Erik Spiekermann's statements re Berthold

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Titus Nemeth's picture
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dear mr. spiekermann, you are perfectly right:

>This forum is for open discussions

so please keep it like this. dont let yourself be frightend away by some advocat. we have to fight corporate censorship, whether it concerns our media or information about the behavior of a, at least suspect, type foundry.
am i wrong, when i guess that someone with your reputation doesn’t have to fear much, as long as he stays in a legal area?
regards,

und sch

Chris Lozos's picture
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>Please stop reflexively invoking the Holocaust and Civil Rights Movement and just address the issue at hand. Can we do that, please?<

John,
I am sorry that you personally find the mention of certain topics troublesome. I did not mean to offend you or anyone else. I respect your right to an opinion and to freedom of speech.
I personally feel that the “issue at hand” IS bullyism and feel that historical references to painful events as analogies to this typographic fair treatment situation is valid and to the point.

ChrisL

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> just address the issue at hand.

Yes, why don’t you, John? All you’ve been doing lately is metadiscuss.

> It isn’t like the world isn’t full enough with similar and/or better typefaces anyway

It’s just a damn shame about Poppl’s stuff.

hhp

Chris Lozos's picture
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Several years ago, I purchased all of the Poppl fonts Adobe had to offer. Some have the “BE” designation

Anonymous's picture
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I agree with John on this, but I’ll point out the obvious differences:

>There were enough empty seats on the busses in Selma…

Ok, how did that change? Lot’s of people walked around outside the bus station with placards screaming “boycott the bus” and lots of people cared enough about the issue to do something about it.

You had a grass-roots movement.

Now if ten of you march up and down outside Berthold

John Butler's picture
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Well, since you’re asking…

Because I personally have nothing valuable to offer this discussion. I have never done any business with the Hunts, never bought any fonts from them. The last Berthold fonts I bought were through Adobe before the final Berthold liquidation. (Poppl-Laudatio, Poppl-Laudatio Condensed, Berthold Bodoni Old Face, still my favorite Bodoni.) The Berthold Library is one of the finest in the world. I wish I could in good conscience buy more. I’ve wanted to buy Post-Mediaeval for years now.

I prefer to hear from people like Prof. Spiekermann, Boton, Jaeger et al, who have been dealing with this aftermath for the past several years and have some personal stake in this. Very personal. I find I don’t always have to talk, Hrant. Sometimes it’s more useful simply to stay out of the way and listen.

Thomas Phinney's picture
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Chris,

Adobe used to license and re-sell about 50 Berthold typefaces, but stopped doing so about five years ago (more or less).

In all our licensing arrangements, we pay royalties to one party. If they in turn owe royalties to somebody else, that is between those two parties.

Regards,

T

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Bitstreams clones are not illegal! In the 1980s, Bitstream licensed the entire Linotype library for sale. However, their agreement with Linotype only allowed them to sell the designs, not the names themselves. So, Bitstream had to come up with its own naming system. Swiss and Helvetica were therefore the same design, just with different names. This was not illegal or immoral at all. Linotype, and its designers, got paid. Since then, Bitstream has gotten a different license, which also allows them to name the Linotype fonts correctly. (I think that this is all true)

Hrant could perhaps make legal Poppl revivals. As most of us know, only Typeface names (and their digital outlines) are trademarkable, except in Germany. In Germany, the DESIGN of a font is also protected by a patent, as long as that patent has been officially registered in Germany. These design patents expire after 25 year, and can never be renewed. The names and the outlines can be renewed, though.

So, if Hrant makes new drawings based off of a Poppl design that is over 25 years old, doesn’t reference Berthold’s actual files, and names it something totally different, he could legally sell that font as a revival. He could also patent the font and its design in Germany, and have the legal protection of thh German courts behind him when Berthold eventually would sue.

But that would be a suit that Berthold would lose, in any court, anywhere. That would be a fun day.

