I noticed that Letterhead Fonts is now directly linking price increases to piracy.
Fonts are tangible goods around here and will forever be treated as such. Theft always affects the price of fonts and there are some costs that must be recouped. ... In order to recoup these losses, LHF Garner must now sell for $39 (32% increase).
I share Letterhead's interest in reducing piracy, but I'm puzzled about how they think the pirates will respond to this. I fear it will have no effect on piracy and will have a negative effect on sales.
Prices should be set based on the value of the product. Like some have said earlier in this discussion: punishing your paying customers is not a good way to reduce piracy, nor endear respect.
Letterhead has responded to this criticism, but I don't think the post really answers the key question: how do price increases reduce piracy?
I'll just say what I"m thinking and hope no one gets too angry with me.
I think some foundries think fonts being pirated EQUALS a lost sale. This isn't the case. We all know that some designers do TEST fonts before they license them, so in that case, yes, it is a lost sale as those designers shouldn't be doing that.
Perhaps LHF cannot separate the two. So to them increasing prices will in some small way make up for some of the piracy.
Hmm. Ok it took me reading some of their response to see what you mean.
I don't think raising prices will decrease piracy.
Letterheads line of reasoning could ultimately lead to just one sale a year — for say $ 624,678 —, right?
Makes me think of a plan a friend of mine lauched some decades ago. He got to tell about it in a very popular tv talk show. His 'Plan to reduce smoking' went like this: Smokers cease to buy their cigarettes, but boost them from other smokers. That of course goes on until just one person in the whole country has to provide for all those smokes. He or she won't be able to bear the grunt in the end, stops buying cigarettes and ergo: all smokers have to stop.
Just use the words fonts and piracy and end users in the right places. ; )
. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO
On another hand, Letterhead's prices still aren't what I've seen Veer fonts going for. This might be naive, but I guess if Veer can get $99 for a font, then what is $39?
Fontplayer - The difference here is motivation. Veer feels that very extensive OpenType fonts are worth $99 a pop. I would take no issue with Letterhead if they deemed their fonts are worth more than their standard $29.50 price (I'd bet they are worth every bit of $39). But raising the cost and blaming pirates is just strange.
But raising the cost and blaming pirates is just strange.
If Letterhead’s sales are dropping, but use of the fonts is not, it makes a lot of sense. People are getting those fonts somewhere.
The difference here is motivation. Veer feels that very extensive OpenType fonts are worth $99 a pop.
I can't argue with that. Some of them are certainly gorgeous. I trust the designers are doing well in the arrangement; I see some experienced names represented there.
"I think some foundries think fonts being pirated EQUALS a lost sale. "
You are absolutely correct. It's a theoretical lost sale, at best, and even then, it's a rather flimsy theory.
I agree with most everyone here...it's fine to increase prices...it's silly and almost insulting to blame it on 'pirates'.
@James: But by raising the prices they are punishing those who DO license their fonts not those who DO NOT. Don't you think that is strange?
I've seen on usenet people asking for specific fonts and the regulars piping up that they do not share that foundries fonts because they are so inexpensive and they also have nice free fonts. This sort of action, raising the prices because of the pirating, will probably have an adverse reaction.
I think if some people put as much energy into marketing and making new fonts, as they use worrying about pirates, they would probably come out ahead. Some people have never uttered a peep about pirates, and are doing quite well.
IMO, it's kind of like life in general. On one side is pragmatism, and on the other, bitterness. You could be full-time stressed and miserable about how screwed up the world is, or you can try and make the best of things where you are, and try to enjoy what is valuable to you.
@Tiffany: I don’t think it’s strange—font designers have bills to pay. It’s a crummy situation, but not a strange one, and not one limited to the font industry.
I think if some people put as much energy into marketing and making new fonts…
I tend to agree, but I think that teaching type design would probably be a better option than making new fonts. I really got into type piracy when my first design teacher passed around two DVDs packed with six gigabytes of fonts. I only started paying for type after I had learned about the people and the labor behind type design. I think that making that experience part of the curriculum of every design program would have a big impact on font piracy.
