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Just checked with the IT department of my biggest client, a worldwide TV broadcaster, and unfortunately LHF fonts cannot be allowed on their network as the protection scheme installation is considered an application, and they do not allow new applications on their worldwide network without many, many months of testing, etc.. So much for my big purchase/site license of LHF fonts. Meanwhile, I have done a survey of 11 designer friends who all work closely with type. I had them visit the LHF site and also read these threads. Every one of them was adament that the protection scheme was a definite deal breaker. It wasn't even close. I can't see how this is going to work for Chuck. I'd rather see LHF charge A LOT more for their fonts to try and make the business more profitable. Unfortunately, I believe this protection scheme will kill the business sooner or later. What a pity! Please Chuck, come up with something else!
>Just checked with the IT department of my biggest client, a worldwide TV broadcaster,
But, did you contact Chuck directly? I have never negotiated with a font vendor or designer who was not willing to be flexible when the price was right.
Actually, I did contact Chuck—although at the time I did not propose a special exception for my situation—and he was kind enough to send me a lengthy, articulate and thoughtful email explaining his reasoning. I have always enjoyed fantastic service from LHF. I did not want to offend him by asking for special dispensation or trying to throw money at him and asking him to bend the rules. Anyway, if Chuck was willing to forego the protection scheme by increasing the price of his fonts, he probably would've had that as a policy. Even if he did go for the bait, having such a two-tier policy would not only be unfair, but would be a tacit admission that the protection scheme is so bad, customers would be willing to pay extra to avoid it. Sigh.
If I need specific rights I ask for those specific rights. The vendor can give me a price or say, sorry not at any price. Sorry, but maybe it's a cultural thing, but I don't consider this haggling or sordid in any way, it's just business, and as other commentators have said, it's not as if you can't go and find fonts elsewhere.
A simple example is that most vendors make P&P embedding fonts, and I only license 'editable' embedding fonts. The fact that I ask for those rights, and am willing to pay for the extra value that functionality gives my customers does not mean that the vendors are wrong to set their fonts to P&P embedding.
Hmmm. OpenType. Very.
Interesting discussion. While sitting on the fence, I'd like to address two points:
1. Chuck's peace of mind will evaporate as soon as a single crack team fixes the installer, making it redistributable. Then what?
2. The story about an expensive font library being copied. If an amateur can produce the same results with your tools, wtf is your workmanship worth?
Before we offer suggestions such as increasing prices to offset any losses incurred by piracy, the following would have to be true:
1. Piracy = fewer sales
2. Letterhead Fonts cares more about the bottom line than preventing piracy
I believe neither is true.
I await Chuck's answer to my question from earlier today, but I doubt that sales decreased substantially as a result of the increased piracy. And I don't think that matters much to him anyway. It sounds like preventing piracy is a very high priority for him, even if his methods hurt his bottom line. I don't personally agree with that point of view, but if it's true it would trivialize most of the discussion here.
Sergej - this happened in the early 90s -- when typesetters were becoming dinosaurs.
I can remember going to Poppe Tyson (an advertising agency in NY) one morning -- they framed their very first job. I looked at it and screamed, "Who the F set this?"
I was asked by the art director, "Why?"
I looked it over and responded, "If I sent you a job that looked this bad, I'd have a call at 9:01 a.m. letting me know I was replaceable. There is no kerning, no proper rag, no true punctuation!"
The art director responded, "It doesn't matter, I'm proud of it, it was the first job I set myself and the client has 'ok'd' it."
To me that was the end of typography. For others that day, it was the New York Times printing a full page ad with very large inch marks for quote marks... same day, same fate.
So Sergej, I don't know how old you are, or where you were when the amateurs took over - and the customers decided - ah, this is cheaper and we can live with it.
Our shop was excellent. Photoshop, according to Cosmos, ran an ad on my behalf - "Often imitated, never duplicated..." when I spent money on an altergraph and a graphflex and was able to do many of the special effects that they were known for -- and well.