Chris Lozos's picture
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It seems all of my Poppl fonts were TOC but here is an example of floppies. The top 2 (Imago & Formata) are Berthold fonts under the “Exclusiv” label but in the Adobe collection. The Walbaum does not have the “Exclusiv” designation, only Adobe (it may be that it is just older). I include the Adobe Caslon as an example of typical Adobe labeling as a comparison. I also have Baskerville, AG, and BE Garamond on TOC but have purchased nothing else of Berthold since. But that is only because they had nothing else that I wanted and that may still be the case.
ChrisL
BEfloppies

Chris Lozos's picture
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>In all our licensing arrangements, we pay royalties to one party. If they in turn owe royalties to somebody else, that is between those two parties. <

Thank you Thomas. I guess you would have no way of overseeing any supplier’s outside dealings anyway.

Sorry to have pryed you away from that wonderful new baby of yours! Please give her a squeeze from my wife, daughter, and me :-)

Anonymous's picture
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>(I think that this is all true)

I think all of this is bullshit.

Bitstream has never had any licence from Linotype for their designs, except within the last six months they have signed an agreement to pay royalties to Linotype, and have a license to use the trademarks.

All those fonts right through the 80s and 90s were sold without licensing the trademarks or designs, and no designer got paid.

Perhaps this was “legal”, but what are you all railing against Berthold for, doing something illegal — call a cop!

No, you’re accusing them of being legalistic and perhaps immoral — I haven’t seen anyone claim they broke any laws.

I don’t mean to support them, I understand that some people came off a lot worse off because of Berthold’s practices. But a lot more people lost out due to Bitstream’s practices, and those of other foundries (Agfa still selling Triumvirate, and licencing stuff like Book Antiqa and Segoe to Microsoft).

Dan Reynolds's picture
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I am happy to see that the president of Berthold has posted on this forum. Although, I must agree with Mr. Spiekermann and the others here: posting a response on this forum would have been a more polite first step than having an attorney draft a letter and send it to him first.

I think that the public exchange of opinion over the internet is one it’s biggest perks. While it is obvious that Mr. Spiekermann’s opinion of Berthold is not a positive one, I do not think that his statements were libelous or defamatory. (He is certainly entitled to his opinion, and he is also entitled to propogate it politely) Also, we are only looking at a few short posts on an online forum. I think, if someone with Mr. Spiekerman’s gravitas in the type community wanted to go to war with Berthold, he easily could. And he wouldn’t need do it via banter on an online forum. Berthold is certainly aware of this. I don’t understand their ultra-protectionary, overtly legal-feeling reaction.

B.Gibbs has an interesting point, too. Monotype, Linotype, FontShop, E+F, and many other founderies all have presences at large type events and activities. Their designers all lecture, too. Is Berthold not doing this because it can’t afford the costs? At TYPO Berlin, the Managing Director of Linotype, talking about piracy protection, said that the best way to prevent piracy is through technological and design innovation.

He didn’t say that the best method was sending out cease-and-desist letters.

I wonder what the impression of Berthold on this forum would be if it had spent the money required for its 12 lawsuits, or even the legal and translation fees necessary for the letter to Mr. Spiekermann, on product marketing instead?

(However, Mr. Spiekermann, it is well-known that Linotype and many other foundries do file law suits to protect their work from piracy. I am assuming that FontShop does this as well. Can you tell me if cease-and-desist letters are common in our industry? Berthold may or may not have sent out too many, but how many are sent out by their competitors?)

hallo Titus! sch

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> Not going anywhere.

The point is they apparently don’t agree with you, since they started this thread! Get it? Unless the truth is even worse.

> Bitstream

Bitstream isn’t in Berthold league, not by a long shot. Not to those of us who care about decency.



> Because I personally have nothing valuable to offer this discussion.

I wasn’t talking about this thread, but your overall participation. Lurkers are one thing, people whose only participation is to complain about the participation of others are quite another.



> that would be a suit that Berthold would lose

But the point is it wouldn’t get to a court: the lawdogs would intimidate the individual — sort of like at Abu Ghraib.



> I haven’t seen anyone claim they broke any laws.

Because that’s not the friggin’ point.

hhp

Anonymous's picture
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>Bitstream isn’t in Berthold league, not by a long shot.
>Not to those of us who care about decency.

I agree, Berthold is a long way short of the diablocal actions of Bitstream. Berthold, allegedly, stole perhaps a couple of dozen designs — Bitstream stole thousands.

