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Re: [ft] Free Fonts

From: Dave Crossland
Subject: Re: [ft] Free Fonts
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 19:37:58 +0100

2009/6/2 Dave Crossland <address@hidden>:
> 2009/6/2 Werner LEMBERG <address@hidden>:

>>> Now, as for the type designs themselves not being subject to
>>> copyright, well, I am certainly unsure about that.  My reading of
>>> the UK law is that they are subject to the normal copyright of all
>>> artistic drawings.
>> No.  There is the “Vienna Agreement for the Protection of Type Faces
>> and their International Deposit” (in the German Wikipedia, the article
>> `Rechtsschutz von Schriftzeichen'[1] is even considered a `good
>> article' -- very interesting to read) which gives a protection of a
>> maximum of 25 years, NOT 70 years!.  However, only Germany and France
>> have signed it.
> I read a machine translation of the article. It sounds like Germany is
> like the USA in that the copyright office has decided that typeface
> designs will not be recognized as artistic works there, since they
> have a utility function, and therefore are subject to patents in the
> USA and to "Vienna depositions" or whatever we call them in Germany.
> The effect is the same.
> The article also correctly notes that EU Design Rights have spread
> this kind of registration across the EU, for up to 25 years, and for 3
> years automatically without registration - but these are can not be
> backdated, and the Microsoft case about Segoe has shown that you
> cannot register a new design that is very similar to one already
> existing from any country - Segoe is close to Frutiger which is Swiss
> and the article says Switzerland, like the USA and Germany, has
> disallowed type designs from artistic copyrights.

(Sorry, I forgot the final point:

So, we have these design patents (14 years, USA, for over 100 years),
vienna rights (25 years, France and Germany, from 1973) and design
rights (25 years, EU, from 2002) that restrict type designs in
countries that have disallowed them from artistic copyright

But most countries have not made such disallowances, such as the UK.


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