New Letterhead Fonts antipiracy font lockdown scheme

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John Nolan's picture
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Joined: 6 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Sii:
Adobe's font FAQ at http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/antipiracy/ff_faq.html says:

"Can I customize a font using font manipulation software?
You are allowed to use font manipulation software to modify the font software to produce “derivatives” of fonts licensed from Adobe, as long as you use the derivatives in accordance with the same licensing terms that accompany the original fonts. For example, you can use Macromedia Fontographer or Pyrus FontLab to customize an Adobe Font for individual usage, but you are not permitted to distribute, sell, or give away, the derivative work, and the derivative work counts as one of the permitted number of uses."

Simon Daniels's picture
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My point was that the FAQ is contradicted by the Adobe font license. I’m sure Tiff’s chart is based on the EULA. Here’s what the EULA says

4.2 No Modifications. Except as permitted in Section 14.7, you may not modify, adapt or translate the Software. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble or otherwise attempt to discover the source code of the Software except to the extent you may be expressly permitted under applicable law to decompile only in order to achieve interoperability with the
Software.


14.7.4 You may convert and install the font software into another format for use in other environments, subject to the following conditions: A computer on which the converted font software is used or installed will be considered as one of your Permitted Number of Computers. Use of the font software you have converted will be pursuant to all the terms and conditions of this agreement. Such converted font software may be used only for your own customary internal business or personal use and may not be distributed or transferred for any purpose, except in accordance with Section 4.4 of this agreement.

Nothing in the EULA allows what most people would consider modification. The FAQ starts off clearly enough...

"You are allowed to use font manipulation software to modify the font software to produce “derivatives” of fonts licensed from Adobe, as long as you use the derivatives in accordance with the same licensing terms that accompany the original fonts."

But "in accordance with the same licensing terms" means format conversion only. But then the FAQ talks about "customization" too. Which does not appear to be allowed by the EULA.

Please let me know if I'm missing something. This came up in 2005 - http://typophile.com/node/16180 - so Adobe is aware of the apparent contradictions.

Simon Daniels's picture
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Joined: 11 Apr 2002 - 6:37pm
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>You didn’t read my post then, sii —

Yes I did.

>I stated in the sentence right before I pasted Chuck’s reply...

The fact that you 'stated' your position and 'pasted' the reply was what made me suspicious. Maybe you were very polite in your original request and the vendor was just having a bad day, or maybe he just reacted to an over-use of exclamation points ;-) But to me the reply just seems out of character as a response to a polite inquiry - but if that's the "form letter" sent to everyone that complains then I'd agree it's not a good sign.

Cheers, Si

PS. I know the Saints are likely to win, but there's a rule that you should not be on typophile when your team is playing.

Cathy Moran's picture
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>The fact that you ‘stated’ your position and ‘pasted’ the reply was >what made me suspicious.
===

I posted my comment on the LH site so I didn't realize I had a copy. But alas, Mr. Davis did quote it when he replied to me - I scrolled down and found it for you. Here is my original inquiry to LHF...

Is there any way at all to download a zip file rather than a self-installing .exe file if I buy some fonts from you?

If anyone should know this, you should - installing too many fonts slows a machine down - I never install fonts! I click them open, minimize to my taskbar, use them, then close. I have ONLY what Windows installed actually installed and I would like to purchase a few of your fonts, but not if you must install them for me. That is about the worst thing you could do to us is install FOR US.

Thanks,

Cat

As you can see, I used no excessive exclamation points in my inquiry -and really nothing that would have warranted such an arrogant and nasty-sounding reply to a customer unless me saying the worst thing he could do is install fonts FOR US. Maybe challenging his decision to try to control our machines and how we manage our fonts got under his skin? Still -- that is not a way to reply to ANY customer - I certainly would never reply to my customers like that if they have a valid concern. Would you?

OT- I was watching the game about half. My husband was watching it enough for both of us. Birds lost. Poor birds. Tweet tweet.

Cat

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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Joined: 14 Sep 2006 - 9:53am
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Lol, that mail-reply is almost laughable. Not a nice way to reply to a customer, even if the question would have been unpolite. A professional should just ignore it if that happens. Or reply in a decent way, anyway.

