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Re: Next step?

From: Ben Weiner <ben@readingtype.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 23:26:46 +0100
Message-ID: <4A8341A6.3060705@readingtype.org.uk>
To: www-font <www-font@w3.org>

John Hudson wrote:
> Ben Weiner wrote:
>> Hmm, well actually I do not see why after all the discussion of 
>> garden walls, DMCA actions and so on, MS wouldn't be able to revise 
>> their (apparently ideological) position without accepting any 
>> additional risk to their typefaces or anybody else's. 
> I don't understand this statement, Ben. Microsoft's position, and that 
> of most font makers, is that naked font linking is an unacceptable 
> risk to font IP. How is that position revisable without accepting that 
> risk? This position is no more 'ideological' than it is that of a 
> 'martinet': it is the position of people who actually own a lot of 
> font IP and have concerns about how it is exposed. If anything, I'd 
> characterise it as a business policy position.
And such it is. But there is room here for the existing and the future 
fonts -- whether openly licensed or not -- which are not subject to such 
a business policy decision to be linked directly, without the 
unnecessary protection of a wrapper. This is an entirely separate 
concern from the way that fonts which do need protection should be 
handled, and indeed whether they should be handled at all.

I see MS' position as ideological because it seems to be grounded in 
paternal concern for third-party interests outside the narrow confines 
of a technical standard. I don't believe MS suffers at all itself from 
the fact that OTF/TTF linking is part of the current recommendation and 
neither do I believe other font publishers do or will ever. I think it 
will gain from moving the standard forward, and so will they. So I am 
being paternal -- or at least patronising -- as well. I apologise for 
being an optimist as well as an idealist.
> Personally, I think TTF/OTF should be removed from any W3C 
> recommendation because they should never have been included in one in 
> the first place. There should have been a web font working group to 
> determine such a recommendation, and there wasn't one. The positions 
> of numerous stakeholders was not taken into account. The objection of 
> W3C member companies was not taken into account.
On technological grounds there would never have been a reason to leave 
TTF/OTF out of the old recommendation. There was and is nothing to 
prevent people making and sharing fonts to whatever standard against a 
proven public format and so neither should they be prevented from 
specifying them as linked files on web pages. Equally there is nothing 
in the old recommendation that suggests that sharing fonts against the 
terms of the licence is legitimate. Quite the reverse, if memory serves.


Ben Weiner | http://readingtype.org.uk/about/contact.html
Received on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 22:27:29 UTC

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