Long time listener, first time caller

Around the beginning of 1997—just after the game "Wipeout 2097" was released for the original PlayStation—I got hold of copy of Fontographer for Windows and created my first font. It was heavily based on one of fonts used in the game, but it was created out of nothing, by my own hands. It was a labour of love - I called it: Block Out.

I put it on my first website that I'd created as part of my degree at Liverpool University, along with some software I was distributing under the shareware concept, and watched as the file was downloaded hundreds of times. I removed the letter "P" (a reference to UK TV quiz show "Blockbuster") and offered the full typeface in return for a shareware fee.

A few weeks later I received a letter from Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic asking for me to remove the font from my website, send them the source files and any money I had made from selling font. They claimed that the font was identical to their 6x6 font, even though my font is clearly created on a 7x7 pixel grid. I still have the letter somewhere in my files.

I guess Ian Anderson didn't have that much of a grip of technology, so I took great pleasure in letting him know that shareware was fundamentally floored as it relied on the honour system - nobody had paid for a full copy of the typeface. Also, even if I took the down it was already to late - it was in the wild. Excellent.

As it goes, I never heard back from Ian or his lawyers but the font lives on in the age of the internet! My original version can be found at grsites and a modified (also corrupt?) version can be found at dafont.

Matt Sephton


Here's the original letter: