W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > June 2009

Re: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 10:09:21 -0700
Cc: www-style@w3.org, Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Message-Id: <701B6696-C231-4F21-89FC-B74D7EF58534@gmail.com>
To: Adam Twardoch <list.adam@twardoch.com>

On Jun 16, 2009, at 7:07 AM, Adam Twardoch wrote:

> What the commercial font vendors want is not really a technical  
> measure
> to completely prevent others to obtain the font file and re-use it (in
> other web contexts or in different media). In most cases, they do not
> want an impenetrable wall. Much rather do they want some simple way to
> put a fence around their property and put a label on it that says "no
> tresspassing".

It would seem that that they also want to re-charge us for the same  
fonts we already paid for once (like the movie industry practice that  
most of us not in the movie industry despises), or to have us pay  
extra based on how widely we use them. Fonts used in print or PDF do  
not have this last restriction. I can spend a couple hundred dollars  
on a font and then use it to print millions of copies of hundreds of  
different print and video pieces, or to render into images or PDF for  
use on the Web. This is where foundries feel there is still some money  
left on the table that they want to take. Indeed, in the new Monotype  
license press release that you linked to, there is this:

 > Fonts that were licensed prior to the availability of the new EULA  
will need to be repurchased, if EOT rights are desired.

Why, except to squeeze more money out of Web publishers? Earlier in  
the document, it says that this license comes with no extra cost, but  
it sounds more as though the truth is that the cost has just been  
folded into the price that everyone must pay for a Monotype font.

People who actually do pay for multiple copies of the same font would  
do so even if the font was in a "raw" format. Those who would not  
would simply convert it, or not use it at all.

The organization I work for bought a couple hundred copies of the same  
two fonts, so that everyone in our organization could use it on our  
many documents that use the font as part of our corporate ID system.  
Clearly if we are that concerned about copyright then we would not  
post the font on our site unless it was clear that the license allowed  
us to. But we would probably post something that was closer to the  
look of our font (even if not exactly the same face) that what ships  
with the OS, if its license allowed us to. Thus, the wrapper format  
doesn't matter as much as a clear license allowing us to do so, and a  
font that was closer in typographic characteristics to what we want to  
use than what we could achieve otherwise. So we will probably consider  
paying the Monotype tax to reach people on IE with our corporate  
fonts, if we can find a reasonable libre font for the other 30-40%. Or  
we may just choose the libre version to use globally, and get more  
consistent results across a wider swath of viewers.

On Jun 16, 2009, at 9:54 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> If today's font foundries aren't willing to trust their customers,  
> they
> will be replaced by companies that are.

Yes, I agree with that. I also feel that if there was a way to clearly  
state that a particular font could or could not be published on the  
Web for the purpose of "embedding" in an HTML (or other) document, and  
that the Web author is not responsible for policing unauthorized  
linking, that would be helpful, even if the license included  
restrictions on the site(s) it could be used on. But if the software  
implementor or Web site author has to police the license, then it is  
much more of a non-starter.

Received on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 17:10:01 UTC

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