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RE: Agenda, action items and suggested WOFF changes

From: Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com>
Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 12:52:14 -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: <004a01caf5e1$4e0a1210$ea1e3630$@com>
Monday, May 17, 2010 3:14 AM <tphinney@ca.berkeley.edu>:

>Fascinating. I guess we have gotten opposite advice, then.

Seems so. But if you look at the huge variations in EULA agreements for
fonts and even those for the various font hosting and obfuscation services -
all written by lawyers trying to employ the IP laws in the interest of their
clients - what's the fascination? I just come away mystified with my eyes
glazed over.

One thing that did come up in discussions that helped to serve as a guide
was the question: what do full-featured font editors do? Does Fontlab or
FontCreator or FontForge pop-up a mini-tutorial on licensing obligations
when the user changes the embedding bits? We checked all three, and no they
don't. (I don't know if the Adobe AFDKO has any functions for manipulating
the embedding bits and if it does, what happens.)
That's the way these three tools handle it, and I've never heard anybody
suggest they do it differently.

>I think having no language at all about embedding bits is a viable
>option, and better than most of the other options being proposed.

I'm glad to hear this. (I think.)

>Specifically, it is at least possible that OpenType could add an
>fsType bit that purports to dictate whether a WOFF creation tool
>should process a font. In that eventuality, it would be seriously
>messed up for the WOFF spec to be saying they are not allowed to pay
>attention to such a bit.

So, is the concern that such language would prevent a second bite at that
apple in the OpenType spec? 
While I realize the need for the W3C to coordinate its activities with a
body such as ISO, I really don't know how "open" that process really is. Is
the ISO charter and its level of transparency similar to the W3C?
Particularly, in the case of OpenType, wasn't the spec the product of just a
few self-interested corporations?
(Hey, I haven't thoroughly investigated. But if we're going to equate the
two in this respect, it's a legitimate issue. If they differ, who trumps
who?)

Bottom line: what you seem to be saying is that the way WOFF was represented
last year - as a "garden fence" of protection against installation in the
operating system - may not be the end of the story because, down the road,
ISO might make changes with potential legal significance that may contradict
what is agreed upon here. 
Further, based on some of the statements I've read on this list, it seems
like some of the members feel they can order up whatever it is they need to
appear in the OT spec to fit circumstances as they might arise in this
context. Fascinating.
Waiter? One "spec du jour", to go, please.
It gets curiouser and curiouser. In light of this, I no longer know what to
think.

Regards,

Rich

-----Original Message-----
From: thomas.phinney@gmail.com [mailto:thomas.phinney@gmail.com] On Behalf
Of Thomas Phinney
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 3:14 AM
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 Sun, May 16, 2010 at 6:04 PM, Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com> wrote:
> 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!

Fascinating. I guess we have gotten opposite advice, then.

>>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:

Sure, it was. But I don't see how anything in that case makes you
think "zero" is better than "some"... especially when things like the
very existence of this thread makes it clear that folks are aware
there is an issue.

>>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?

I think having no language at all about embedding bits is a viable
option, and better than most of the other options being proposed.

> 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 think that's a lot more problematic than nothing.

Specifically, it is at least possible that OpenType could add an
fsType bit that purports to dictate whether a WOFF creation tool
should process a font. In that eventuality, it would be seriously
messed up for the WOFF spec to be saying they are not allowed to pay
attention to such a bit.

That's very different from a statement that none of the existing
embedding bits apply to WOFF.

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 18:39:23 UTC

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