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Re: EOT & DMCA concerns

From: Anton Prowse <prowse@moonhenge.net>
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2009 21:11:12 +0200
Message-ID: <4A7887D0.90009@moonhenge.net>
To: www-font@w3.org
Thomas Lord wrote:
> And strict EOTL won't handle a single font
> that is found in the wild or the font output 
> by any but one very recently written program.
> Which is an odd place to wind up when discussion
> of EOT variants was taken up to achieve downward
> compatibility.

I was not under the impression that downwards compatibility was a 
particular concern, as regards existing web content.  Rather, it 
appeared to me that, stemming from the desire to come up with a solution 
that is acceptable to both font producers and browser manufacturers and 
which can be implemented in forthcoming browser releases, it was felt 
that the ability to use the same format in legacy IEs---in order to 
avoid the need for web authors to juggle two formats---would be a 
nice-to-have feature.

IMO this advantage to web authors is welcome in terms of workload. It 
/is/ possible to fork CSS for IE, but it's successively more cumbersome 
with each version (6,7,8).

If this understanding is correct, then compatibility with legacy web 
content is not the issue when choosing between the proposals currently 
on the table.  We accept that there is not going to be any such 
compatibility where EOT+rootstrings files are used, no matter which 
approach is chosen.  If it were originally hoped that there might be, 
this hope is dashed because of DMCA concerns regarding the use of a file 
that was explicitly built to comply with EOT-with-rootstrings in such a 
way that the rootstrings are ignored.  Neither of the two current EOTL 
proposals will render such a file (for differing reasons), thus avoiding 
this problem.  Happily, the converse is false: an valid EOTL file /will/ 
render in legacy IEs; it's merely required that the font producer 
licenses the file in such a way that they do not prohibit rendering of 
the font in non-compliant browsers (IE).  Probably any such attempt at 
prohibition would be legally futile anyway, since current IEs were 
produced before the file format was invented and so presumably they 
cannot be held liable for incorrectly handling the resource.

So, amongst the proposals under consideration, the two EOTL proposals 
have the advantage of less CSS-forking for web authors when creating 
/new/ content.  Other proposals may have their own advantages.

Anton Prowse
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 19:12:52 UTC

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