I guess you haven't run into the kid that spent $2200 bucks and thinks he/she can do it all themselves... and what's worse - professionalism has been placed 6-feet under.
And a flash bulletin - there are no typesetters left. Even Boros has given it up. The only reason I was able to survive was by becoming a graphic arts studio... and I was fortunate to work with so many wonderful art directors in New York - greatest apprenticeship program ever!!!
and P.S. I never said he could do it as well - only that he advertised to my customers he could...
It amazes me that designers, people who sell their intellectual property to make a living, would jump all over a company that wants to protect its business by protecting its product. Maybe Letterhead's method isn't foolproof (from the designer standpoint, it sounds like it has some major issues), but I commend them for taking the first step.
The real solution here is that Adobe/Microsoft/Apple need to get together and extend the OpenType scheme to have some sort of native DRM so that designers can protect their work from criminals that justify stealing with "I didn't decrease their sales, so its ok." and other pathetic excuses for their inherent lack of morals.
It's saddening to see this in the creative community.
"It amazes me that designers, people who sell their intellectual property to make a living, would jump all over a company that wants to protect its business by protecting its product."
No one is against a company fighting piracy. A lot of people ARE against a company that ties its own paying customers into absurd hoop jumping clauses that only frustrate.
"The real solution here is that Adobe/Microsoft/Apple need to get together and extend the OpenType scheme to have some sort of native DRM"
DRM does nothing to stop real piracy. If someone can come up with a DRM scheme, someone sitting in a cubicle in China can crack it. It's just a silly cat and mouse game and the paying consumer gets stuck with dealing with all the crap it entails.
Are there exceptions? Certainly. iTunes succeeds in spite of its DRM. Granted, a big part of that is because their DRM is a lot less restrictive than other music DRM options right now.
"and other pathetic excuses for their inherent lack of morals."
Unfortunately, neither laws nor technology can do much to change personal morals.
Some examples, btw, in the past month:
- Windows Vista DRM has been cracked to get around the authentication scheme
- HD DVD DRM has been cracked so you can now copy HD DVDs
Now these are DRM schemes brought to market by huge industry heavyweights with ungodly amounts of money and resources. But, easily cracked. They always are.
"But Letterhead Fonts has the right to protect it’s fonts."
Of course it does. I'm still a little confused about how you're going about it...
You have not mentioned any problems that are not correctable by forceful legal action assuming copyright and trademark registration.
Whether you are opposed to the use of legal force, or a simply trying to stop font "collectors", the temporary protection (via an installer), puts a permanent stop to casual borrowers who become licensees when your IP hits their publication's legal fan, at which point they are normally in immediate need of a license.
This is close to 1/4 of our business, so I'm wondering at the marketing, sales and support model that makes this work, and while hoping it works for you, we can't follow and continue our policy of forceful legal action, the very threat of which, usually accomplishes our goals.
And another question... Couldn't someone with FontLab simply open an LHF font and regenerate it so as to strip off the encrypted or embedded user info? If so, I'm kind of wondering what's the point. The "smart" pirates are going to be smart enough to do so, meaning only the dumb ones get caught. But the end result is the knowledgeable pirates still pirate the fonts and get them circulated around without much trouble or being traced. No?
what's the actual security mechanism? i'm assuming you are emailed a licence key number when you make a purchase, and this must be typed into the installer before it will download the fonts?
I don't see how a small company could muster the forces to persue legal action—even threats—again and again and again. Sounds very expensive and time-consuming to me. How do you do it?
That's one of the points malbright - most companies cannot afford to go after small time thieves...
I was always "comforted" by -- the person who steals wouldn't have been one to buy the service anyway.... I know, not comforting, but also, not a loss of a sale.
Exactly, heron2001. I was responding to dberlow's post above. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the fact that most of those doing the stealing would never be customers anyway.
Geez - this site is so polarized sometimes.
Letterhead has every right to do what they want and you have every right ro respond accordingly.