If it’s not the point, then why is Dan Reynolds trying to defend Bitstream on the basis of what they did was legal!? Does he also not know what the point is?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Your history is selective, and in places revisionist. And this isn’t about companies stealing fonts from each other, it’s about corporations intimidating individuals. You’re just using Bitstream as an excuse to justify [other] bad behavior, to distract*. And speaking of “relative ethics”, when William Garth of Compugraphic was asked how the newly formed company would build a font library, he replied “in the usual manner”**, which basically meant swiping — but the point is that so many companies did that (including ATF, Enschede, and so many more), people -unfortunately- mind it less. What people are complaining about in this thread is bullying, and to many of us that’s a greater violation of the social fabric. Focus, please.

* And/or maybe vent (see below).

** See the Romano article in issue #46 of APHA.

Again, to re-focus:
> I haven’t seen anyone claim they broke any laws.

What you have to get is that this is not about legality, but ethics. Sometimes you seem to get that important distinction, but when it’s convenient you squirm around it. Which of course is typical of anonymous participants, since they have nothing to loose. On the other hand, as long as somebody like me is around, they still won’t get away with the spin, so the best way to describe your participation here is “venting”. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.

hhp

Anonymous's picture
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>And this isn’t about companies stealing fonts from each other…

It isn’t? I thought the whole point of the thread was the accusations made that Berthold didn

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> I thought the whole point of the thread was ….

To be fair I guess the point could be different for each of us. But to me -and I think to many others- the main point here isn’t about stealing, it is about bullying. Most of the complaints above have nothing to do with stealing anything, except of course if you count human dignity.

That said, in fact I do make a huge distinction between stealing from individuals versus companies. One of the worst things about capitalism is that it treats companies as entities deserving more respect than individuals.

> they are all going to do their best to protect their work from others

Bull. Decent people draw the line this side of decency, the rest don’t. Which isn’t to say that line is set in stone, not at all. But some cases most everybody can agree on, and it is those that need to be addressed first, obviously. You’re simply clouding the issue. And since we don’t know who you are, we have every reason to believe you’re just a spin doctor.



> Exactly my point with Bitstream.

Don’t distract with more Bitstream stories. What they did was a (sad) norm of sorts. This is not. Furthermore, in the past few years Bitstream has done more good things (like recanting on their disregard of embedding permissions) than most anybody else. While this is an ongoing issue, not a historical one.

It seems you have a pet vendetta against Bitstream (which makes you smell just like another chronic anonyrat Typophile experiences now and again), in which case I’d suggest using a separate thread for venting.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
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From a practical perspective, it makes sense for the small business to avoid litigation.

So the best strategy for a foundry is to give its fonts made-up names, or really obscure names (eg Mrs Eaves — although that is kinda like Mr Stinky). I’m surprised we don’t see more typefaces with Autechre/AphexTwin music-title kind of names.

One doesn’t have to be bullied to be intimidated. To my mind, Apple and Adobe’s font bundling practice is no different than what the EU recently fined Microsoft for, and an absolutely massive suppression of the market for fonts, both prosumer and professional. But it’s unlikely that any government is going to go after a company for dumping fonts. I mean, it’s only fonts, duh. And I’m certainly not going to sue them!

As for Bitstream’s marketing clout, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
I know from personal experience that big CD collections of legacy and back catalogue fonts reduce the need for companies to buy fresh fonts. Many times I’ve had art directors say “Sorry Nick, I recommended your typeface, used it in a comp, even, but they have the Adobe/Bitstream collection, and want to use something similar from that”.

So I’m 100% behind Bitstream’s initiative of including a “sampler” of fonts from a variety of independent foundries, as part of the Type Odyssey CD, and glad to be represented.

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Bitstream is certainly worthy of discussion — but in a thread of it’s own. This thread is generally about Berthold Types tactics that some have serious issues with. If it’s kept on task and civil, then we can reasonably continue to expect input from all sides from the Hunt’s to the Boton’s and the Spiekerman’s. When the discussion is kept civil, I strongly believe that a broader scope of participants will engage. And that will make a thread like this much more educational as opposed to polarizing.

It’s tricky to keep it on the subject for sure, but vitally important for the value of a reasonably objective overview of the full story.

As one example, I for one would still like to know (from either the Hunt’s or a first-hand source) if Gertrude Poppl made an agreement for the Poppl types that Berthold now distributes — including Nero.