You're on to something, James. Piracy is in many ways a symptom of undereducated design students. Young people don't react to scolding or price increases. A patient, thorough education in letter drawing will help them value type. Of course, that education isn't the responsibility of the type makers, but it is helpful for everyone to understand the roots of the problem.
>>I think some foundries think fonts being pirated EQUALS a lost sale.
Not only foundries, every software company likes to do those statistics of losses due to piracy. (Number of illegal copies/downloads x Price = Loss)
Of course, that is nonsense. The ones who are collecting gigabytes of fonts in P2P networks are usually teenagers who would never had bought the fonts. So there is no loss.
But there is also a number of professional designers who try to find a font for free, and only if they are not successful they will buy it. So here the download can be a real financial loss for the foundry. So the real question is: Is the time spent hunting down these people less expensive than the loss they create. I guess not.
I would even image that many fonts (or other software products), that are used without a license today, can turn into a real sale tomorrow. I didn't bought my first version of Photoshop, but I did when I started a company. The same could be true for fonts.
Another example: Some years ago I did this type specimen book with recommendable fonts from various foundries. The majority of foundries was willing to give me their fonts to be presented in the book. But some foundries didn't, and I'm sure they didn't gave it me because they were afraid I could spread the fonts for free. But in the end, those were the fonts I couln't advertise …
Font piracy was invented the day after the first letter was casted. It was always there and it will never go away. I guess if you are overcautious with your fonts, you are the one decreasing the sales …
You can go on and on all you like about whether a pirated font equals a lost sale or not. That argument is circular, and it is hard to see the point of it, if there is any point to it at all. The answer is immaterial as we are talking about hypothetical sales.
Stephen Coles: Letterhead has responded to this criticism, but I don’t think the post really answers the key question: how do price increases reduce piracy?
Where does this idea come from? The idea that LHF's price increases are supposed to reduce piracy of their fonts?
I've read most of this thread, and I have read what Chuck has written in response. The purpose of the price increases, as far as I can discern, is to compensate LHF for the lost production time incurred in cleaning up the mess pirates make in stealing LHF font products. I also presume the price increases are not intended to reduce piracy of LHF fonts.
I referred to "cleaning up the mess" in my first post on this thread. The point is, every time LHF's fonts are pirated, some of the type producer's time must be spent removing the pirated material from circulation. Fonts are labour-intensive things to make. The "lost revenue" compensated for by the LHF retail font price increases is, I presume, the revenue not earned due to their reduced capacity to make fonts caused by having to take illicit material out of circulation.
There is a basic problem with this discussion thread. It started on the topic of the anti-piracy lockdown scheme, then the topic of LHF font price increases cropped up, and somewhere along the way some commentators who should know better have confused the notion of "anti-piracy" with the price increases.
j a m e s
Clearly the solution is to get the IRS to allow theoretical losses due to piracy as a tax write off.
It's bad marketing. Macy's doesn't tell you they are increasing prices because of shoplifting and in-house theft, but they are.
Macy’s doesn’t tell you they are increasing prices because of shoplifting and in-house theft, but they are.
Are you kidding me? I see signs in stores all the time stating that they have security cameras everywhere so that prices don’t keep going up!
It’s bad marketing. Macy’s doesn’t tell you they are increasing prices because of shoplifting and in-house theft, but they are.
Some things are left unspoken.
I bought a Letterhead font last night and did not know about the brouhaha over restrictions, and quickly wrote to them for support. It was only then that I started Googling and found all the discussions about their DRM move.
This morning, I got a reply from Letterhead letting me know that they are removing the PDF-embedding restriction from ALL of their typefaces (it will be done in "2-3 days") and to log in on the site and redownload the font I purchased. I think this is a very good move.
Zan, welcome to typophile.
