New End User Licence Agreement For FontFonts

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News, Type Tips | Yves Peters | September 7, 2009

Back in April, FontShop International introduced a new End User Licence Agreement, permitting embedding of FontFonts in any non-editable document, application, and even device* – be it for “commercial” or “non-commercial” use –, as long as the font is embedded as a subset in a secure format, so that only viewing and printing but not editing is possible. This End User Licence Agreement – commonly abbreviated as EULA – that accompanies every single professional digital typeface is often overlooked by users. Yet it is a very important document, as it specifies what you can and can’t do with the fonts you purchased; it defines what we could consider a set of rules. For example, you can’t simply pass on the fonts to someone else, or modify them and then distribute the modified fonts as your own. This is because you don’t actually own the fonts you purchased, but simply acquired a licence to use them. Just as with any other artistic work the intellectual property rights remain with the type designer and the foundry. In the case of some foundries End User Licence Agreements are quite restrictive, while others allow a lot more. And it sometimes happens that a foundry adapts its EULA to conform to changing habits and changing times. New elements have to be taken into account, like type in portable documents and on websites for example.

While at first sight the changes in the new FontFont EULA aren’t so many in quantity, they sure are high on quality. When purchasing FontFonts the user acquires more rights than previously, and by doing so FontFont abandons a number of former special licences or licence extensions that originally had to be paid for in addition to the basic licence. This more generous EULA gently eases FontFont into the 21st century, as it possibly is the first of the big foundries to take into account a number of new applications and allow specific types of usage in its standard licence. Basically now you can do more with FontFonts than with fonts from many other foundries.

The most relevant change is that FontFont now allows embedding in any non-editable document, application, and even device* – be it for “commercial” or “non-commercial” use –, as long as the font is embedded as a subset in a secure format, so that only viewing and printing but not editing is possible. This is especially attractive for corporate users, because companies don’t need additional licences for (non-editable) embedding using their already licensed corporate typeface. As the “serious” FontFonts – many of them super families – are very popular in corporate design this is of course a huge improvement, and saves users a lot of money on licence extensions.

(*) such as PDFs, Flash, sIFR, Microsoft Office 2007 documents (each with their appropriate security settings), computer games, software, hardware, mobile phones, air plane entertainment systems, electronic wayfinding systems, ATMs, game consoles, and so on; as long as the text is non-editable and the fonts are embedded as a subset in a secure format.

The key elements in the EULA are the terms “secure format” and “subset”. They are very well explained in this PDF. As you will read below in § 2.2 the EULA requires a secure format for permitted non-editable embedding. This means that the font file itself and/or the document, application, or device containing the embedded font file must be encrypted. For example the current “epub” format as well as “raw” OT/TT font linking in websites is not permitted. Of course features of currently known formats may change and new formats may be introduced, so it cannot be guaranteed that a specific format will comply to the current EULA requirements. In any case, the user must make sure that the embedded font file is not installed on the target system and is not usable by any other applications.

A subset means a reduced character set. A font file consists of outline descriptions and references to the outline descriptions. Such a complete font file must not be given to any unauthorised party. For secure embedding of subsets, the removal of the references to the outline descriptions is not sufficient. Secure embedding of subsets requires the removal of the actual outline descriptions. Embedding of complete character sets in a secure format that allows editing of documents requires an Editable Embedding Licence. For distribution of font software in an unencrypted, non-secure format a Non-Affiliate or OEM Licence must be purchased.

Explaining the EULA

Let me tell you a little anecdote. When I did the Big Fleishmann Bake-Off for my Bald Condensed column on Typographer.org, I received review copies of some of the Fleishmann interpretations I wanted to compare – Matthew Carter’s Fenway, Christian Schwartz’s Farnham, and Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ Mercury. When I noticed halfway in the licence document accompanying Mercury that it was for a retail version, not a review licence, I asked for a correct licence document. Jonathan was quite surprised that I had actually gone through the complete text. While it seems evident to me that one always checks the EULA to see what is and isn’t allowed with the fonts one just purchased, apparently it isn’t that common.

So maybe this is a good occasion to guide you through a EULA – in this case the FontFont one – and annotate it. As I am notoriously rubbish with legalese, this should be a good test for myself as well. If you have any questions or suspect I misinterpreted something, please feel free to comment below.