Is there more to the story than that?
>a small company could muster the forces to persue legal action—even threats
If I understand David Berlow's posting rightly, normally lawyers don't need to be involved, once the 'nastygram' has been written. I think at TypeCon he said that they send a letter something like this: "Congratulations, you are now our valued customer. Our bill of ... for our fonts that you are now using is attached. The penalty for using our fonts without purchase, otherwise known as piracy is..." and then follows the nasty stuff.
A catch here is that publications such as magazines and newspapers are FontBureau's primary customers, whereas Letterhead Font's customers are, I gather, to a large extent sign makers. Publications I would think are a lot easier to monitor than signs. On the other hand, sign makers are a much smaller universe than signs, so maybe there is another way...
I have ten distributors, none of whom give me more than an email address in the way of purchaser information, so it's practically impossible to know, when I see a type of mine being used, whether it's legit.
My marketing strategy has always been "I am the brand", putting a face to the face, so to speak, so I rely on the inclination of users not to pirate original work by an identifiable person (as was earlier noted in the thread).
On a positive note, I've found that a great many font users, in businesses of all sizes, are extremely diligent about their software licences, and that includes fonts. So the results of the survey here are no doubt quite genuine, and heartening. And those respondents who say they ignore the EULA are not admitting to piracy.
So the results of the survey here are no doubt quite genuine, and heartening. And those respondents who say they ignore the EULA are not admitting to piracy.
There is a difference between piracy and violating the EULA, which is a breach of contract (to the extent that the EULA is binding).
By the way, (and this is off topic), suppose I buy computers with pre-installed fonts from a company that no longer exists -- suppose they went bankrupt or the owner retired to Costa Rica. Would one say that I can do whatever I want with the fonts since I am not bound by the contract? In other words, do the rights of the designer stem exclusively from the EULA?
Please close your CITE tag - thanks!
Edit: Thank you!
There is a difference between piracy and violating the EULA
That was my point. If you can't be bothered to read the EULA, that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be pirating software to friends and acquaintances.
Admitting that I am sometimes (usually) too busy to read every last word of a EULA before checking "I agree" doesn't translate to disseminating the font to everyone I know. I'm aware of font piracy, try not to do it, but wish EULAs were simpler and a bit more user-friendly for the independent designer.
I wonder why there's no fuss when I loan a book to a friend. The author doesn't get the royalty, but you never hear authors or publishers trying to stand in the way of passing books around. In fact you can buy used books at Amazon. Why is it so different with fonts and music?
>but you never hear authors or publishers trying to stand in the way of passing books around.
I think they have complained in the past, especially when the second hand book trade started to move online, and finding second hand copy of the title became much easier.
However, the difference is of course that in passing the font or music file around, more often than not a "backup copy" is retained by the original purchaser. That's not really sharing, its more like duplication.
You have a point.
But once I've read a book I'm usually done with it, whereas I reuse fonts and music all the time.
I guess my point is that business models are changing - witness what's happening to the music industry with iTunes - and while there was an initial fuss now they're trying to accept the new reality and figure out ways to still make money. I think if it were a bit easier with fonts it would be less tempting to just pass a font on to a printer with a job. Everybody would win. Letterhead is trying to address this in their own way, but they will no doubt lose customers. There should be a better way for designers and foundries to make their profits and not punish the customer. And accept that there will always be people who circumvent the rules, you can't go after everybody.
Why is it so different with fonts and music?
Actually, some EULAs allow resale of the licence, if the seller trashes her own copy of the font file--so that would be like reselling a book.
European copyright law has recently changed, to allow artists "commission" on works when purchasers resell them. Don't see that working with books though.
Reselling is different than sharing! Whether it's fonts, music, or books.
I wonder why there’s no fuss when I loan a book to a friend. The author doesn’t get the royalty, but you never hear authors or publishers trying to stand in the way of passing books around. In fact you can buy used books at Amazon. Why is it so different with fonts and music?