As another example, I would like to know why the Hunt’s registered the trademark for the name “Renner” having to do with typefaces (and subsequently let the trademark lapse a few years later).

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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And I would like to know the answer to my two questions. And if they go unanswered, I’d like to know what people think the reason(s) for that might be.

hhp

Anonymous's picture
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>it is about bullying

Who

Anonymous's picture
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>And I would like to know the answer to my two questions.

Then write a letter to Berthold in Illinois.

>And if they go unanswered, I’d like to know what
>people think the reason(s) for that might be.

Because they are no longer paying attention.

Because it

Anonymous's picture
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>Can you tell me if cease-and-desist letters are
>common in our industry?

Of course they are.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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> So what’s the point in focusing on Berthold?

Ask the guy who started the thread.

Discussions need focus — this is this one’s.

> *everyone* in the type business is doing similar “bullying”

No. If they were, we wouldn’t be seeing this singling out.

> Then write a letter to Berthold in Illinois.

That would be an ever greater waste of time than replying to your rants.
And everybody knows that public dirty laundry gets washed faster.

> Because they are no longer paying attention.

I don’t believe that.

> Because it

Michael's picture
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Bouncer (whomever you are), the summation of your points in your recent posts seems to be:

1) That Berthold is not necessarily at fault here in any way OR if Berthold is at fault in any way whatsoever then they are simply following practices that are widespread by others within the industry (albeit not necessarily by all).

2) That the real intention of your posts are to bring closure and/or abandonment to an issue that you do not want to see discussed further (especially by Hrant).

Why? Why not discuss the merits of the Hunt’s actions? Why not discuss the pros and the cons of Berthold Types? Why attack the concept of the need for type suppliers decentness towards others? Why oppose the notion of a type supplier being a good neighbor? And why adamantly oppose those hoping that Berthold Types becomes a decent “citizen” of the type world? And why do you make the demand that Typophile is somehow not the legitimate forum for discussion about issues such as these?

Too many unanswered questions are raised by your recent posts. Keep it focused. Keep it enlightening.

Please. Really. It makes a difference.

Please. There is a thread that is important here to others.

Please. Let the thread that Mr. Hunt himself started get back to the issue that he raised all by himself, the issues of Berthold Types actions and behavior.

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Bouncer, I find it strange that you are so quick to forgive Berthold, yet you will demonize Bitsttream at the same time. Bitstream, and its licensing stories have been discussed many times on this forum. Even if they are guilty of piracy in the past, which I don’t believe, they are certainly clean now.

Berthold, which was once very clean, is now very dirty, as exemplified by the first thread in this discussion.

At least I have the decency to post under my real name when I make controversial statements such as the ones above.

Hrant, I would like to know the answers to your two questions, too. However, you know that Mr. Hunt won’t answer them. Especially question number two… no foundry is going to tell you the exact number of cease and desist letters taht they have sent out.

And Bouncer, this doesn’t justify Berthold’s actions one bit. If FSI, Linotype, Bitsream, et al. sent out as many questionable letters as Berthold had, we’d all know about it. Those storeis would show up here, too, and they haven’t.

Lastly, Hrant, I know that you are afraid of American lawyers, but they aren’t all bad. In the example I used before, about legit revivals, the ficticious designer in question would have nothing to fear. Some lawyers do go over the top in litigation, but sometimes the law is chrystal clear. In the case of type, there are so few laws that it would be asy to rest assured knowing that a certain party would be right in a certain case.

Alessandro Segalini's picture
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Privet dorogoj Igor Shipovsky,
if that is possible, I

Anonymous's picture
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>1) That Berthold is not necessarily at fault here in any way…

I never wrote that. What I wrote was that if you want to criticise them do so for stealing the designs of others — don’t do so for sending out cease and desist letters.

And if you’re going to do it then take into account what others do — ie Bitstream and Agfa…

If you go back to the comments that started this thread you’ll see that even Erik Spiekermann — who has more to complain about than most others here — said that Berthold are entitled to protect their trademarks.

>2) That the real intention of your posts are to bring
>closure and/or abandonment to an issue that you do not
>want to see discussed further (especially by Hrant).

Not at all, I just see no logic in demanding answers when it is reasonably clear that you won’t get them. Additionally it’s still not altogether clear to me *what* this thread is about.