End User Licence Agreement for FontFont Typefaces
This end user Licence Agreement (hereinafter “Agreement”) is a legal agreement between you, or, if you represent a legal entity, that legal entity (hereinafter “you”) and FSI FontShop International GmbH (hereinafter “FSI”), and is applicable to the Font Software that is accompanied by this Agreement or that you have ordered online.

This is a typical opening paragraph for any legal document, specifying who the concerned parties are. It is important to note that it makes no difference if you license the fonts for yourself or in the name of your company – the same rules apply.

By downloading the Font Software or opening the package, you agree to be bound by the terms of this Agreement. If you do not agree to the terms of this Agreement, do not download, install, or use the Font Software. If you have purchased a Licence to use the Font Software in a sealed retail package and do not agree to the terms of this Agreement, return it unopened to the place of purchase.

Just like you can’t return an unsealed CD or DVD, you can’t do this with a font package neither. The problem with online purchases is that once you’ve downloaded the fonts there is no way the foundry can determine if you decompressed the zip file and started using them or not. This means the process of downloading already is the equivalent of unsealing of the fonts. The online customisable line sample, display and text specimens, character set overview, and so on allow you to thoroughly review the fonts before the actual purchase and download.

1. Definitions
“Font Software” means coded software that generates typeface designs when used with the appropriate hard- and software plus any and all other data including documentation provided with such software.

“Licensed Unit” means an installation of the Font Software that allows up to five (5) concurrent users to use it at a single geographic location. A single geographic location is in particular the site of your place of business. The geographic restriction does not apply to portable computers if they are owned by you.

Although there are exceptions, most foundries license their fonts for up to five concurrent users. This means you pay for one licence and get four for free, not that you can get cute and ask for a single licence at one fifth of the retail price, silly. All those users must be in the same office or building or whatever physical location, so your colleague in Timbuktu – or the next town or even just down the street – has to purchase a separate licence.

2. Grant of License
2.1. Number of users. FSI grants you a non-exclusive licence to use the Font Software in a Licensed Unit for your own personal or business purposes according to the terms of this Agreement. If the number of users who use the Font Software exceeds those set forth in the definition of Licensed Unit above, then you must request from FSI or its authorized Distributors an appropriate licence covering all users. An additional fee will be charged for this licence extension.

If you have a small design agency with three designers but a total staff of twelve, a basic licence suffices for fonts used for design work, but licences for the corporate fonts used in the design agency’s correspondence and such need to be extended to multi-user licences. Basic math. And the “non-exclusive” bit means that you shouldn’t be surprised if other people use the same typefaces. If you want to avoid having someone else wearing the same dress at the ball, have one custom designed for you personally. The same applies to typefaces.

2.2. Embedding. You may embed the Font Software in documents, applications or devices either as a rasterized representation of the Font Software (e. g., a GIF or JPEG) or as a subset of the Font Software as long as the document, application or device is distributed in a secure format that permits only the viewing and printing but not the editing of the text. You need an additional licence from FSI or its Distributors (i) for the use of the Font Software in documents, applications or devices permitting editing of the text, if such documents, applications or devices shall be distributed to third parties or (ii) if the Font Software is embedded neither as a subset nor as a rasterized representation.

Rejoice – this is the aforementioned paragraph that grants you a lot more rights than previous EULAs and most other foundries.

2.3. Back-up. You may make back-up copies of the Font Software for archival purposes only, provided that you retain exclusive custody and control over such copies.

The purpose of a back-up is to have a safety copy in case anything goes wrong with your original font files, not to “lend” it to friends or acquaintances, or leave it lying in the back of a taxi. And don’t think you’ll make yourself popular by handing out fonts you licensed. Trust me, you’ll just be perceived as silly and unprofessional, passing on stuff for free that you paid for, plus it’s not even yours to distribute.

2.4. Service bureaus. You may take a digitized copy of the Font Software used in a particular document to a commercial printer or service bureau for outputting this particular document (this document must not be edited by the printer or service bureau). In the event of any modifications to the document or use of the Font Software for other purposes, the printer or service bureau must purchase its own Font Software licences.

