Re: New work on fonts at W3C

I agree with Adam's assertion that fonts are more broadly reusable  
than many/most other web assets. The idea of a more generic "asset  
wrapper" is interesting, but I don't know that it's necessary or even  
appropriate at this time.

To those who demand the foundries trust their customers:

First, it's about more than trusting our customers. If we allow  
customers to post fonts on a server, free and clear, we must then  
trust everyone on the web. I'm sure nobody here thinks that everyone  
on the web is trustworthy (i.e. doesn't steal). Foundries need some  
simple barriers ("fences" is a good figure of speech) to convey what  
is free and what is not. For many foundries, their sole source of  
revenue is fonts. Some users are asking them to allow anyone to post  
their product on a server where anyone can take and use them. That is  
simply not realistic for most foundries.

Second, it seems counterproductive to exhort a foundry to trust its  
customers while simultaneously fomenting distrust of foundries. Like  
any business, foundries will have to find a business model that  
strikes the right balance between customer satisfaction and  
sustainable revenue. It all depends on what the market will bear, but  
license fees, proportional to the rights and benefits one receives,  
are part of the font business. It would be better to approach that  
discussion with trust and understanding, because in the end, the  
foundry-user relationship is reciprocal. Foundries certainly do know  
that what they charge and the license agreements they impose are  
factors in customers' choices, but likewise, users still must  
acknowledge and honor those agreements when they license a font. We  
try to understand what our customers want and need, and hope that our  
customers understand the same of foundries.

To summarize, and reiterate what others have said: Foundries are  
looking for basic font protection on the web, something which  
minimizes inadvertent and brazen font copying and misuse. It need not  
be oppressive. We have to consider more than just our customers, we  
have to worry about everyone on the web who will have access to font  
files, whatever format that might be. It seems like a satisfactory  
solution is within reach. I'd ask all the skeptical font users out  
there to consider that what font foundries need really is fairly  
simple -- and Ascender's proposal is a good illustration of that.


* * * *
Christopher Slye
Team Lead, Typographic Staff
Type Development
Adobe Systems, Inc.
San Jose, California

Received on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 20:51:55 UTC