Here in the USA, first sale doctrine was established in law ages ago and this keeps book and music publishers from getting royalties on resale. This is not the case in some countries—in Japan, for example, resale of video games is illegal (although it still happens). With software the publishers have the option of requiring acceptance of a license before use, so they can effectively block resale of the product. I expect that we'll see the details of all this set in precedent soon, because video game companies are taking big hits from restailers who purchase new games in limited quantities and then rely on used game sales to boost margins. At some point there's going to be a game company that decides this is violating a EULA, and the lawsuits will start flying.
Whether it’s fonts, music, or books
But for fish and loaves, Jesus is still the Man :-)
But I reiterate, reselling (and thus making money off someone else's work) is different than sharing. Are both considered piracy?
And here's something else: I have three computers in my home/office. But I am one person, as opposed to three people, each with one computer in an office. Should I really have to pay for a license for three computers? That seems unfair, and this is what I mean by EULAs being at times unnecessarily restrictive.
>I have three computers in my home/office. But I am one person, as opposed to three people, each with one computer in an office.
Most fonts are licensed per device, not per person, and most font licenses cover five devices (at one location). Tiff and others have argued for a laptop clause to get around the lcoation issue.
As for the other software on those machines, did you pay three times for the operating system? How about the apps, once or three times? Do you feel apps and OS's should be paid per machine or per person?
I think per user. No I did not buy three licenses of each software. I can't bloody well afford that. CS2 I know gives you two machines per license (altho I haven't bought it yet). Actually one machine still runs OS 9 so it doesn't use the same software/version anyway.
My OS came with the iMac. My neighbor bought a multi-user Tiger installer and gave me one of them for my laptop.
It would seem as if it's easier to "stay legal" with fonts than with other types of software.
Do you mean from a cost standpoint, Si?
I have two machines, my regular OSX iMac and a little old Compaq laptop that runs (please don't laugh) Win95 and that I use for portable note-taking needs. I don't even get the possibility of being able to buy once and use twice....
But I reiterate, reselling (and thus making money off someone else’s work) is different than sharing. Are both considered piracy?
Sharing in what sense? For example, it could be said that you and your neighbor are sharing an OS X multi-user license pack, or that the employees of a print shop are sharing all of the font licenses installed on a prepress machine, both uses are probably legitimate. But if you mean sharing in the sense of filesharing, that's piracy unless you've been given permission to do so.
It's still expensive, especially when you're in business for yourself and have low-budget clients.
I know I'm boxing myself into a hole here, but I feel like the restrictiveness of a lot of EULAs makes it hard for the little guy to stay honest. And by the same token I care more about an independent foundry getting its deserved dollars than Linotype or Adobe.
>Do you mean from a cost standpoint, Si?
No, from the 5 device standpoint,
It certainly doesn't favour folks like Patty and me who run independent businesses; by the time we upgrade the apps and the OS, nevermind the hardware end of things, there ain't much left over, even when one considers that sort of thing being a legit business expense.
I know I’m boxing myself into a hole here, but I feel like the restrictiveness of a lot of EULAs makes it hard for the little guy to stay honest. And by the same token I care more about an independent foundry getting its deserved dollars than Linotype or Adobe.
It seems to me that the little guy has a better chance of staying honest than a corporation. For a freelancer, or a small shop, keep track of licenses is easy. Maybe you don't have customers with bottomless bank accounts, but you're in a better position to just get a font purchased than someone who has to deal with a corporate beauracracy. Sure it might cost you a client now and then, but that's the price one has to pay for integrity.
Regardless of the pros and cons and all the debate in-between, the bottom line for many of us is that we can no longer use one of our favorite foundries, and that's a real shame.
Here's what I think would be a better approach than unworkable, proprietary protection schemes. Put a face on the company. Let people know the man they're buying from. Let customers know that every purchase makes a BIG difference. Have new customers sign and fax a pledge that they will not make unauthorized copies. Let people know that you are counting on them, trusting them to help you keep the business going. Let them see the face of the person they'd be stealing from. Personalize the experience. It won't stop piracy. Nothing will. But it'll discourage.