This is an older improvement, from way back. When I started out (in the pre-PDF days) the printer or service bureau had to own a licence for the fonts used in your designs to output your films. Nowadays the EULA permits you to include the fonts with your output files. Of course as soon as the printer or service bureau actually uses the fonts to modify your files or in their own work they have to get a licence of their own.

2.5. Copying. Except as granted in 2.2. to 2.4., you may not copy the Font Software or allow third parties to copy the Font Software. Any copy of the Font Software must contain the same copyright, trademark, and other proprietary information as the originals.

Again, you can’t distribute what you don’t own. Keep your font licences to yourself; just like you would your other software licences, your computer, your books, and so on. They are an integral part of your business capital allowing you to earn a living, so treat them accordingly and with the utmost care.

2.6. Modifications. Except as granted in 2.2., you may not modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, alter, or attempt to discover the source code of the Font Software. If you want to make modifications to the Font Software, you must obtain the prior written consent of FSI.

What you can do of course is convert the type to outlines and customise it for your own work, for example when designing a logo or custom headline. However you can’t create customised versions of the fonts and redistribute them, not even for internal use. As the intellectual property remains with the type designer you need to ask permission for that, just like with any other artistic work. Personally I’d be very cross if a client changed anything about a logo I designed without telling me anything.

3. Ownership
The Font Software, and all copies thereof, is protected by the United States Copyright Law, by the copyright and design laws of other nations, and by international treaties. Any copyright, trademark and other rights belong exclusively to FSI, except as expressly provided in 2.1. You do not gain the ownership of the Font Software under this Agreement. The structure, organization, and the code of the Font Software are trade secrets of FSI, and you agree to treat them as such.

Basically just making sure you know you don’t own the fonts, and stating that they are protected. It may seem repetitive, but that’s how legal documents work.

4. Transfer of License
Except as expressly provided herein, you may not give, rent or lease the Font Software or parts of it to third parties. You may transfer all your rights to use the Font Software and Documentation to another person or legal entity provided that (i) the transferee accepts and agrees in writing (with copy to FSI) to be bound by all the terms and conditions of this Agreement, and (ii) you destroy all copies of the Font Software and Documentation, including all copies stored in the memory of a hardware device. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, you agree that you will not distribute or disseminate all or any part of the Font Software through any online service.

The transfer of font licences may seem a bizarre concept, but it is applicable when selling your business, or in case of bankruptcy, or if you acquire another business. Of course this only makes sense if the person or company you transfer the licences to agrees with the EULA and informs FSI of this in writing, and if you completely stop using the fonts. If you don’t there is no transfer but distribution, and this is expressly forbidden.

5. Warranties
FSI warrants to you that the Font Software will perform substantially in accordance with the Documentation for the ninety (90) day period following your receipt of the Font Software. To make a warranty claim, you must return the Font Software to the location from which you obtained it along with a copy of your sales receipt within such ninety (90) day period. If the Font Software does not perform substantially in accordance with the Documentation, the entire and exclusive liability and remedy shall be limited to either, at FSI’s option, the replacement of the Font Software or the refund of the licence fee you paid for the Font Software. FSI and its suppliers do not and cannot warrant the performance or results you may obtain by using the Font Software or Documentation. The foregoing states the sole and exclusive remedies for FSI’s or its suppliers’ breach of warranty. Except for the foregoing limited warranty, FSI and its suppliers make no warranties express or implied, as to non-infringement of third party rights, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. In no event will FSI or its suppliers be liable to you for any consequential, incidental or special damages, including any lost profits or lost savings, even if a FSI representative has been advised of the possibility of such damages, or for any claim by any third party. This warranty does not affect any claims you might have against your retailer.

This section simply states that you shouldn’t wait three years before returning defective fonts, but do that within a reasonable three months. If they truly are defective you will receive replacement fonts or a refund, but no compensation for work that you couldn’t carry out, which is the customary warranty for most products by the way. It also points out that you should make an informed purchase, making sure the fonts are compatible with both the operating system and the software you are going to use them with. It is your responsibility to determine whether you can use OpenType versions, or if you still need PostScript or TrueType fonts. In case of doubt, ask FontShop, they will help you.

