Re: [css3-webfonts] Downloaded fonts should not...

> Fonts have embedding bits as part of the 'os2' table. 
> This is documented in the OpenType font specification and 
> called out clearly in the EOT submission. This is well 
> documented for many years and understood by the font industry.

After poking around and reading through the specifics of font EULA agreements, I don't think the edit/print/preview embedding flags in OpenType really reflect the wide set of situations possible with downloadable fonts on the web.  For example, a EULA agreement might allow intranet use but ban use on a public server.  It might allow use by a non-profit but ban use with a commercial site.  

Or the EULA might disallow a particular use in general which the font designer permits on a case-by-case basis.  For an example of this, look at the Typophile home page (  The site typically features a particular font and passes it down to the browser embedded in a Flash file.  Yet if you look at the actual EULA agreement for some of these fonts you'll often find a "no embedding" clause, meaning the embedding bits of the font are probably set to reflect that.  The site owners of Typophile have received explicit permission to use these fonts on their site, something the embedding bits couldn't capture.

Looking over font license agreements, a lot of them seem incredibly complicated and obtuse, I think there's a general need for font license agreements to detail more explicitly what can and can't be done with a particular font.  Can the font be embedded in a Flash file for general use?  Can the font be used as a downloadable font on a public server?  On an internal server?  Can the glyphs be used and distributed via a vector format like SVG?  Try and answer these questions given a EULA like Monotype's single-user EULA agreement:  

This is really a larger issue for the font design community to discuss and not something that should have a direct bearing on the mechanics of downloadable fonts.  

>> If user agents honor the font embedding bits and web authors make 
>> sure they have the right licensing to embed fonts on their pages 
>> we should have a good solution. 
> This was discussed a while ago and it turned out Silverlight allows 
> direct usage of TTF fonts placed naked on Web servers, without checking
> the embedding bits. 

Flash also appears to ignore the embedding bits when embedding fonts in a Flash file.  I would guess that Flash font embedding via SIFR techniques is probably more prevalent than EOT usage today.


Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 05:15:51 UTC