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RE: Agenda, action items and suggested WOFF changes

From: Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com>
Date: Sun, 16 May 2010 21:04:44 -0400
To: "'Thomas Phinney'" <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
Cc: "'Levantovsky, Vladimir'" <Vladimir.Levantovsky@monotypeimaging.com>, "'John Daggett'" <jdaggett@mozilla.com>, "'John Hudson'" <tiro@tiro.com>, "'Chris Lilley'" <chris@w3.org>, <public-webfonts-wg@w3.org>, <www-font@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003001caf55c$f0feb0a0$d2fc11e0$@com>
Friday, May 14, 2010 7:42 PM Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>:

>Have you actually consulted a lawyer on this, who
>has advised what you say above?

Yes!

>That being said, I have indeed read all 59 pages of the LimeWire judgment
(whew!)
>and I for one don't see anything in it that would make me think that
>an application putting in a warning dialog puts the application at
>increased risk.

Then we disagree. Was the level of "user education" employed with regard to
licensing issues not at issue, or was I dreaming?
But there's no need to get tangles about this because:

>neither of us are lawyers,

You got that right! So why in heck is there language on the negotiating
table that can be open to differing inferences and interpretations when
there doesn't need to be anything?
Serious question. And I direct it squarely at you because I value your
intellectual integrity.
Why does anything - by any stretch - need to be said other than this at the
very most:

>           The font embedding permissions set in
>           the font contained in a WOFF file MUST
>           NOT affect load behavior in user agents
>           and MUST NOT affect whether tools
>           produce a WOFF file from an underlying
>           font.  

(Although I still don't know what "load" means.)

I await your opinion.

Regards, 

Rich

-----Original Message-----
From: www-font-request@w3.org [mailto:www-font-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of
Thomas Phinney
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2010 7:42 PM
To: rfink@readableweb.com
Cc: Levantovsky, Vladimir; John Daggett; John Hudson; Chris Lilley;
public-webfonts-wg@w3.org; www-font@w3.org
Subject: Re: Agenda, action items and suggested WOFF changes

On Fri, May 14, 2010 at 11:48 AM, Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com>
wrote:
> Friday, May 14, 2010 9:11 AM Vladimir Levantovsky
<Vladimir.Levantovsky@MonotypeImaging.com>:
>
> VL> I do believe it makes perfect sense for tools producing WOFF files to
check the embedding permissions and issue a warning (as you suggested in one
of your previous emails [1]) if "restricted embedding" is the only level
specified.
> VL> I think it would be a benefit to a web author if a tool issues a
warning when this condition is encountered.
>
> I agree with you! I think it's absolutely nuts that a tool maker would
need to steer clear of a feature that authors might very much want because
the tool maker is concerned about legally compromising themselves in the
event of a dispute.
>
> But that's the situation that exists today and I'll give you an instance
in regards to font conversion:
>
> In the two most commonly used online conversion tools I'm aware of, Font
Squirrel's @Font-Face Generator and Cufón, the user is required to attest
that they have the right to do the font conversions by checking a box next
to the statement:
>
>     "Yes, the fonts I'm uploading are legally eligible for web embedding"
>
> Now, you probably think this is a good thing.
> I don't.
> Because that statement is, essentially, an admission that the tool *can*
be used for fonts that are *not* eligible for web embedding.

It doesn't matter whether that is admitted, because it is obvious and
the folks making the tools know that the tools could be used in such a
way. If they claim otherwise, they are either lying or severely
deluded about copyright law.

Additionally, anybody participating in or reading this thread has
obviously been made aware that there are infringing applications of
WOFF conversion tools.

> If some irate font producer(s) were to decide that the majority of people
using that online tool are a bunch of lying pirates and they were to take
such a site to task for contributory infringement or inducement to infringe,
a good part of their lawyer's work has already been done for them by the
site itself. The site has already admitted that it will allow anybody, with
only the simple click of a checkbox, to convert fonts whether they are
"legally eligible" or not. And I'm sure it would be argued it's inducement
to infringe because a paltry checkbox is all the enforcement there is.
> No, it's better to have nothing.

On pretty much exactly this issue, I've had legal advice in the past,
which has been pretty much the exact opposite of what you are
suggesting above. Have you actually consulted a lawyer on this, who
has advised what you say above?

Further, neither of us are lawyers, and we aren't in the business of
giving legal advice, and nobody should take it from us. That being
said, I have indeed read all 59 pages of the LimeWire judgment (whew!)
and I for one don't see anything in it that would make me think that
an application putting in a warning dialog puts the application at
increased risk. It does seem clear that if an application development
team does that, but still markets the application for infringing
purposes, they could get in trouble.

Cheers,

T

-- 
"I've discovered the worst place to wander while arguing on a
hands-free headset." — http://xkcd.com/736/
Received on Monday, 17 May 2010 01:05:12 UTC

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