6. Governing Law
This Agreement will be governed by the laws of Germany. This agreement will not be governed by the United Nations Convention of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, the application of which is expressly excluded. If any part of this agreement is found void and unenforceable, it will not affect the validity of the balance of the Agreement, which shall remain valid and enforceable according to its terms. You agree that the Font Software will not be shipped, transferred or exported into any country or used in any manner prohibited by the United States Export Administration Act or any other applicable export laws, restrictions or regulations. This Agreement may only be modified in writing signed by an authorized officer of FSI.

Now this is through and through legal stuff. I don’t really know what to add, but if you have any questions about this paragraph please ask them in the comment section below.

7. Termination
FSI has the right to terminate your licence immediately if you fail to comply with any term of this Agreement. Upon termination, you must destroy the original and any copies of the Font Software and Documentation.

Remember you don’t own the fonts. If you don’t behave, it seems pretty logical that you can’t use them anymore.

8. General provisions
You agree to inform all users who have access to the Font Software about the content of this Agreement and to make sure that they comply with the terms of this Agreement.

Or just point them to the EULA document and have them read it themselves. You have done the (small) effort, so can they, the lazy bastichs.

FSI FontShop International GmbH, Bergmannstr. 102, 10961 Berlin, Germany

You have problems with or questions about any of the above, these are the folks to contact. Figures.

So, I hope this clears up a couple of things and encourages you to take more than just a cursory glance at the End User Licence Agreement next time you purchase digital type. Because if you love type designers and foundries, they will love you back and create new and exciting designs for you to use and earn a living with. Believe me, two-way relationships are the best (says the guy with a wonderful wife and three adorable kids).
Header image: FF Unit Pro & FF Unit Slab Pro

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30 Comments:

  1. Not to antagonize, but wot of web embedding?

    sIFR is a hassle to implement and embedded OT/TT fonts violates the EULA. Stop ignoring the elephant and address workable solutions like Cufon directly. If the obstacles are sub-setting and secure formats, then here is a reasoned answer.

    1. Sub-setting is permitted in Cufon (albeit opt-in by user).
    2. Security is relative.*

    * It’s been suggested that a Cufon generated Font.js file could be mined to recreate the original font. True. But has anybody bothered to do it? You’d need software to reverse-engineer shapes to fonts and more software to scrape for Cufon-made fonts on the web. Why would they bother?

    Those with a devious intent aren’t ripping Cufon files, they’re asking for illegal, unlicensed OT/TT copies outright at their email address. Be a witness:

    http://www.fonts101.com/forums.asp?tt=forumreply&TopicID=1418&ForumID=1

    It’s disheartening that they manage such giddy politeness through their contempt of legality. Anyone with reading here or upholding professional aspirations wouldn’t engage in this activity.

    This is licensing woes. This is format insecurity. Paying designers and studios unsure if EULAs are web-embedding compatible is not the issue. Eventually we’ll stop being punished for it.

    End rant. Ready for debate.

    Posted by Brendan Falkowski on Sep. 7, 2009
  2. Yves, this is FANTASTIC news no matter how you slice it. Thanks for the extensive legal breakdown, too.

    I know there have already been a few conversations with persons at FontFont/FontShop (at least some I have been involved in) regarding embedding and web technologies, but are you able to publicly comment on embedding technologies — specifically Cufon and Typekit — and how those comply or not with this new EULA? Or is that something that needs to be done on a case-by-case basis?

    Posted by Cameron Moll on Sep. 7, 2009
  3. Brendan & Cameron — Thanks for your questions! I’ll let Ivo Gabrowitsch of FSI answer them more specifically, but believe me, we are quite aware of that elephant in the room Brendan mentions, and we’ll announce our plans for him very soon.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Sep. 7, 2009
  4. Cufón is not allowed due to the EULA’s item 2.6: “Modifications. Except as granted in 2.2., you may not modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, disas semble, alter, or attempt to discover the source code of the Font Software.” Using Cufón you have to convert the font into a different format [.js]. In addition our obstacle is in fact security. Even though security is relative, as Brendan asserts, FontFont considers it insecure for Brendan’s written reasons. Although our EULA is probably the most progressive one among the bigger foundries, we have to draw the line at some point. Cufón/Typeface.js is this point. Raw font embedding is even further away from this point.

