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Re: [ft] Free Fonts

From: Dave Crossland
Subject: Re: [ft] Free Fonts
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 21:04:40 +0100

2009/6/2 Werner LEMBERG <address@hidden>:
>>> [...] in Germany those fonts are called `Brotschriften' (which
>>> somehow translates to `fonts for daily use').
>> Okay, good to have that confirmed by a German (I assume you are?)
> I'll send you my second for this insult.  I'm Austrian :-)

Haha sorry - I'll surely buy you a beer when we eventually meet :-)

>> I assert that the general case is that all designs published in this
>> catalogue are protected as artistic works (ie basically forever) and
>> there are some exceptions such as the USA, France, Germany and
>> Switzerland, where they are not.
> Hmm.  I can't believe that for a very simple reason: If you use an
> artistic work, you have to pay copyright fees.  But noone is paying
> fees for using a font in a book!

The UK law has made making copies in the process of printing, _when
the copies are licensed_, a specific exemption from normal copyright
restrictions - see - so if a
font vendor tried to do this, people would be within their rights to
disobey this part of the agreement, I think.

And this kind of exception would be why permission to use a font on
unlimited size print runs is just a de facto common place thing now,
and I think if a vendor did try it, the market would reject it as too
restrictive even if it was enforceable.

I've never seen such a license, but I don't license proprietary fonts
though, so I've asked if anyone on Typophile knows of any vendors
trying this at :-)

> In other words, font shapes in
> general are not covered at all by normal copyright.  You need
> something special -- the Vienna agreement or similar laws -- to get
> some protection.

I think it is important not to spread that idea, because if someone
scans and redigitised that 1982 catalogue and the fonts wind up in
GNU/Linux distributions and Monotype sues them, that would not be

I think "font shapes in general are covered by normal artistic
copyright, some countries have exceptions to this" is more accurate.


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