Simon Daniels's picture
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True, from my experience the shopkeepers in Groningen are always polite.

I'm not going to go as far as to say that the reply was acceptable, but I'm genuinely interested in what kind of mail would have prompted it - in particular what would prompt "we are not a charity" - anyway I hope Cathy posts the complete exchange so I can jump on the LH-bashing-bandwagon with a clean conscience. :-)

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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Hmm, the shopkeepers here suck, actually. ;)

Hehe, no, I agree. The complete exchange would be nice.

Simon Daniels's picture
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Thanks for posting.

>Would you?

No

>Birds lost. Poor birds. Tweet tweet.

They should have gone for it on 4th and 15. But give them credit they nearly pulled off the upset.

Uli Stiehl's picture
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There is a legal issue that has not yet been discussed.

At his website, Mr. Chuck Davis makes this legally relevant declararation:

"..... We've also decided to go full-force with Postscript Open Type and offer them exclusively ....... Letterhead Fonts are now available only in Postscript-flavored Open Type. This means that your software must support Open Type fonts. Open Type fonts work great in most Microsoft applications..........."

For full text see http://www.letterheadfonts.com/support/changes.shtml

Now there is this legal issue:

The Open Type font file specifications were defined by Microsoft and Adobe to warrant cross-platform compatibility such that the same identical Open Type font file can be used without modification on different operating systems (Mac OS, Windows OS, etc.). Exactly this is the meaning of "Open": For each font, there must exist one and the same open disk file usable by different operating systems. For more technical details please read the Open Type specifications published both at the Adobe and the Microsoft websites.

According to these Open Type specifications, Mr. Chuck Davis is not allowed to declare the non-open stuff he sells as "Open Type".

Mr. Chuck Davis may label his cripped non-open stuff by whatever other name he likes, but he must not label his crippled non-open stuff as "Open Type". Whosoever sells non-open stuff as "Open Type" commits the crime of fraud.

Cathy Moran's picture
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According to these Open Type specifications, Mr. Chuck Davis is not allowed to declare the non-open stuff he sells as “Open Type”.
==================

Thank you for this interesting insight. Another colleague of mine has recently purchased one of the LH "installers" and spent much time searching for the .OTF file on her system, which, of course, did not exist.

According to Microsoft, there MUST be an extension of .OTF or .TTF for any Open Type font to be called Open Type. So Mr. Chuck Davis is also in violation of Microsoft's Trademark.

This part right here:

Do Not Use the OpenType Trademark as Part of Your Product Name
Microsoft trademarks may not be incorporated as part of the name of another company's product or service. You may not include OpenType or any potentially confusing variation in the name of your product or service.

And he has used it and has NOT supplied customers with an actual Open Type font - he has only supplied his installer where you are DENIED the .OTF or .TTF file(s)

Now comes California Consumer Law. Mr. Chuck Davis resides in California, does he not? If so he is bound by California law. So he is in violation of that as well with his deceptive practices. From the California Consumer Protection site he is in violation by this rule alone, although he fits several other of the "rules".

(a) unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in the conduct of any trade or commerce;

Cat

Jeremy Dooley's picture
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Joined: 31 Jul 2005 - 11:58am
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A bit (more) support for letterhead:

Recently, I had a unique opportunity; to start my own business, selling my products on the internet. There is no other time on earth people have had the opportunity to create new products as the internet age. Companies can be formed without much of startup costs and risks involved with starting a new company and distributing products in the old era. Unfortunately, stealing their products is also much easier. Recently, I found a website that specifically asks to steal my typefaces.

I recently received a book from my sister, “The World is Flat.” It confirms what I have believed for some time. America’s role in the world is to create new and innovative products. Our main exports are weapons and entertainment, essentially products born from creative problem solving. We don’t do cars all that well, but we make some ripping airplanes.

Senator Feinstein, being from the state that is host to Hollywood and all, is supporting a bill called S.256, the PERFORM Act. It is a step in right direction for protecting digital music. Will it work? Probably not. There are too many ways to bypass DRM systems. It sends a message. Althrough digital property is easy to steal, it is still not right.