    We are still discussing legal ways of serving FontFonts to web designers. Right now, we can’t offer a better way than the one Yves mentioned in his brilliant article, but we are pretty sure that the days of web design with system fonts alone are almost gone.

    Posted by Ivo on Sep. 7, 2009
  5. Fonts licensed previous to this are bound by the old EULA. Any word on how to upgrade to this new EULA for previous purchases?

    Posted by Brook Elgie on Sep. 8, 2009
  6. I know FF EULA is liberal in regard of embedding, and I can see why you say Cufón isn’t allowed — but I think license says the opposite.

    Cufón is just like sIFR or PDF: The source code of Font Software is modified and then saved and distributed in a secure format. Of course this is not allowed as you cite item 2.6. in the case for Cufón, but there is a line except as granted in 2.2., which covers embedding.

    You may say Cufón is insecure, but it’s file specification is not publicly avaliable like for SWF or PDF.

    Also, something else: Cufón and sIFR are used in interaction, unlike PDF. Users on Typophile, for example, can make a new thread, which headline is then displayed in ebmedded typeface. Is this editing? Or is it “only viewing and printing”, which is only allowed [in embedded files]? What if headline is then changed by the moderator?

    Posted by miha on Sep. 8, 2009
  7. Thank you Brook and miha for your questions.

    Fonts licensed previous to this are bound by the old EULA. Any word on how to upgrade to this new EULA for previous purchases?

    The new EULA is also valid for old customers!
    [Unless you are anxious to buy a new licence. ;]

    Cufón is just like sIFR or PDF: The source code of Font Software is modified and then saved and distributed in a secure format. Of course this is not allowed as you cite item 2.6. in the case for Cufón, but there is a line except as granted in 2.2., which covers embedding.

    Cufón is not just like sIFR or PDF. These are the differences:
    a) The .js file contains all necessary information to rebuild the font. -> That’s why it is not secure.
    b) You don’t have permission to send your font to the Cufón website to convert it -> Cufón has no licence.
    c) Cufón is not about embedding, but linking of font data.

    Also, something else: Cufón and sIFR are used in inter action, unlike PDF. Users on Typophile, for example, can make a new thread, which headline is then displayed in ebmedded typeface. Is this editing? Or is it “only viewing and printing”, which is only allowed [in embedded files]? What if headline is then changed by the moderator?

    That’s exactly what ‘editing of documents’ means. This requires an Editable Embedding Licence. If the headline is changed by the licensee [in the case of Typophile: Punchcut] it’s permitted, if by third parties [in the case of Typophile: the users], it’s not permitted with only the standard licence.

    Posted by Ivo on Sep. 8, 2009
  8. Yves, Stephen, Ivo,

    Based on the discussion in the comments, I’m unclear as to how this new EULA is an improvement over the old one, other than the fact that “legally” we’re able to now use FF typefaces in technologies such as PDF and sIFR, whereas before everyone was already doing that but technically it was “illegal”.

    Without allowing font embedding and other technologies such as Cufon in this new EULA, is it really anything new?

    Posted by Cameron Moll on Sep. 8, 2009
  9. Cameron,

    With this new EULA FontFonts can now be embedded — without an extra license — in: PDFs, Flash, sIFR, Microsoft Office 2007 docs (each with their appro­priate security settings), computer games, software, hardware, mobile phones, airplane enter­tainment systems, electronic wayfinding systems, ATMs, game consoles, anywhere the fonts are secure and non-editable. This is a very big step for corporate and application environments.

    I know your focus is on web use. We’ll have more news on that very soon.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Sep. 8, 2009
  10. I don’t see any difference between Cufon font files embedded in HTML documents and font files embedded in PDF or Flash documents when it comes to security.

    Actually, I can see a difference: I do have software on my computer that can extract fonts from PDF or Flash files and save them as OpenType fonts fully automatically, while I don’t yet have such software for Cufon.

    I would appreciate more explanation as for on which basis you consider technologies such as Cufon more secure than PDF or Flash?

    Posted by Adam Twardoch on Sep. 8, 2009
  11. I do have software on my computer that can extract fonts from PDF or Flash files and save them as OpenType fonts fully automat­i­cally, while I don’t yet have such software for Cufon.

    As a side note — if the font has been subset I suppose what you get is an OpenType font with an incomplete character set? And what of the spacing and kerning?

