Commercial licensing - using fonts on customizable products

A company selling customizable products has an interactive site where a customer would select the colors/designs and add custom text (with multiple fonts to choose from) to the product. Think something along the lines of what Converse has going on here where they are offering customized text with the choices of Arial and Monotype Corsiva.

The question I have is, what kind of font licensing needs to be in place for a company to use fonts in this manner? I'm speaking more in the viewpoint of the company who is in the process of selecting fonts for this purpose.

oldnick's picture

Server-based licensing; see this thread for comments from the other end...

http://www.typophile.com/node/73007

Stephen Rapp's picture

I had a situation recently where Veer had a vendor wanting to license a set of fonts for online use. This was the kind of thing like a greeting card where customers choose fonts among other things from a list for their product. Nothing as complicated as customers getting to download copies. So Veer drew up a special Eula for them that was obviously way more than regular license fees. I think they based the price (which I approved) on the scale of the vendors operation.

Si_Daniels's picture

It's good to hear that Veer was able to come up with a custom agreement. In my experience the vendors I work with have a standard per server license agreement and associated fees, which are available on request, although not usually posted on their site for public perusal.

yvonne.w's picture

Thank you guys for all your responses, it has been very helpful. Does anyone know roughly how much server-based licensing fees might be?

Also, would it be risky to use free fonts like the ones found on FontSquirrel.com that have no licenses? (For example: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/license/Windsong)

Si_Daniels's picture

Legitimate freeware or Open Source fonts could certainly be used - in most cases you get what you pay for, so the risk is mostly around quality, rather than legal risk.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

For this case I would seriously consider a custom typeface. An uppercase only alphabet (for example) wouldn’t be a huge investment and can be made to fit the style of your product as well as adress any technical needs you might have. + It’ll be unique!

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