Some “evildoers” have created a site to urge senators to reject this bill. I have a different idea in mind. Using their website mechanisms, you can draft a letter urging your senators to confirm this bill.

Here is a brief little letter I have composed. If you would like, please use it as a base for your own letter.

As a constituent and creator of digital content, I urge you to CONFIRM the perform act. Those that oppose this bill are essentially asking Congress to put
a stamp of approval on their illegal activities. America needs its creatives and
entrepreneurs now more than ever. Rejecting this bill would cripple the creation
of digital content of all kinds and cause innovation to be stifled.

I find it shameful that some persons have created a website to convince Congress not to confirm this bill. Please send a strong message that stealing for content creators of all kinds is illegal and immoral.

I would love to see DRM incorporated into typefaces by Microsoft/Adobe/Apple. I plan to push for this as much as I can.

Lets see if the system works. Oh, and Cat, why are you splitting hairs over the .otf stuff? I deliver my product as a .zip file, just as everyone else. Am I in violation? No.

Jeremy Dooley
www.insignedesign.com

Cathy Moran's picture
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Lets see if the system works. Oh, and Cat, why are you splitting hairs over the .otf stuff? I deliver my product as a .zip file, just as everyone else. Am I in violation? No.
============
But inside your .zip file, Jeremy, is an actual .OTF or .TTF or .PFB and .PFM - that ends up where I decide to unzip the files to on my system. When I have purchased your fonts, I have not had to worry that there was going to be some .exe file slung at me that opens and does its thing and doesn't let me know what it's doing and doesn't allow me to have the actual font that I paid for! You ARE delivering the actual .OTF (or whatever format) in the proper format that I am paying for. Mr. Davis is not doing this. He is "masking" the actual .OTF inside some installer" that did NOT install the font where it belongs in my Windows fonts directory. That is messing with MY SYSTEM. That is me paying out good money for some file that is not the actual .OTF that Microsoft's trademark requires it to be when it has been advertised to be so.

Cat

Linda Cunningham's picture
Joined: 26 Jul 2006 - 3:55pm
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Y'know Jeremy, I'd take your plea more seriously if you had better spelling and grammar in your "model" letter. Having worked with politicians at the local, state/provincial, and federal levels in Canada and the U.S. for more than twenty years, I'm here to tell you that when they receive communications that lack basic language skills, they are ignored.

Simon Daniels's picture
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>when they receive communications that lack basic language skills, they are ignored.

Note this doesn't always apply to the highest ranking elected officials ;-)

Jeremy Dooley's picture
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Fair criticism, Linda. I need to work on that.

JDooley.

darrel's picture
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"Some “evildoers” "

Hmm...the EFF? You serious? Evil?

Damn consumer rights organizations. ALWAYS STICKING IT TO THE MAN!

Ranting about the EFF is akin to your plumber ranting about the Better Business Bureau.

Back to the thread, regarding the legalities of calling them Open Type when they truly are not...related to the issue is DRMed CDs. Apparently a CD must adhere to the established tech specs and the DRMed ones fail that test, and, as such, can not technically be called CDs.

Jeremy Dooley's picture
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Evildoers is a joke, hence the quotation marks. However, the EFF, in this case (Honestly, I don't know its overall track record), is standing against the protection of creative work, in essence stifling creativity. If everyone gets their product ripped off, there is no inducement to create.

darrel's picture
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"is standing against the protection of creative work"

No, it stands for protecting consumer's fair use and preventing the government from subsidizing poor business models via heavy handed legislation.

The problem is that DRM doesn't work. It does not stop 'piracy' and it does piss of consumers. Instead of coming up with better solutions, the industries that depend on sales of digital media would prefer that the government simply force the consumers hand.

As long as the media industries are private, the government (ie, us) have no business subsidizing them through overly restrictive legislation.

IMHO (and the EFF's) of course.

Jeremy Dooley's picture
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Interesting perspective. I normally would be all over the non-intervention of government aspect, but government is there for protection. Government makes laws to protect its citizens, from bodily harm, and in this case, theft.