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 8, 2009
  12. Ps. Of course I mean “on which basis you consider technologies such as Cufon LESS secure than PDF or Flash”?

    I agree that complete character sets, spacing and kerning are important issues. So plain linking of original desktop fonts through @font-face is certainly problematic. A subsetted EOT or even approaches such as the one employed by TypeKit (subsetting, splitting the font into several separate fonts, and embedding them directly into the CSS stream rather than exposing them as downloadable files) are a bit more “secure”. So is Cufon, which converts the font into a completely different format. Similarly, Flash (be it in its entirety or incorporated through sIFR) and PDF may take care of subsetting.

    All of the “embeddable” font formats: OTF/TTF, EOT, Cufon, Flash/sIFR and PDF) transport original glyph metrics. Some of them include kerning as well — PDF is pretty much the only one that does not.

    I think the problem with this topic is that it’s not quite “either or”, it’s more like “more less”.

    I’m actually quite inclined towards approaches such as Cufon because they’re open-ended in terms of “security”. I mean, if the font is drawn using an actual programming languages (JavaScript), at least potentially there are lots of mechanisms by which one can link the font with the content or with a certain location on the web. To me, Cufon is more like a proof of concept, but it has great potential. But even in its current form, it’s not less secure that PDF or Flash, and certainly more secure than @font-face use of TTF/OTF or EOT.

    Posted by Adam Twardoch on Sep. 8, 2009
  13. Oh, but I did also mean to say: an overall excellent article, and great kudos to you Yves for going over the single clauses and explaining them in plain language. That’s very useful and actually helps people to realize and understand what this whole EULA stuff is all about.

    Posted by Adam Twardoch on Sep. 8, 2009
  14. Cameron, take it from me, we do understand the web designer’s needs. As Stephen already mentioned, we are discussing the best ways of serving FontFonts to web designers. But it’s infeasible to simply grant raw fonts, Cufón or something similar with just the basic licence, even though it seems the easiest way. An EULA needs to be consistent. If you grant this, then you have to grant that as well. So we have to act carefully.

    Posted by Ivo on Sep. 8, 2009
  15. Thanks for the clarification, and more importantly, the battling this in the trenches with the rest of us.

    Posted by Cameron Moll on Sep. 8, 2009
  16. I know you know, and I know that you know that I know you know — to paraphrase “Kill Bill”. ;) I like the direction you’re going towards, and I’m looking forward to your solutions that will serve the web needs. I’m just pointing out that it’s not “either or”.

    Extracting a fully-functional font out of a .docx document where it has been embedded by Word 2007 is even more trivial than from a Flash or PDF file. And certainly much more trivial than rebuilding it from a Cufon JavaScript file.

    So depending on one’s technical knowledge, the definition of “secure” in this context can be interpreted in very different ways.

    Posted by Adam Twardoch on Sep. 8, 2009
  17. @ Ivo & Stephen

    Thanks for clarifying the EULA with respect to Cufon, and keeping web use on the table. I totally agree with points B & C, but A doesn’t sit as easily with me.

    a) The .js file contains all necessary information to rebuild the font. -> That’s why it is not secure.
    b) You don’t have permission to send your font to the Cufón website to convert it -> Cufón has no licence.
    c) Cufón is not about embedding, but linking of font data.

    Cufón does support subsetting by glyph set and alphabet. The files can restricted to specific domains for security too (again opt-in). We know this already.

    I honestly don’t know how Cufón manages kerning with SVG or VML paths. Is the data robust enough to decode a clean OT font? Maybe but maybe not. The same applies to letterform shapes. Reducing the points per EM might be suitable for web use but concurrently render reverse-engineered Cufón files useless for print.

    As Cameron was hinting, the EULA and technical applications are one thing but real world usage is another. If sIFR became fair game just recently, what was the consequence of illegal usage for the last several years? There were plenty of high-profile uses but I don’t recall a single sIFR legal battle marring its name.

    Of course, security and licensing are necessary to protect the type designer’s IP – no argument there. But pragmatically, thieved versions aren’t extracted from PDF, sIFR, Cufón, or @font-face declarations. They’re being traded via their original OT/TT format in bulk.

