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Old 04-29-2006, 06:06 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Microsoft vs Frutiger brouhaha

What are we to think about all this?

Two articles by Brian Livingston summarize a font rights issue that has been simmering for awhile:

Is Microsoft’s Vista font just a copy? (April 18, 2006)

Designer says Vista font is original (April 25, 2006)

   
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Old 05-01-2006, 04:45 AM   #2
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What is a copy and what is an original in type? Remember English Times and Helios from the old Compugraphic faces ... clones of Times Roman and Helvetica. And then you get faces like Garamond. What does Garamond look like? There are six or eight different versions, and some are wildly different. Sure, some common characteristics, but to a novice ITC Garamond and Adobe Garamond are going to look more like different faces than most other pairs of serif fonts.

I think this is a non-issue. If MS wants to clone the entire Adobe library, and do so in a way that is not illegal (not stealing outlines, I think is the main legal rule), then they should do so.
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Old 05-01-2006, 06:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc
What is a copy and what is an original in type? Remember English Times and Helios from the old Compugraphic faces ... clones of Times Roman and Helvetica.
Yep, and as soon as they could, Compugraphic licensed the faces they had copied and offered the “real fonts” to their customers.

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Originally Posted by donmcc
And then you get faces like Garamond. What does Garamond look like? There are six or eight different versions, and some are wildly different. Sure, some common characteristics, but to a novice ITC Garamond and Adobe Garamond are going to look more like different faces than most other pairs of serif fonts.
Adobe and ITC Garamond are different faces. The early “Garamond” revivals were actually based upon a baroque (i.e., 17th century) model by Jean Jannon. Then in 1926, Beatrice Warde wrote of her discovery of a genuine Garamond (16th-century, renaissance) specimen, and a few later “Garamonds” actually were: Stempel, Simoncini, Adobe, as well as Sabon and, some say, Granjon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc
I think this is a non-issue. If MS wants to clone the entire Adobe library, and do so in a way that is not illegal (not stealing outlines, I think is the main legal rule), then they should do so.
I see. Why, then would Adobe — or any other type producer — continue to design and release new faces, only to see Microsoft reproduce them and give them away, without compensation?

   
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:24 AM   #4
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KT:

only to see Microsoft reproduce them

The font in question, the one very like Frutiger, is owned by Monotype, and allegedly designed independently.

   
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ktinkel
I see. Why, then would Adobe — or any other type producer — continue to design and release new faces, only to see Microsoft reproduce them and give them away, without compensation?
Well, didn't Image Club, or Corel, or someone pretty much try this?

I'm not promoting piracy. But I think that fonts are not copyrightable, and with a few exceptions patentable. The code that creates them is. So if one goes into Fontshop and creates a font based on another, that is legal. Correct me if I am wrong.

I would hate to see fonts become protected in some way so a court decides what is sufficiently different for a new font and what is not. In a worst case, you will see some company copyrighting the serif, and determining that any font that uses a serif must pay it royalties. A ridiculous case, but there have been other ridiculous cases go before the courts in the past.

What level of protection do you feel is required for fonts? I look at quality as one of the best ones ... it certainly worked against the ImageClub and Corel collections.
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Old 05-01-2006, 08:01 AM   #6
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Don:

I would hate to see fonts become protected in some way so a court decides what is sufficiently different for a new font and what is not

That appears to be the sentiment in the USA, and reflects US copyright law; does it also apply in Canada? Typefaces are their designers' copyright in the UK, and in most of Europe (with some reservations in some countries about 'artistic originality'). Where the courts come in is deciding whether Font B is infringing the copyright in Font A.

Incidentally, whoever designed a 'serif' may have had the copyright, or would have, if copyright existed then, but it would have long expired; if he had registed 'serif' as a trade mark, it could have remained registered in perpuity if anyone was willing to pay the fees.

   
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