I agree that the current implementation of DRM is not perfect. However, if designers/companies can't create products without someone stealing them, they stop creating. As Chuck said earlier, he almost quit producing. Ultimately, that hurts the designer by limiting creative output, harming the creator and the economy. Legislation can help clear up this semi-nebulous area of the law.

darrel's picture
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"and in this case, theft"

But is it really theft? Is copyright infringment theft? Is photocopying an article for a friend the same as shoplifing? Is grabbing a song to put in my kids home video the same as selling pirated DVDs on the streets of NYC?

It's important to remember what US IP laws were originally designed for. Too many people think it was designed solely to provide a monetary incentive for the creator to innovate. That's only half of it. The reason our country created IP laws was to provide that delicate balance between encouraging innovataion, and giving the masses access to the benefits of cultural and collective knowlege.

Many people allege (and I agree) that industries like the MPAA and RIAA have pretty much taken IP law to an extreme favoring mainly only the creator. These proposed laws do nothing more than to push that lopsideness even further.

I find something very wrong when an entire industry is convicted of price fixing (music industry) and their fine is essentially $15. An international corporation is shown to have installed virii on people's computers (Sony). Their 'fine'? Give a free CD to their customers. The richest company on the planet (MS) has been shown to have acted unfairly as a monopoly in countries throughout the world. Their 'fine'? Well, nothing worthy of actually penalizing them.

In turn, a 12 year old girl in Kansas who shares a Britteny Spears single? Legally, her family can be extorted out of 6 grand.

To me, the laws are already insanely anti-consumer.

"I agree that the current implementation of DRM is not perfect."

There likely won't ever be a DRM that truly works.

"However, if designers/companies can’t create products without someone stealing them, they stop creating"

Did libraries stop authors from writing? Did VCRs stop TV networks from airing shows? Has Adobe gone out of business due to script kiddies cracking photoshop so they could make a myspace icon?

That phrase has yet to be proven correct. It's also been used every single time a new technology has dared enter the market that has some facet of being able to duplicate something. From 8-tracks to photocopiers. ;o)

"Legislation can help clear up this semi-nebulous area of the law."

What's nebulous? Our copyright laws are fairly straight forward (well, as straight forward as laws can be).

The DMCA was not needed. THAT has only complicated things...mainly for the worse if you are a consumer.

To be fair, independant font foundries are caught in the crossfire of the truly evil industries that have really tainted DRM and the like. There is zero sympathy left for the RIAA, for instance.

That said, the argument the RIAA is using isn't too far away from what some of the people in this thread are using. THe reality is that music sharing really hasn't killed the industry. It'shurt it in some ways, helped it in others. Mainly, it's just CHANGED the indusstry and the industry really doesn't like that, as they had a pretty good racket going. Instead of ADOPTING to market forces, however, they prefer to use lobbyists and lawyers. Alas, crazy DRM on a typeface gets lumped more into that crowd than not.

Stephen Coles's picture
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This discussion has officially derailed. Maybe we should have a mandatory Typophile three-page maximum and all future discussion should be spawned into separate, focused threads.

Hank Zane's picture
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For Christ's sake, it's just a freaking font. Who forces you to buy it and talk to the supposedly unfriendly and professionally strayed man named Chuck? Who!? Maybe you should complain to that person.

Linda Cunningham's picture
Joined: 26 Jul 2006 - 3:55pm
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>when they receive communications that lack basic language skills, they are ignored.

Note this doesn’t always apply to the highest ranking elected officials ;-)

Well, depending on the content, they might send the FBI to your door. :-(

Stephen Coles's picture
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Sergej - the reason its worth talking about here on Typophile is that type suppliers are interested in DRM techniques and their drawbacks.

Michael Albright's picture
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My experience with Chuck was entirely different. On the two occassions he's written me, he was polite, thoughtful, gracious and took the time to write lengthy emails explaining his position. In several ways, he bent over backwards to help me understand his position. He shared with me some disturbing links that really opened my eyes up to how pervasive and insidious this piracy thing really is. And all the while, he treated me like a valued and respected customer.

I am disappointed to hear that MzCatzMeow had a different experience. I can only guess that by now, Chuck must be really sick of fielding questions, even harmless and polite ones! No excuse, I know. But the guy must be at wit's end to write such an offensive email. Surely he is frustrated by all of this—he must love having all of us biting at him—and if he had found a better way to more fully protect his fonts I'm sure he would've welcomed it.

