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

Re: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 13:29:59 +0300
Message-ID: <4A3F5D27.2080407@peda.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
Adam Twardoch wrote:
> This may sound trivial, but the only situation when font users and font
> vendors "get in touch" is pretty much at the point of sale. So the only
> viable way for a new contract to come into life is whenever a purchase
> is being made.

As Brad Kemper already said, font users and font vendors never "got in
touch". There was never a real contract. Only an End User License
Agreement (legal status of which is highly questionable under various
countries laws).

> Theoretically, a font vendor such as Monotype could offer a pure
> "license extension" upgrade price. I wish they did, although I *can* see
> a certain problem with it as well. Fonts don't have serial numbers
> (unlike most software applications), are sold through many distributors,
> sometimes individually per download, sometimes on a CD-ROM or in other
> ways. No single feasible way exist for the vendor to verify if the user
> is eligible for an upgrade, and in many cases the cost of verification
> of that would be really high.

So you're basically saying that Monotype does not know who it has
licensed fonts to. However, in the same time Monotype (and other font
foundries) are shouting on the roof tops that fonts are pirated all over
the place. How can they know? The cannot even know if those fonts have
been legally licensed. (They may truthfully say that there are more
users than licensees.)

How can this fixed with EOT or any other new font format?

It seems clearer every day that the problem is in the licensing, not in
the technology.

Also note that because Gecko (Mozilla Firefox) and WebKit (Apple Safari,
Google Chrome) are licensed under GPL those rendering engines cannot
implement a patent encumbered font format. And if a license is granted
for Gecko and WebKit, such license is automatically applicable to any
derivative work (licensed under GPL) of Gecko or WebKit, especially a
piece of software which only purpose is to download any EOT wrapped font
file and install it as a system font. Also note that neither Gecko or
WebKit can relicense under more restrictive license as is because they
have merged code copyrighted by third parties under the same license.

In other words, there cannot be any technological protection (against
copying, a.k.a. DRM) that can be implemented by both Gecko and WebKit
which couldn't be easily circumvented because the licensing of both
Gecko and WebKit allow derivative works without restrictions.

Also, the requirement for wrapping the font file is *only* because of
commercial font foundries. A method of sharing the raw font file must be
allowed because free fonts can (and should) be installed in every system
to be used for any purpose. Requiring a custom font format would make it
harder to distribute free font files (because the font distributor would
need to distribute both raw font file to be installed and wrapped format


Received on Monday, 22 June 2009 10:30:41 UTC

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