It starts with Hunt responding to Spiekermann’s allegations — someone (smart person) calls Spiekermann a liar (good move I think!). Some points are clarified, many are not. Read between the lines and you have the answers:

Berthold pays some of its “designers” — these are people who are engaged in revivals of their own work or extensions of the same. Berthold has no choice but to pay them because they wouldn’t do the “new” work otherwise.

Therefore it is obvious that those that are not named are not getting paid — because the “spin control” would seek to neutralise all the criticism that it can. It can’t, QED.

>Bouncer, I find it strange that you are so quick to forgive
>Berthold, yet you will demonize Bitsttream

I never forgave Berthold, nowhere in this thread. And what Bitstream did in terms of design theft was much worse than Berthold. It’s easy.

>Even if they are guilty of piracy in the past, which
>I don’t believe, they are certainly clean now.

What do you mean you don’t believe!? Bitstream stole all of Linotype’s designs, renamed them and sold them for years and years — there was no deal with Linotype that allowed them to do this.

Please, show us some evidence to back up your claim?

The reason all the names were changed was because otherwise it would infringe the trademark, the only protection available to Linotype in the USA. IE Bitstream relied on the law rather than ethics.

I believe you are confusing this issue with that of URW — which is similar, but quite different.

>At least I have the decency to post under my real name
>when I make controversial statements such as the ones above.

Great, you can use your “real name” to perpetuate lies, and I can’t use a nick to tell the truth. Justice!

>Those storeis would show up here, too, and they haven’t.

Yes, because this is the font of all knowledge.

erik spiekermann's picture
Joined: 9 Dec 2001 - 9:28pm
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Back to the intital issue (i only read these posting once a week).

1. The case between FSI and HH ended in a compromise after so much money was spent that FSI couldn’t go on. Which is the purpose of starting all these suits in Illinois. And Mrs H being a lawyer sure helps keep the expenses down for them. Mr H says that designers were paid as the result of the compromise. They were, but only by FSI. H kept all the money he had taken for the sales of FontFonts when the franchise agreement was terminated because of some technical clause particular to Illinois law. I never understood how a court could make a contract void but let one of the 2 parties keep the proceeds from a void deal. But then i am not a lawyer and operate under the simple premise that designers should get paid by whoever gets proceeds from selling their fonts. I am expecting another letter from Chicago because i wasn’t supposed to discuss this in public, ever. But i can let H know already that i’ll ignore whatever comes from him. He’ll have to send the sheriffs over to get anything out of me. Or the Marine Corps.

2. If Getraude Popple (Friedrich Poppl’s widow) spoke english, i’d get her to write her version of the dealings with H. She never signed a contract because she couldn’t agree with the conditions. So Poppl’s fonts are sold without a contract, illegally. She hasn’t got the means to pursue the matter, and H knows this.

There are lots of other stories to be told about H’s behaviour and attitude towards our business. The one thing i can mention is the news that got all this started: if someone tries to prevent another foundry from using the word “Grotesk” or “Grotesque” in a typeface name, that person is not out to protect a tradename, but to harrass the competition. If he hadn’t lost that one, the next step could have been sueing anybody who used Sans or Serif or Antiqua, as all these are part of some Berthold trademark or other.

3. Just the fact that no typedesigner outside a small bunch of people who used to work for Berthold will work for them should be enough to tell the rest of the community (or call it business) what their practices are. They all know more than can be told here.

4. A lof of people think that B in Chicago is not a legal successor. H writes:

>The acquisition of the designs and trademarks was recognized by the German Patent and Trademark Office as well as by WIPO, which authorities recorded the assignments. In that regard, Berthold Types Limited acquired the Type Assets and thereby is also the legal successor to H. Berthold AG. <

This is a very clever way of making something sound logical and obvious, but it isn’t. A new company having acquired the assets of an old company doesn’t make the new company the legal successor, it just makes it the owner of the assets. If they honoured the old contracts, one might be more inclined to believe that argument. But when it comes to paying old dues and debts, the new company conveniently seems to have no connections with its predecessor.

Intimidation and bullying is their game, as simple as that.

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>If they honoured the old contracts, one might be more
>inclined to believe that argument.

That’s a very good point Erik, thank you.

Harvey Hunt's picture
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Neither Poppl nor Jaeger would agree to the old contracts. More later.