Meanwhile, the installer scheme truly is unworkable. And I agree that it's a bit misleading to call the fonts OT when they are actually the opposite of 'open'.

Simon Daniels's picture
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>Sergej - the reason its worth talking about here on Typophile is that type suppliers are interested in DRM techniques and their drawbacks.

Likewise font customers are probably worried about the possible wide-spread adoption of these techniques by other mainstream font vendors. The complaints are as much a warning to other font makers as they are directed to LHF.

Stephen Coles's picture
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Exactly.

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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As a user I don't mind the idea of serialization or activation of fonts. If a foundry wishes to know that I've de-installed a font and am re-installing it again--for whatever reason--that is there perogative. As is what Chuck has done for that matter. However, the thing that really frustrates me is not being able to control the font. That seems a little heavy-handed. I have a very precise--read anal-retentive--way of organization and working with my fonts. If I can't do that it would drive me batty which would, in turn, make me want to not use the font. It kind of reminds me of someone forcing me to live my life in a certain way when I'd much rather make my own choices and arrive at my own destination. Sort of.

DRM doesn't bother me. I suppose. If they choose to do it they will, more than likely lose a few sales or perhaps gain more conversation with the customers who wish to upgrade their licenses in order to do what is they need to do.

I'd hope before DRM comes into play some of the foundries will really consider some of the more problematic clauses in their EULAs and give the user a little more rope. Specifically embedding into PDFs. The PDF workflow is how we do business now. Without it the fonts either become useless or we, the users, must choose which parts of the EULAs we ignore.

Simon Daniels's picture
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Well, I'm sure when font DRM is rolled out the font vendors will lower their prices and broaden the rights given to customers - in exactly the same way as the music industry did. ;-(

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Yeah. I'm sure you are right.

Joshua Lurie-Terrell's picture
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Maybe this *should* go in another thread, but since it does seem material to this discussion:

how much has piracy hurt type sales? For those vendors that have been producing for many years, how much have their sales fallen with the increase in piracy? Would be interesting to know. I'd suspect quite a bit. I don't mean a falling off from projected numbers, but an actual decrease in historical sales.

---

jlt : http://www.hewnandhammered.com : rnrmf!

Lari Elovainio's picture
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how much has piracy hurt type sales?

My gut feeling says that professional people, working with type, designers and so on buy their fonts. There are cases in the news in Finland, though, where some company (usually smallish a press) has had pirated fonts. There are only about one of these cases in two years or so.

About Letterhead Fonts, it’s a good thing you can still buy many of their best fonts from Myfonts. That is fonts by Charles Borges, http://www.borgeslettering.com/ .

Patricia Fabricant's picture
Joined: 23 Mar 2004 - 9:40am
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What makes you sure piracy has increased? I think it's been around as long as computers have. At my old job (in the 90s) we dumped all the fonts we bought onto a big server and all had access to them. I'm sure they weren't paying for licenses for more than the standard 6 devices even tho we had at least twice that many. We shared them, used them on personal jobs, and burned CDs of them for our home computers. I'm more educated and responsible now and buy my fonts, but I still have alot of those old fonts I grabbed, including some that are no longer available like Fontographer fonts.

Not to mention we sent them off to printers along with the jobs.

Anyhow it seems misguided to go after a small press in Finland. I'm sure there are bigger culprits than that.

Blank's picture
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As a user I don’t mind the idea of serialization or activation of fonts. If a foundry wishes to know that I’ve de-installed a font and am re-installing it again—for whatever reason—that is there perogative.

I would sure as hell mind it. I buy software for my own use, not to do whatever makes the software vendor happy. I don't like having every different application vendor installing license daemons that eat up memory and slow down my boot times. I don't like software taking extra time to startup because it's checking for updates that don't offer anything especially useful and are just covering for secretly revoking keys that got leaked onto the internet. I don't like having to keep track of serial numbers or copy-protected CDs or dongles or whatever else it takes to keep my software running. And I really, really get ticked when I can't use a program if I'm not connected to the internet.