    Jumping back to Point B, foundries could provide pre-subset versions of fonts as Cufón.js files to designers holding a valid license. If the .webfont proposal is implemented, then foundries would be offering an alternate file type for licensing anyway so it isn’t too farfetched. I realize endorsing a stop-gap tech like Cufón is an unlikely step for them to take, but it would avert that issue.

    Regarding the license language
    Is a purely textual EULA a legal constraint? I wager the language has already been simplified many times, but wouldn’t an old-fashioned matrix help visualize the usage rights across mediums and different license types.

    The “editing” concept needs deeper clarification for how it specifically applies to the web. The framework is so different than PDF, print, or compiled software, but I’m glad the challenge is being addressed.

    I’m not angling for an admission that Cufón is workable or sIFR is insecure. I think we have the same goal: getting better type in front of more eyes. However that happens, may it be.

    Posted by Brendan Falkowski on Sep. 8, 2009
  18. Oh, but I did also mean to say: an overall excellent article, and great kudos to you Yves for going over the single clauses and explaining them in plain language.

    Thank you. I must admit I originally did this as an exercise for myself when writing up the post on the new FontFont EULA, but then I thought it may be of some use to someone. I hope many users not so familiar with EULAs take the time to read through it. This is a rather text-heavy post after all.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 9, 2009
  19. Is a purely textual EULA a legal constraint? I wager the language has already been simplified many times, but wouldn’t an old-​fashioned matrix help visualize the usage rights across mediums and different license types.

    I think translating the EULA to a matrix sounds like a very interesting concept. Even if it were not legally binding one could add it to the original textual EULA, to help clarify some of the more complicated parts. Me, I am already happy that NONE OF THE PARAGRAPHS IS SET IN ALL CAPS. ;) I’ll ask Tiffany Wardle who has done admirable work towards a more reader-friendly EULA if anyone else has come up with this idea, and if any work has already been done.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 9, 2009
  20. BTW FontFont produced a PDF clearly explaining “secure format” and “subset”. I have added it in the main text, but in case you don’t want to go searching for it here it is:
    FontFont EULA: Non-Editable Embedding Permitted.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 9, 2009
  21. I’m glad that you agree with points B and C.

    So depending on one’s technical knowledge, the definition of “secure” in this context can be interpreted in very different ways.

    You’re absolutely right, Adam, the definition of “secure” is difficult and can be interpreted in different ways very often. That’s also why such an EULA improvement is that difficult. To be as precisely as possible, why we say Cufón is less secure than sIFR, I have to double-check this with our technical staff first, since this is a very technical [if not a philosophical ;] question. Especially since I know that you know that … ;)

    But pragmatically, thieved versions aren’t extracted from PDF, sIFR, Cufón, or @font-​face declarations. They’re being traded via their original OT/TT format in bulk.

    That’s simply not true. We often find thieved versions that are extracted from documents. But we find raw font files more often, that’s true.

    Posted by Ivo on Sep. 9, 2009
  22. We often find thieved versions that are extracted from documents.

    Those versions hurt the type designers and foundries in more ways than one. As the spacing and kerning often is shot to hell, what you get is an inferior product – the spacing and kerning is crucial in turning a collection of nice character shapes into a properly functioning font. Users coming across these “broken” versions then get the wrong impression that the fonts by type designer X or foundry Y are rubbish.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 9, 2009
  23. They’re being traded via their original OT/TT format in bulk.

    I really don’t understand those morons that swap large quantities of illegally copied fonts. First of all, you’ll never catch them using the term “typefaces” for their warez, which is quite telling. They claim to love fonts, but their behaviour proves they couldn’t care less about typography and just have this pathologic obsession for collecting stuff illegally. I guess that must be the only thrill in their pathetic little lives. What they do is similar to overcropping, as they erode the health of the type industry by denying type designers and foundries their rightful income. I think many see themselves as some kind of Robin Hoods, but they’re too thick to realise they are not stealing from Megacorp, but from modest outfits and one-man operations. And whenever you try to educate them they are very quick to brand you as “font nazis”. Go figure…

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 9, 2009
  24. Sorry if my two last comments sound bitter, but I have too many talented friends out there trying to make a living doing something they love, and then get stolen from by those thieving bastichs.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Sep. 9, 2009
  25. @ Yves

    Indeed. Everyone knows that CAPITAL LETTERS DEMAND OBEDIENCE more than lower case. Thanks for posting the PDF detailing non-editable embedding permissions – the deeper explanation makes it seem clearer (or perhaps the whitespace does).

