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Old 08-23-2006, 02:52 PM   #1
marlene
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Default Font licensing issues

Someone's saying she used to work for a company that would buy fonts (presumably multi-user licensed) and give them to their freelancers to use.

I'm saying it's illegal. I've checked a few foundry websites, and they clearly indicate that that multi-user licenses are for use by the company's employees at the company location (although some foundries will allow employees to install the fonts on home computers if they work at home).

But none indicate (at least not that I could see) that they allow companies to distribute the fonts to people who are not actually company employees.

Anyone know of a foundry who DOES allow companies to give multi-user licensed fonts to freelancers (presumbly to use ONLY on jobs for that company)?

Next question ... what's the deal about embedding fonts in PDFs (for client proofing and/or to send to press)? I'm looking at the fine print in some of the license agreements, and find the embedding restrictions confusing. Some foundries seem to indicate that I cannot embed their fonts in a PDF. Am I misinterpreting this? I can't imagine how I could possibly get anything done if I couldn't send out PDFs with fonts embedded.

mxh
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene View Post
Someone's saying she used to work for a company that would buy fonts (presumably multi-user licensed) and give them to their freelancers to use.

I'm saying it's illegal.

Anyone know of a foundry who DOES allow companies to give multi-user licensed fonts to freelancers (presumbly to use ONLY on jobs for that company)?
Although I believe the practice is common, I don’t think any mainstream license permits it. On the other hand, some foundries will customize a license, especially for a large organization.

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Next question ... what's the deal about embedding fonts in PDFs (for client proofing and/or to send to press)? … Some foundries seem to indicate that I cannot embed their fonts in a PDF. Am I misinterpreting this?
Some foundries do not permit PDF embedding. They expect the printer to buy the fonts used. Not sure how common this strict a license may be, though.

Some foundries — like former forum member David Vereschagin’s (at Quadrat Communications) — explicitly authorize designers to loan fonts to printers and output people for use with the job. This may be because he is a designer and understands how the business works.

There was a big discussion of font EULAs on Typophile a few months ago. You might like to read it as it covers the various forms these “agreements” take.

   
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:45 PM   #3
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... some foundries will customize a license, especially for a large organization ...
I guess it's possible that this person's former employer had such a license, but I doubt it.

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Some foundries do not permit PDF embedding. They expect the printer to buy the fonts used. Not sure how common this strict a license may be, though.
The fonts I was initially planning to buy had the PDF embedding restriction. I called the foundry (Hoefler) and was told I could buy an embedding license for ... wait for it ... $2,445 per year. Yes, per year.

I had a nice long chat with Harold Baldus at Phil's Fonts today about font licensing, among other fonty topics (PDF options, Postscript files, OpenType). He said that some other foundries do have the embedding restriction, but not many. BTW, he really knows fonts -- he identified my mystery font (Whitney) just minutes after John Nolan did.

Thanks for the Typophile link. I can never see the acronym EULA without thinking of The Long Hot Summer. <g>

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Old 08-25-2006, 07:09 AM   #4
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Marlene:

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The fonts I was initially planning to buy had the PDF embedding restriction
How can any restriction on use be enforced if it's not in the font permissions present in every OTF & TTF file? In a old Type 1 PS font files, there is no information about permissions or restrictions, so any font distributed as Type 1 PS files, no restriction is enforceable.

   
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:54 PM   #5
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I don't know, but I would rather not try!

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Old 09-18-2006, 10:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by marlene View Post
I guess it's possible that this person's former employer had such a license, but I doubt it.



The fonts I was initially planning to buy had the PDF embedding restriction. I called the foundry (Hoefler) and was told I could buy an embedding license for ... wait for it ... $2,445 per year. Yes, per year.

mxh
Sorry I'm coming late to this discussion. I met Jonathon Hoefler once, and spoke to him on the phone several times in a previous job, and he seemed like a reasonable guy, who understood printers and designers. I'm really surprised at this restriction (and the price!).

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Old 09-18-2006, 01:46 PM   #7
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Eric:

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I'm really surprised at this restriction (and the price!)
I'm not surprised at the restriction, but I'm surprised at the cost of an embedding 'licence', since many font producers have embedding licences for $50. But with an embedding licence, you presumably get the same font as without one, so the font file must have at least the setting, 'Previewing & printing allowed': so what is restricting anybody, for that is what the newer versions of Adobe Acrobat are looking for? If one has dozens of fonts (not to speak of hundreds or thousands), how is one supposed to remember that some come with 'Previewing & printing allowed' (and mean it), but a few come with the same 'permission', but have the proviso, 'But only if you've paid for a licence!'

   
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Old 09-19-2006, 11:33 PM   #8
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I met Jonathon Hoefler once, and spoke to him on the phone several times in a previous job, and he seemed like a reasonable guy, who understood printers and designers. I'm really surprised at this restriction (and the price!).
Well, it was a shocker to me. There was absolutely no possibility that I (or my client) could pay that much (every year!) to use the fonts.

And I can't conduct business without being able to send PDFs to my clients as proofs. I'm not going back to the bad old days of faxing everything or sending laser proofs by courier or FedEx!

The restriction was somewhat of a surprise, but the cost was the deal-breaker. If the price were reasonable ...

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Old 08-23-2006, 03:55 PM   #9
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Marlene:

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give them to their freelancers to use
Seeing that it's difficult to establish who is working freelance for a company (under a 'contract for services') and who is employed by the company (under a 'service contract'), it's possibly not strictly legal to make font files available to the freelances, but it would be difficult to detect.

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what's the deal about embedding fonts in PDFs
Most font makers nowadays stick to the four font embedding permissions established (I think) by Linotype and taken up as standard by Adobe et al. The lowest permission that allows any embedding is 'preview & printing', and that includes printing from a PDF file. If the font file says 'No embedding allowed', then embedding in a PDF file is not allowed.

Font makers with any sense don't label their fonts 'No embedding allowed' if they offer their fonts to the public, but fonts made for a particular customer are quite reasonably exclusive (otherwise, why would the customer spend all that money on its fonts?).

   
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:56 PM   #10
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Font makers with any sense don't label their fonts 'No embedding allowed' if they offer their fonts to the public ...
Well, I was certainly surprised about the restriction. I'm sure I'll never buy any fonts from them.

mxh
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