All DRM is good for is inconveniencing legitimate users and making money for the snake-oil salesmen who create the DRM schemes. Creating a DRM system that actually prevents piracy is only possible in fascist states whose government force DRM into all computer systems and actively police all users for violations. This has been proven again and again over the last twenty years; every license management tool, every music and video protection scheme, every game console has been cracked and it takes less time with each new scheme. Successive DRM systems attempt to become stronger by being more complicated, it hasn't worked, but it has created crazy DRM systems like Windows Genuine Advantage, which is notorious for not working right.

darrel's picture
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"how much has piracy hurt type sales? For those vendors that have been producing for many years, how much have their sales fallen with the increase in piracy? Would be interesting to know. I’d suspect quite a bit."

This is the big question that needs to be asked in all realms of DRM. Alas, it's a really, really hard question to answer.

While "piracy" may have increased with the internet, that isn't really the key question. The main question is 'have more people that traditionally have valued and purchased typefaces decreased because they have decided they'd rather obtain the fonts for free via other means?'

Personally, I think one way to combat increased 'piracy' by the masses is to price your product to appeal to said masses...provided that's who you want to market to. If that isn't your market, then I'd say don't worry about the 12 year old with Photoshop making his MySpace account. But that's just me. I don't sell type directly nor depend on it for a living, so what do I know? ;o)

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Yes. Put that way, I don't like keeping track of serial numbers either. :^/

zebrasystem's picture
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For those who are interested, Chuck Davis added a new page to the Letterhead Fonts website a few days ago explaining in somewhat more depth his thinking and views on the LHF antipiracy font installer and font theft:

http://letterheadfonts.com/chuckdavis/arefontssoftware.shtml

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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It is a thoughtful, well-written piece that probably represents, generally, how many type designers, foundries and vendors feel.

However, I think a few statements are gross generalizations and he forgets to mention something.

Chuck has gorgeous era specific typeface designs for display typography. He should be able to protect his work, all type designers should.

1. "More fonts and better quality for you" -- I think this isn't fair to the amount of type designers that are out there who are spending time on their fonts.

2. "Lower prices" -- I think this is only fair if he were to compare his pricing to other foundries that specialize in display type design. Even then his fonts aren't that much less expensive. The more expensive type families are those which are more complicated, offer more glyphs, and offer more weights. You cannot compare apples to oranges.

3. "No embedding in PDF files or other file formats" -- It is important to understand that his fonts aren't used, or at least in my opinon shouldn't be used, in large blocks of text and so it is easier to turn those few words to outlines. I would never recommend turning a brochure to all outlines. That is ludicrous. The PDF is a boon to the design industry and shouldn't be discounted for what it has done for the designer. With "print and preview only" embedding it has enabled those of us who do strive to follow licensing the ablity to NOT send our fonts to the printers and service bureaux.

Stephen Coles's picture
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I commend Mr. Davis for his transparency, addressing the issue head-on with a message direct to his customers. This is how a company should make any major change, with open disclosure.

Perhaps those customers who are inconvenienced will cut Letterhead some slack. Unfortunately, I find many of the arguments for his new font installer software tenuous, and often grasping at straws.

"I don't think it's fair to you, the honest designer, who pays for his fonts to be competing against Joe Blow down the street who gets all his fonts from Russian websites. Because Joe never pays for his fonts, he can afford to cut your prices and steal away your clients."

Graphic design clients are gained and kept for many reasons, chiefly due to reputation, quality of work, and the relationship between designer and client. Desirable clients don't jump from one designer to the next to save a few hundred dollars.

If the fonts can be protected against theft, more font designers will be willing to spend the time necessary to create quality work for you.

The font makers I know (and I know many, including those who are vehemently anti-piracy) do it because they love to draw type. Of course they should be paid for their work, but it's highly unlikely that any will suddenly spend more time creating type because they know there is a protection scheme.

The dirty little secret is that in order to make up for lost revenue associated with theft, font foundries pass the cost on to you.

If proponents of font software protection schemes want to make a convincing argument, they really must stop referring to font piracy as "lost revenue". The vast majority of pirates will not buy software, period.

Finally, I ditto Tiffany on the embedding.

