viewing experience.

We'd love to know what you think. We're especially interested in  
hearing from the browser makers. Could you support something like this?

Tal (and Erik)

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-font/2009JulSep/0273.html
[2] http://noeot.com/dre-drm-dra.html
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-font/2009JulSep/0359.html

Received on Wednesday, 8 July 2009 20:43:29 UTC

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