When did you get out of the plumbing business?
I have heard it before in here. Actually this time was more painful as I was reading it was one thirty am. My lovely wife resolved to stick to this tv show and we ended up not going to bed at the customary time. Ah, I wasn't watching the show as I was hammering a invitation project. It was at some point kind of difficult to proceed because my keyboard is black and the small type (actually it looks like Univers Italic and it measures ... exact 17 pt.! - I measured it with AGL type ruler, which is very accurate). So, as couldn't read no more and gave up for the day I turned to this tread. I haven't seen this tread until it was already skyrocketed to cosmic measurements. It was one am or so and once again I went to FH website and even thought of buying a font. I just can't not love them cause nineteenth century is glued to my retinas. The prices aren't bad but something bothers me, who have bought a couple of fonts ever due to that the use of fonts is part of the job and when the fonts are available with the packaged files, one can tweak here and there and get the job to rip and bye bye. All is fast in the commercial printing which couldn't be without the font files. Of course doing the ctrl+o before pd-éfing the document, which is easy to do for display fonts as per Miss Tiffany. All measured out and all I guess you can even add dongles to the process which will indeed lock it all out, good, promoting your peace of mind.
I wish you exercise you determination as you see fit. Hail.
The thing with Quark is this.
edit : cmd+shift+p
apologies for not reading the whole of that above so this question may have been posed and answered already but:
does Illustrator let you 'create outline' of these fonts?
Letterhead fonts are embeddable as of May 21st, though you need to re-download previously purchased fonts to have the embedding bit changed. The announcement is at http://letterheadfonts.com/news/index.shtml?a=blog&id=35.
For any of you who are not technically aware. You can get around the whole idea of locked fonts quite easily. Make the file yourself. You can download a font creator program for free off Dafont.com. After that, open illustrator (or CorelDraw) and type in all individual letters and numbers into your artboard. Convert the font to outlines and the add them to the font creator program as individual letters. Once finished the program will create a TTF for use whenever you want and you can give it as freely as you wish. Although I do not agree with piracy, if I pay for a font, I believe I should be able to put it on all of my computers at home, not just one. I refuse to by the same font over and over for a different computer. My purchase, mine to do with as I please.
Piracy issues aside, there's a BIG difference between a font that's created by copying and pasting outlines into a font program, and the original font that's been kerned and hinted.
BigLeague: Once finished the program will create a TTF for use whenever you want and you can give it as freely as you wish.
No, you can't freely give it away as you wish... check the EULA for the font you purchased. What you've described is called a 'derivative work', and most EULA's restrict the derivative font to be used in the same manner as the original font. You do not get any new rights (i.e. you can't install it on any more workstations than the original font).
Um, right. BigLeague, just because you "believe" you "should" be able to do something doesn't make it legal. You're describing your own moral/ethical choices, but they won't necessarily hold up in a court of law.
By the way, the typical Adobe font EULA allows a font to be installed on five computers. I would guess that one reason Adobe allows that is because it gives Adobe a competitive advantage (in theory) over other foundries which only allow one computer installation. If you "refuse to buy the same font over and over," then find a foundry that allows you to do what you want instead of making up your own rules!
Also, in reaction to BigLeague, you do not buy the font: you buy a license for the font, that allows you to use it the way the foundry states in the EULA.
It's true that this scheme is awkward for the legitimate user. What I think will have to eventually happen, though, is that the operating system include some sort of standard way to lock a font to a machine.
The font installer would basically talk to the OS when installing the font, and the OS would put an encrypted form of the font on the machine that wouldn't work if copied to another machine, being encrypted by a random unique key set up when the OS was installed.
That would obviate the need for techniques as extravagant as this one. Regular executables could be handled in this way by an OS as well, and this would encourage developers to develop for the OS, as they wouldn't have to develop their own security schemes.