Harvey Hunt

Chris Lozos's picture
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>Neither Poppl nor Jaeger would agree to the old contracts.<

Must have been an appealing offer. What do they have to bargain with? You obviously sell their fonts anyway and give them nothing. Do they have the right to pull the fonts from you and make a business arrangement with a different vendor? If not, then they are “screwed” as we say in America.

Perhaps if you made them a offer they could not refuse (I don’t mean Godfather style), one that would give them a fair share of the profits or let them have all their fonts and agreements back to deal with whomsover they choose? They even do this in American football. Let them be free agents. After all, you don’t need them, you are Berthold and, with your vast talent, you can design your own fonts any time you wish, right?

ChrisL

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> you know that Mr. Hunt won’t answer them.

1) I don’t know that. Plus he could answer them partially, and a clue is a clue.
2) An unanswered question can often be almost as effective as the answer itself.






> those that are not named are not getting paid

And my question #2 seeks to find out how many they are.

> you can use your “real name” to perpetuate lies, and I can’t use a nick to tell the truth.

You don’t get it: a real name makes people believe you more. Duh. But if you’re here merely to vent, that doesn’t matter to you of course.

> this is the font of all knowledge.

No, just the most.
It would be even better with more true experts (like Eric), but they’re usually too busy and/or selfish.



> Poppl’s fonts are sold without a contract, illegally.

And of course nobody else could legally sell his fonts because they couldn’t afford to defend against the inevitable lawsuits.  :-/

> harrass the competition.

Exactly. And to me that’s the main points of this thread.


hhp

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Titus, unfortunately being legal offers only partial protection. Being inconspicuous is much more effective.  :-/

hhp

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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Yes, silence in a discussion is music to the ears of the powers that be.

hhp

Harvey Hunt's picture
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Erik

As you choose to discuss confidential material in a public forum and then state that you will ignore private correspondence, I shall make my response in the same forum.

FONTSHOP USA
As you recall there was a business dispute between FontShop USA (a Fontshop distribution company owned by me) and FSI Fonts und Software GmbH. This dispute was resolved in the form of a Settlement Agreement that FSI insisted be confidential.

It appears that FSI’s intention was to keep the truth confidential while FSI embarked on a crusade claiming that I cheated designers out of their money. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Here are the facts:

1. FontShop USA agreed to pay (and PAID) the designers’ portion of the sales of FontFonts. The dispute was with FSI and never the FontFont designers.

2. FSI audited and declared valid every single sale of a FontFont typeface (Petra Weitz coordinated this).

3. FontShop USA paid FSI close to six figures (US$) representing the designers’ portion of the sales of FontFonts. The dispute did not involve millions of dollars and FSI certainly did not pay the FontFont designers out of its own pocket as claimed by Erik.

4. FSI also got the “fontshop.com” domain and Joan got to open her own FontShop in the U.S.

5. FontShop USA was represented by a law firm, not my wife.

So it appears that for the past eight years, Erik, you have been lying that I kept all of the money from the sales of FontFonts.

Erik of course has every right to choose who he likes and dislikes. But he does not have a right to lie in an effort to disparage my reputation and that of my companies.

It occurs to me that this is all about a personal problem that Erik has with me regarding a third person. It is not appropriate to discuss this in an open forum because it could be embarassing to her.

What happened, happened. Get over it. I would have thought by this time Erik that you would have moved on in your life rather than dwell on the past. If only for the other person.


Harvey Hunt

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> What happened, happened.

Assuming that aspect of this mess is indeed history*, what about the other complaints?
Isn’t it the present that many people here have been complaining about?

* And what about ongoing profits from fonts like Poppl’s for example?

hhp

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Joined: 6 Mar 2002 - 1:06pm
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I am new to this forum and must say I find that I don’t think these photos are a good idea. How can I think about discussion when I have Hrant staring like a Biblical prophet waiting for his dinner?