Maybe too Chuck should have a policy whereby if you want an "unlocked" font, instead of $29 you pay, say, $99 or more ... a premium price.
To show you the futility of Chuck's technology, let me share this true story. A few months ago I was at The Magic Castle in Hollywood and I noticed a lovely flyer typeset in LHF's Boston Truckstyle. I complimented the designer, and he said, "Yeah, we had no budget for type, so I just traced the letters from the site." (Abbreviated the story, but that's the gist of it.) Mind you, we're talking a $29 font here, if memory serves. So one way or the other, people who dont want to pay, won't.
Chuck's technology will seriously injure or kill his business, you wait and see. It is absolutely non-customer centric. Maybe Chuck doesn't care. Maybe Chuck somehow believes this will actually stop thieves from stealing. Maybe Chuck hates piracy so much that he's willing to take a big hit in sales. Maybe Chuck is so pissed-off that he is no longer willing to work with those of us who are his biggest supporters and fans. If so, I wouldn't blame him at all.
Bummer for me, though. I've designed a 600-page book and was planning to use many of Chuck's fonts throughout.
Well, there's still his terrific client galleries to enjoy. And when the day comes that Chuck finally realizes what a bad idea this was, I'll be the first in line to pony up my cash. Hopefully it'll be before this damn book needs to get produced.
My, my, my...what an interesting, yet difficult to follow thread. We is quite the opinionated bunch, ain't we? I have a few points I wanted to address.
1. EULA, SCHMULA...we read 'em when we have to. But no busy person or firm is going to sit down and read every one of them if they make many font purchases from many different foundries.
2. There's a lot to be learned from Heron's Quark story, as it seems Adobe has learned from Quark's "piracy paranoia" and makes their software (and EULA) less restrictive. Witness Quark's ever shrinking market share.
Sii (and everyone as a whole), something I think a lot of people who work for large companies don't realize, is how faceless companies can be perceived by consumers. This does not go just for the big 'uns— the small ones too. We visit a webpage, we make a purchase. Who are we talking to exactly when we're buying fonts? There's no follow-up call with purchases, just an icon that appears on our desktop and e-mailed invoice. Not very personal, no evidence of a human being involved in the process. Phoning the company is plausible to us because many of us here on Typophile actually know someone (or are that someone) who works in the type industry.
As the sole "graphic designer" for the company I work for, I have to play the role of both the Font Congress and the Font Police. Purchasing fonts is a cold business transaction. The type industry as a whole has a serious PR problem to creative types in general and very few people in the industry seem to be willing to address this.
To Chuck directly:
3. Piggybacking my last statement— Malbright's more positive points are right on the money I think. I would pick up the 12 Immutable Laws of Branding if you haven't read it already. You'll learn a lot from that book. Your brand is important, put a face with it.
4. A spin on this discussion— fine tune the installation software and then patent it. If you get it right, I'd bet many, many type companies would pay you for a standardized application and you could end up revolutionizing the type industry as a whole by finding a way around the font piracy issue. You could recoup losses from there. (But that's aiming high.)
You're in the software business, so start selling that sh!t! Good luck to you! :)
Your point 4 is creative, and normally I would agree. But let's be honest. It's a horrible, non user-focused protection scheme that I predict will stop more customers from buying than pirates from stealing. A more realistic business strategy would be for Chuck to give all his competitors the software for free, hence insidiously killing their businesses and leaving the spoils for himself. Be realistic. The industry will never adopt this as a standard—it's an unworkable solution and only punishes the honest customers. Great book you recommended by the way—please Chuck, I hope you're reading all this!
>Sii (and everyone as a whole), something I think a lot of people who work for large companies don’t realize, is how faceless companies can be perceived by consumers.