Incidentally, increasing prices to recoup losses due to piracy isn't the same thing as increasing prices to discourage piracy. Presumably piracy causes some lost sales, and so the unit price on the remaining sales has to be increased to keep revenues constant. Of course, though, a lower price should mean more legitimate sales, and a higher price likely will mean less sales - even if the result is purchases of other fonts, not more piracy.
The font data will still need to appear somewhere in the computer memory in its raw format (otherwise the font will not be usable by the software like Illustrator). Once it is raw, it will be grabbed and saved into a de-DRM'd file.
This is a really old issue that has been explored in depth with shareware programs. DRM does not work (as in it is easy to break) unless it is rooted in the hardware (e.g. specialized chip) and the user is denied arbitrary access to this part of his computer. The problem here of course is how to convince a user to buy a computer that he does not have a full control over.
The problem here of course is how to convince a user to buy a computer that he does not have a full control over.
Well, if that is the only kind of computer that will play a Blu-Ray disc, for example, it may also be the only type of computer available for sale before long. I think such features are already present in the latest Intel and AMD microprocessors.
But even a very imperfect DRM might be better than nothing, and good enough that companies will feel they can use that instead of taking such a step as Letterhead Fonts did. Also, while it's true the encrypted font data needs to be decrypted in memory, it doesn't follow that a usable image of the whole file will be there. The individual characters could all be present, but without the data linking them together being present in the same format as in an unencrypted font file... except for a short time when the header, but not the characters, have been read in.
BluRay? haha. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369280,00.asp
DRM is like major political philosophies. It works great. But only on paper. It doesn't really work as intended in real life. ;)
Jim Baen, of Baen Books, was worried about piracy etc when he decided to get into the e-book market. His friend Eric Flint, an author and editor, convinced Jim to try something crazy...
Give away free copies of e-books, in several different formats, without any DRM or copy ptotection, and with the only restriction on the downloader being they could not sell copies. The EULA on the free Baen e-books practically demands you give copies to people.
At the Baen Free Library site, the books for free are chosen by the authors. Permission for books by dead authors is given by their estates or whomever holds the copyright.
Flint was right in what he told Jim. Don't give a crap about "piracy". Treat the customers like customers instead of thieves. Don't try to exert micromanagement control over what the customer can and cannot do with the product.
People actually PAY for many e-books Baen gives away for free. Why? Because it supports authors they like, which gets more new stories from those authors. Paying for free e-books also supports Baen, the distributor of the goodies.
But Baen took it a step further. They've released CD-ROMs with several of their hardcover printings containing the e-book version and many other e-books by that author and many others. Printed on all those CD-ROMs is the simple EULA that encourages making copies of the CD's to give to others. The contents of all those CD-ROMs are downloadable from many websites and are all over the P2P networks.
Baen's e-book and dead tree sales keep increasing because they're being nice to their customers instead of glaring through slitted eyes at all those ungrateful potential thieves.
Jim Baen (RIP) figured giving the books away would have his company bankrupt and out of business in short order, because he *had* the typical corporate "They're all thieves!" attitude and agonized over every "lost sale". I suspect he felt much better after dropping the 'tude and realized that people who aren't going to pay to get something just flat out aren't going to pay.
I've read this whole thread and see there's still many who still continue to FAIL to realize the difference between a digital, intangible computer file and a real, physical object. It is not possible to steal a digital file, unless there is only one unique copy and the physical object (such as a CD-RW) containing it is itself stolen or a copy of the file is made and the unique original is deleted.
As long as the copyright owner retains a copy, making more is as simple as commanding a computer to copy it. Once several copies are "in the wild", should the copyright owner somehow lose all his or her or its copies, the owner just needs to obtain one of those other copies.
For physical objects, it is a totally different reality. Take any one of a kind piece of art. If an art thief makes off with that one of a kind piece, it's *gone*, stolen. The only way to get it back is to track it down physically.