Hackers will find a way to cheat the installers, and in the end, the new system will only penalize and inconvenience Letterhead's legitimate customers. I think it's the wrong way to go and I hope other foundries don't follow. I doubt they will.

darrel's picture
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While I understand his POV, there's just some plain faulty logic.

"Anti-theft protection for the fonts is really a good thing-- for you, the user."

That's only true if it works. And DRM has been proven, again and again and again, to NOT actually work as anti-theft protection. It just doesn't work.

So, in the end, it's only BAD for the paying user.

I think LetterheadFonts is trying to more convince themselves that DRM works moreso than convincing the customer. ;o)

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The topic is quite interesting, because it somehow touches the much wider problem, that is nowadays widely discused in the music area. With the difference that font industry is maybe 1 year behind them.

And what about that? We have to look how all music industry and community deal with that. What will be the next step. Will DRM success and what will be the impact on consumers and sales.

Unfortunately, DRM has hard time right now. And voices of critique is heard from everywhere. Now including Apple - owner of the biggest digital music store. And also yahoo:
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2007-02-12-emi-copy-protection_x.htm

citation:
He [Dave Goldberg, Yahoo Music General Manager] says sales would increase by 15% to 20% without DRM.

Isn't it interesting?

Karsten Luecke's picture
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Joined: 6 Aug 2005 - 8:41am
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Reading http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/, my impression is that Mr Jobs is so generous as regards DRM because he's not dealing with Apple's properties, but otherones' ...
Since, except for OSX, I don't use any other Apple applications -- maybe someone can tell me whether these need activation etc?

Stephen Coles's picture
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Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am
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Be careful with the music industry analogy. Fonts aren't MP3s.

darrel's picture
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"Reading http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/, my impression is that Mr Jobs is so generous as regards DRM because he’s not dealing with Apple’s properties, but otherones’"

OSX CDs don't have any DRM either.

"Since, except for OSX, I don’t use any other Apple applications — maybe someone can tell me whether these need activation etc?"

Their other products require a serial #, but not activation.

"Be careful with the music industry analogy. Fonts aren’t MP3s."

True. But DRM is DRM. ;o)

Ferd Schmidlap's picture
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Joined: 14 Aug 2006 - 12:45pm
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Here's MY take on it, after an ugly and incredibly frustrating bout with Chuck over this issue.
I use Illustrator 9 about 95% of the time. I have so many plug-ins that were never updated that I really need. Chuck told me to "install it on the OSX side". Obviously Chuck knows very, very little about Macs. He told me the fonts would work if I did that. He then told me it's "my fault for not using CS2". Even though he advertises that his fonts are compatible with Illustrator 9. He expects me to change my entire design process and dump some 1500.00 worth of plug-ins to use HIS fonts? I've got a half dozen fonts that I've bought previously from him and LOVE them, they're really nice, but I'll never spend a penny again with him if he's going to be so obstinate. Let me see, EVERY OTHER FONT VENDOR IN THE WORLD doesn't use some hare-brained scheme, but HE'S the one that's gonna solve all the problems with his half-assed protection?
Bite me, Chuck.
When I want cool, retro fonts, I'll buy from House or Font Diner.

Sean Glenn's picture
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Joined: 15 Aug 2002 - 10:26pm
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I've been a fan of LHF for a while now, and have been making purchases from them here and there on projects. Nothing big, mind you, so I'm sure my opinions as a customer don't really matter to Chuck.

However, I will not buy fonts with DRM. Period. It screws up my workflow (what if I use a font for running heads in text? I can't convert those to paths before creating a PDF X/1a). My day job is art directing a magazine, and we can't have a font that needs to be converted to paths at every instance, because our entire workflow is PDF, and keeping editability is very important.

This type of draconian DRM only serves to encourage piracy. Someone, somewhere will want to crack it. Then, the cracked fonts get distributed, and the very thing you were trying to prevent becomes true.

If Hoefler gave up their bizarre hidden font install scheme, and if Emigre stopped chasing every 15 year old who downloaded a copy of Exocet, and even Apple is pushing for non-DRM music in the iTunes music store, what possible reason does LHF have for making such a ridiculous protection scheme? All it does is irritate the end user.

Sean Glenn
Art Director
www.superunicorn.com