The discussion here — so bitter and humourless. Why can’t we have some discussion of the most funny lawsuit in type history? I’m sure some of you know about it. It’s the one between two major type entities over Hrant himself. What makes it funny is that everybody agreed not to tell Hrant anything about it. Hasn’t enough time passed to let this cat out of the bag?

erik spiekermann's picture
Joined: 9 Dec 2001 - 9:28pm
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My final post to this thread (in case anybody is still interested in the *real* topic):

There are obviously different ways of presenting the truth. While i know that there is more to this than Mr Hunt states, i cannot present any real figures and facts without entering a very libelous area. Suffice to say that dealing with someone who sees people in this business not as partners but as potential enemies has cost other parties dearly, mainly in lawyers’ fees (BTW: his wife, Melissa, is a lawyer). Thus, with Mr Hunt’s history of sueing everybody who has an opinion in the typographic world, i would be a fool to carry on. By now, everybody on this forum will have formed their own opinion.

Let’s go back to where this thread started:
We all agree that tradenames need protection against rip-off artists, and that our libraries need to be protected against pirates. We also seem to agree that it is at least frivolous if not downright petty and vindictive when foundries get pursued for using generic terms like “Grotesk” in naming their fonts. We probably also agree that the type-buying public can differentiate between a name like Signa and one like Signata, especially if the typefaces involved look totally different from each other. And finally we agree that designers should be paid properly for their work through contracts that are fair and easy to understand. The fact that numerous well-known designers have chosen not to enter into contractual agreements with the self-declared Berthold successor in Chicago speaks for itself.

Private business has nothing to do with this issue. There are many designers out there who know what i am not allowed to talk about as they have been party to the history of this conflict. They know my reputation and they know what the people in Chicago stand for.

Judge for yourselves.

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Moderator’s Note:

Please enjoy the new lo-carb version of this thread. We’ve cut the fat and sugar, and left the meat.

However if you enjoy your Typophile with bickering, name-calling and off-topic (ahem) ranting, refer to this uneditted PDF.



application/zipBerthold Thread
berthold_thread_15jun04.pdf.zip (1621.1 k)

Jean F Porchez's picture
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Joined: 7 Jan 2003 - 11:00am
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As type designer, I tend to trust other type designers experience rather than husbands of lawyers when I looking for a good foundry for typefaces. Perhaps the type designer at the head of a foundry will do mistakes, but we speak same language and understood each other well.

And more important, when we meet with speak about type design and that the best :-)

I’m fool for sure, but its why I’m a designer not a lawyer.

Last but not least, Thanks to Mr Hunt to start this thread, it helped people to confirm their own opinion.

Harvey Hunt's picture
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Joined: 8 Jun 2004 - 1:32pm
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Erik, you clearly have no clue about trademarks and the value it would bring the type industry if only members of the type industry bothered to educate themselves. Although there are more and more type designers who read Typophile that are registering their trademarks, I am always amazed at how often Typophile posts include incorrect or inaccurate information regarding trademarks.

For example, you say that you have no problem with FF UNITE so long as the design is not the same as FF UNIT. You are doing yourself, your business and the type industry a serious disservice with this position.

If a designer created a typeface called HELVETICAR or HELVETICAL, Linotype certainly would have a serious problem with that designer regardless of whether the design looked like HELVETICA.

Trademark law is intended to give a exclusivity to the first company/person who registers (or in the U.S. first peron who uses) a particular trademark in connection with PARTICULAR GOODS. The goods in our industry are FONTS; for purposes of trademark law, there is no distinction between the design of one font versus the design of another font: the registered trademark applies to all fonts (not a particular font design).

For this reason, the US trademark office refused FSI’s application for SIGNA citing Berthold’s SIGNATA as a barrier.

After the Barmeno/FF New Barmen fiasco which you started, FSI is now held to a higher standard not to come anywhere close to the Berthold trademarks.

If, at the time, Berthold was not trying to cause FSI & its FontShop Network to stop selling counterfeit Berthold fonts offered by BSK/Babylon Schrift Kontor, there is no way we would have ever allowed FSI to continue using the name FF SIGNA. Business disputes require compromise so we compromised.

Trademark law also does not require that the infringer use the EXACT trademark. The US requires only that the mark be “confusingly similar” and looks at the facts and circumstances of the situation. Other jurisdictions (e.g. England) also do not require use of the EXACT trademark to find infringement.

Contrary to your apparent assumptions, the type buying public is a much broader group than type and graphic designers. Therefore the type buying public would likely have difficulty distinguishing between trademarked type names with slight differences. Also because the type buying public relies more and more on purchasing over the web without assistance from people knowledgeable about type, and because they rely on search engines (dedicated to type like MyFonts or otherwise like Google), using similar typeface names could cause confusion to buyers.