If you wanted to really steal a song today here's what you'd have to do. First, obtain every single CD, record, tape and every other piece of media it's ever been released on, including any sheet music copies and lyrics and guitar tabs on the web, and disc stamping plates. Second, delete every digital copy that's ever been made of the song. Third, kill the singer(s) and musician(s) who performed it, or at least somehow make them unable to re-record the song. Fourth, break into Stone Mountain and steal the master recordings, which often include all the individual track recordings that're mixed together.
Finally, you and you alone have all copies of the song and any means of reproducing it. NOW you have well and truly stolen a song. Sony must come crawling to you to obtain a copy so they can feed it to the CD mastering machine to make new plates to stamp new discs. Once they have that single copy, all your effort to steal the song becomes pointless.
Sound ridiculous, impossible? Of course it is. The digital world can ensure that nothing can ever be lost, as long as at least one copy is out there, somewhere.
Concentrate on selling to the honest people. Treat them like you believe they will act honestly and honorably and golly gee, most of them will. The ones who want free copies will almost always be able to find free copies. Most of them will never pay, thus they aren't "lost sales". If you have a reputation for fair dealing, some of those non-payers will at some point decide to pay you for your product.
Don't agonize over the "thieves". They're going to act how they do no matter what you do or think.
Something I remember from a John C. Dvorak article in PC Magazine, went something like "I don't care if the first copy of your software cost you $50,000 to develop. The second copy cost you $2 to make. Convince my why I need to buy your software instead of a competitor's or looking for something free on the web."
Not many customers give a crap about the work that was expended writing a program or creating a digital image or designing a font. What matters is what they can do with the digital product, what it means to them, what they see as the intrinsic values of the product itself. They know that once completed, the 'production cost' of digital products is essentially zero. Bang, bang, bang. Millions of copies as easy as one. (Just look at SPAM e-mails.) Arrangements of electrons whizzing around in silicon, patterns of magnetism on spinning platters or coded spirals of pits in metalized plastic. Duplication is cheap. Truly stealing digital product is impossible, pop off another copy for another paying customer the instant he clicks Checkout.
You have to make it worth it for the customer to appreciate your product and want to eagerly give you money for it. Set a price on your fonts. Tell people buy it, or not. Don't glare at the customers with the ole' stink eye. If you still lie awake worrying about people getting copies without paying, put some sort of serial numbers in the fonts, keep a record of which customer is assigned which numbers. Give the customers copies of the serial numbers.
Make it known (NICELY) that the numbers are useful for your customers' own inventory/auditing/tracking etc. They can help your customers control their own use of the fonts. Printers have to have the fonts in some form, typically embedded in PDFs the way the majority of printing is these days. Throwing rocks in the path of current work and production flows is counter productive.
Perhaps giving printers, who only do printing, not designing and layout, a reduced price on the fonts, or heck, just give them free copies, would help. Then you, the font designer, could use that as a selling point to designers. "Brown's printing in your city has ALL of my fonts so you can use any of my fonts and send PDFs to Brown's and you'll never ever have an issue with the printer missing fonts." Preemptive marketing tactics via carpet-bombing one of the biggest issues in digital design, the printer doesn't have Font X and the font cannot be embedded, but if all the major printers already have the fonts...
Then if you are still paranoid about all that potential theft going on, you can spend (or waste) time lurking around the darker corners of the web and P2P looking for copies of your fonts, downloading them and checking the serial numbers, then making polite calls or e-mails to those customers to inform them that font such and so has escaped their control, would they be so kind as to find out how it might have happened.
That might get many customers to exercise the due diligence to prevent your fonts from getting away from them.
Chuck doesn't really make fonts anymore. He sells the fonts of better designers, and treats them like garbage. Just ask Larry White. As for that sham Fontguard, Chucky doesn't have much faith in it. He now places the purchaser's name and address in the Copyright/version string of the fonts you buy. And, he makes you register an account with a valid telephone number so he can call you and make sure that you're white.