Can you blame me/us for trying to change that, at least in this 'industry'?
I just went over to Letterhead's website (by the way a beta version of Chuck Davis' LHF Cafe Corina is in the free downloads) and I noticed that on the Home page there is an announcement:
Letterhead Fonts are now offered in Postscript Open Type, etc.
if you click on that - Chuck is giving full details of the change, what to expect and even if you need to call him after you purchase. It just takes some time to look and read...
Can you blame me/us for trying to change that, at least in this ‘industry’?
Absolutely not, Simon. By even mentioning it and showing up so frequently on Typophile you're inadvertently doing a nice PR job for Microsoft.
"European copyright law has recently changed, to allow artists “commission” on works when purchasers resell them."
Scary! What next? Ford demanding $100 from every used pickup sold and lawyers flocking to garage sales to collect 'royalties' on that 20 year old blender you are selling for $.50?
It's not for mass-produced objects.
I think there is a limit on print-runs for etchings, etc., for those to qualify.
“European copyright law has recently changed, to allow artists “commission” on works when purchasers resell them.”
This "Bruxelles measure" is quite controversial — apparantly a lot of art dealers in Europe plan to move or already have moved their operations off shore, eg to Switzerland.
BTW The compensation is capped — 12500 euro's max.
>if you click on that - Chuck is giving full details of the change,
>what to expect and even if you need to call him after you purchase.
>It just takes some time to look and read…
Yes, this information was all there when I bought one of the new just-released LHF fonts before starting this thread (as I pointed out in an earlier post). But as I've noted a couple of times before, the information offered is limited and in my opinion less than honest because it withholds other facts needed for full disclosure. The main three things we are told is the fonts are not put in the system fonts folders, they won't work with font managers, and they won’t embed in PDFs and have to be converted to outlines first.
But the URL above withholds telling the buyer they no longer get a regular OpenType .otf file they can manage, or that the entire scheme is a black-box operation so the fonts are locked down and the user can't touch them outside of use within DTP applications. We also aren't informed fonts cannot be packaged for output to a service bureau, though perhaps one should be able to surmise this from the fact fonts aren't imbeddable in PDFs, but it certainly isn't noted. The site info also doesn't mention that LHF fonts are now either all on or all off with no ability to load them individually.
The user is simply left in the dark about these critical facts and to discover them on their own *after* they have already paid their money and started using the font(s). As Chuck said, he has the right to implement whatever scheme he wants. But by the same token users have a right to be fully informed before making a purchase too. That's not the case right now.
Also, on the LHF site, this is all framed in the context of being better technology. Nothing at all is said about Chuck being fed up with piracy (other than a vague passing allusion in his "About LHF" bio on the site) and that this was the real reason for the change, or at least the reason for the lockdown aspect of it that is never divulged.
And I think this is because Chuck is probably afraid of what would happen to sales if he were to be completely forthcoming about it. Understandably, I guess. I mean, I like Chuck. I understand the dilemma. But it's also understandable that many users will need and want to know. If it's a serious rather than casual or uninformed type user, you're going to have a seriously annoyed customer on your hands if you make them buy first only to find out the real "gotchas" later.
"I don’t see how a small company could muster the forces to pursue legal action—"
If a small company's business IS intellectual property represented in digital form, then I'm of the opinion that they must do something. I mean, all such companies are based on the laws that have been enacted to make such property possible. So, it's only a question when, if you are going to directly license and thus police, you beat a quick path to three stages; send licensing agreement, send cease and desist, file suit. And nevertheless, as this 3-staged legal path making must be done with or without an installer/hider, no?
"most of those doing the stealing would never be customers anyway."
Exactly. You pick and choose. Maybe it's different for signage fonts and especially good display faces, but I think it's not, in fact, I think they are much easier to spot, track and trap, skin and license. I think, we have never made it to stage 3, which is where the real money is to be spent. Either way, I wish them luck with an installer, and if it works, all the better to cut down on policing, maybe?