FONTSHOP, THE SPIEKERMANNS AND THE DOUBLE STANDARD
Both Gustav Jaeger and Mrs. Poppl have not signed agreements with any Berthold successor after H. Berthold AG declared bankruptcy in 1993.

Notwithstanding, in 1994 when Joan and Erik Spiekermann’s FontShop were distributing the Berthold typefaces (via an agreement with Berthold Systeme), Erik produced FontBook update 2, the introduction stated

“This shows the 1400 typefaces in the Berthold Type Library released by Berthold in Berlin, Germany. Many of these fonts are available from other type sources, but the Berthold versions are renowned for their sensitive interpretation.”

Was Erik talking about cheating designers like Jaeger or Poppl then? Of course not. FontShop (and Erik) were making money from the Berthold typefaces.

AND, more recently the FontShops were (and some still are) making money selling counterfeit Berthold fonts offered by BSK/Babylon Schrift Kontor denying Lange (Erik’s close friend of many years) and Moellenstaedt (a past ATypI board member who he has known for decades) money for sales of their typefaces.

Did Erik Spiekermann complain about cheating Berthold type designers? No.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> You are doing yourself, your business and the type industry a serious disservice

No way, maybe, and no. Even for the second one (a person’s business), it can be argued that long-term health precludes rabid protectionism. Plus those three factors are all less important than something people like Eric are minding: treating others with respect. Those who believe in a dog-eat-dog world are the ones responsible for misery on this earth.

Anywhere except on Legalophile.com, you’re missing the whole point.

hhp

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quote:

Trademark law also does not require that the infringer use the EXACT trademark. The US requires only that the mark be “confusingly similar” and looks at the facts and circumstances of the situation. Other jurisdictions (e.g. England) also do not require use of the EXACT trademark to find infringement.




I’m curious. Is this because those who wrote the law and “lawyers” in general don’t see and haven’t been educated to the differences? It assumes a lot to say that “typophiles” are probably alone in seeing the minute differences. Granted it also assumes a lot that they aren’t alone. But isn’t that where the law falls apart and fails us? They write a law but don’t bother to see the possible differences? “What ARE typefaces … who cares … it is all Times, Arial and Verdana.” It seems to me that this law needs some brushing off and cleaning up if something as simple as a few letters or a vague descriptor is giving people the right to go to court. What a waste of energy. I suppose I do understand wanting to protect what you worked to create. But with something like type … word gets around … most anyone who is going to license type and understands the investment they are making will shop around and ask around … typophile is proof of that, we get questions all the time. Why would we suggest Signata if what they really want is Signa? The name, at the end of the day, is irrelevant to the person who will license the type. It is actually the design that counts the most. I have had clients ask me the difference between Times Roman and Times New Roman, I know that it is only typophiles that are interested.


–––––

On another similar note. I’m curious about contracts for use of their designs. In the world of design, and as I understand it, once a contract expires or if no contract is signed, the ownership of the artwork reverts (or is always) with the designer. Isn’t this the same with typeface design? I’m referring to the GAG Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidlines … According to the Fair Practices Act sections 359.350 (Definitions for ORS 359.350 to 359.365), 359.355 (Art work reproduction rights retained by artist unless expressly transferred; effect of federal copyright laws), 359.360 (Ownership of physical work of art remains with artist unless expressly transferred), 359.365 (Ambiguity in agreement transferring right to reproduce art work resolved in favor of artist)

What I’m driving at, in my own inarticulate manner, is while a typeface name and design may be trademarked … or is the design only copyrighted … by a given foundry, shouldn’t the design itself revert back to the originator of the design?

–––––

If you can trademark a word, but names are too ambiguous you must add a word that somehow makes it unequivocal, what is the difference from this to just adding a few letters?

If we look at the following examples, and I’ve stuck to the two foundries which have been discussed, maybe someone can explain these to me.

ITC Esprit, 1985 (which FontShop carries)
Sayer Esprit, ?

Signata, 1994
Signal
FF Signa

All different. Is it okay then for a foundry to work against itself? I’m sincere in my questions, for once I’m not trying to be cheeky.

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