I registered to buy Factory earlier this year. Within about an hour he called me. The call went like this;
Chuck.(Rudely) Yeah I'm calling to register an account for 'NAME', is that you?
ME. Yes, wow that was fast.
Chuck.(Rudely) Where are you from?
ME. I was born here in the US, why?
Chuck.(Rudely) No you're not, You don't sound American. You have a ghetto Accent.
ME. Well, my parents were from Asia, received citizenship in the 80's. But I was born here & I'm not ghetto.
Chuck. (Rudely)Forget it I can't help you. Go somewhere else. (Hung up)
Guy's a jerk. So if you have an accent or aren't within his color preference, I guess he won't sell to you. But sadly, that's really only hurting the designers who sell through him. Give it a try yourself. Let him call you and have a friend with a Russian or Hispanic accent answer. Watch him hang up. Before he sees this post that is. If only smart phones could record their audio...
Yesterday I had a young friend come over to my house and bring her laptop in order to design a logo for my new business. I wanted to use Letterhead Fonts so I purchased a couple of fonts, paid through Paypal and then was informed by the LHF website that I had to wait 30 minutes for someone to call me to confirm my order since it was my first purchase. I waited 45 minutes and never got a call. Apparently I missed the call sometimes affter that, LHF cancelled my order, refunded my payment and never answered their phone when I tried to call. The next day I emailed at 8 am and again at noon. I finally received a rude email from Carolyn Smith (customer service)asking why I didn't answer my phone the day before but offered no solution to my purchase attempt. I was locked out of my account after two attempts at reordering and have decided now that it just isn't worth dealing with them. Carolyn must be married to "Chuck" because I can't think of any other reason someone would pay such a rude employee.
I'm sorry I'd lost track of this thread over the years. Holy wow!
Please post the rude email because I'm getting bored of Charlie Sheen these days. This sounds even crazier.
New flash: Letterhead Fonts are now on MyFonts with what seems like a rather generous license agreement.
I was hopeful too, Ray, but it's just 15 families, all of them by Chuck Davis. Maybe he's testing the waters for bringing the rest on board. I hope MyFonts' volume sways him.
Interesting to read this thread years later. The idea of 3rd party software instead of standard font files is only mildly annoying. I'd work like a dog to get at the font file (if it existed) but only as a technical challenge.
I guess the irritation level depends on your usage of PDFs. I convert all fonts to outlines anyway when sending a PDF, but that's for signs, logos, that sort of thing. It avoids issues with the font not having embed permissions or with an identically named (but worse) local font replacing the intended font. But I can see where outlines are unacceptible for a technical document or book.
It may be my imagination but, just for the hell of it I tried looking for letterhead fonts in shady places online, torrents and whatnot... and they may be a little harder to find than others. You can get stuff like gotham or champion script, but good luck finding unlovable or packard script.
But I have no doubt that if someone cared a lot about it, any protection system will be cracked. If anyone doubts the resourceful nature of the guys who do this, spend a minute reading http://insecure.org/news/cryptanalysis_of_contents_scrambling_system.htm
...now about those rude phone calls and emails...
I have read through this post and have this to say. While I whole heartedly agree that designers have the right to and should protect their intellectual property, the case can be made, that a lot of the "protected material" on Letterhead Fonts is actually the intellectual property of others. Namely Frank Atkinson, Al Imelli, and the Rawson Evans Glass Co. to name but a few. Some of these "fonts" have been around for well on 100 years and started out as typestyles for signwriting. Which begs the question - Who is protecting the intellectual property rights of the actual real designers of these typefaces?
So, anyone have updates on this? When purchasing through MyFonts are we now free of the weird baggage that came with buying directly from Letterhead?
@Aluminum et. al. -
"All Letterhead fonts on [MyFonts] are sold in our standard, 'ready-to-download and use' formats, and from what I can see, available as Webfonts as well."
We have 28 LHF packages listed, 23 of which are for sale.
MyFonts does not currently sell anything that could be defined as crippleware.