    The misrepresentation of type designers through poor copies being circulated is a problem I forgot about. One more wrench for the engine. I’m sure the bad versions are noticeably so, but that makes me curious about Cufón. Could trained eyes distinguish between the original font and its Cufón.js copy without examining the source?

    I’m with you on “font loving” hoarders, but how will their DeviantArt profile stand out if they don’t have a library of 6,000 typefaces to back up their super-saturated HDRs and fractals? Nobody will think they’re cool :)

    The worst is when clients are confronted with the idea of licenses and paying for fonts. You get the blank stare followed by “I found it free on Google.” Education on the operations of the creative industry is down across the board.

    Posted by Brendan Falkowski on Sep. 9, 2009
  26. Wow thanks guys for using such plain language for the EULA. If only every foundry unpacked legalese to this depth.

    Just on encrypted PDFs: I typeset a journal that is also released electronically and I run into problems when I try and lock up the PDF — specifically, third parties struggle when uploading the PDF to servers. I actually stopped doing this because someone mentioned that the font file is already locked up (flagged non-editable) and users need a local version of the font to edit the PDF anyway. Is this correct or does the whole PDF need to be encrypted?

    Posted by Nick Gross on Sep. 15, 2009
  27. Is this correct or does the whole PDF need to be encrypted?

    It’s correct: Formats with encryption/protection of the whole document are allowed as the fonts are protected within the document. Just remember to subset the fonts.

    Posted by Ivo on Sep. 16, 2009
  28. The ePub format for electronic books comes from the IDPF, which also issued an informational document titled “Font Embedding for Open Container Format Files.”

    Because it doesn’t explicitly discuss DRM or encryption techniques but instead an intermediate method of protection, the document is known as the “font mangling specification.”

    From your discussion here, it seems clear that the ePub font-mangling resembles Cufón in its philosophy rather than Microsoft’s or Adobe’s weak-encryption.

    The font-mangling document states that the method described is “a method of obfuscation that will require additional work on the part of the final OCF recipient to gain general access to any included fonts.”

    It goes on to explain why obsfucation is worth the effort: “It is the hope of the IDPF that this will meet the requirements of most font vendors. However, no claim is made in this document or by the IDPF that this constitutes encryption, nor does it guarantee that the font file will be secure from copyright infringement. The proposed mechanism will simply provide a stumbling block for those who are unaware of the license details of the supplied font. It will not prevent a determined user from gaining full access to the font.”

    The question as I see it revolves around who it is that font vendors want to pay them — the designers or the reading audience.

    With IDPF embedding, publisher A can release book B with font F so all the human readers H of book B can benefit from the ways book design contributes to understanding and enjoyment.

    The font obsfucation prevents those human readers from then reading books B2, B3 and B4 in font F.

    It doesn’t prevent designers-with-low-ethics D from extracting the font and using it however they want.

    Since foundries make their money now by selling to designers, I understand why your EULA puts ePub outside the pale — it’s protection against D-category designers.

    I agree, however, with those who point out that “secure” is a relative term and that anyone with the sophistication to reverse-engineer a font from a Cufón or ePub representation would find Word, PDF and Flash files as easy to manipulate.

    If the EULA’s distinction is intended to protect foundries against free-loading designers, I don’t think it offers any such thing.

    It does, however, restrict the faces from being seen by the end reader.

    Perhaps foundries hope to find new revenue by licensing their fonts to individual owners of e-reading devices. Or to the manufacturers of those devices. I wouldn’t expect either to be a fount of income though.

    Since the ePub font-mangling prevents human readers from applying a font to other books in their library, perhaps FontShop ought to put its efforts into selling screen-suitable-only fonts to publishers that would be inexpensive to license and offer no threat to their designers-of-print market. It can only benefit foundries to have people aware that type isn’t restricted to a few dozen “web-safe” fonts and they’ll learn this instantly with the first ePubs they read that escape the over-used basics.

    Roger Sperberg
    firstinitial lastname at gmail

    Posted by Roger Sperberg on Sep. 19, 2009
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