How can I protect my font from illegal sharing ?

stanev's picture

Hello,
I'm currently working on some fonts for the Russian and East-European markets, who are notorious for their copyright infringement & piracy practices. I wonder how I could build some kind of license protection in the font beyond the licence information, which can be easily edited. It should protect the font from working on more than one computer.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You can upload a really shitty version of the font to Pirate Bay. I'm talking concious hinting errors, kerning all over the place, glyphs in the wrong slot &c -- the works! Just make it believeable enough for geezers who'd never license it anyway.

blank's picture

You can’t. That is why so few commercial typefaces support Cyrillic until a client commissions it.

stanev's picture

How do the big players - Linotype, Monotype - do it ?

riccard0's picture

There are several previous discussions on the topic:
http://typophile.com/search/google/font%20protection

blank's picture

How do the big players - Linotype, Monotype - do it ?

They don’t. They sell the fonts to western designers who have to apply existing brand standards to Russian campaigns and products. The demand for popular classics like Helvetica is so high that firms in New York and London will buy enough Helvetica Cyrillic to make up the development cost.

stanev's picture

Thank you all for your comments. Much appreciated.

aluminum's picture

Lawyers. IP protection is a legal concept rather than a technological one.

blank's picture

Lawyers. IP protection is a legal concept rather than a technological one.

IP law is effectively irrelevant in some countries. Governments that have no interest in the lives, rights, or property of their own citizens have even less interest in protecting the intellectual property of foreigners.

Té Rowan's picture

Looks like a cute bet, @frode – let them work for it or pay for it.

aluminum's picture

I agree that IP law is irrelevant in some countries. In other countries, it's lopsided. And it's definitely inconsistent.

That said, it's still a legal concept in terms of protection. So any protection is going to have to involve legalities be it pre-job (carefully written contracts/payments up front, etc...as suggested) or post-job (suing, which is probably not a viable option from a cost/benefit POV).

the voice of one's picture

Trust me, I know those sites where people share fonts. Those designers who are not shared widely, or not at all, work either with very exclusive clients only (TEFF.nl, Unger, for example), or are hardly known and generally do not sell a lot. Those who are shared, normally are already established, or are in the best-selling-lists of vendors anyhow.

I like Frode's suggestion.

mjkerpan's picture

I only see the situation improving once an affordable alternative to font piracy becomes available to people in the poorer parts of the world.

Sadly, I don't really see that happening any time soon, since most of the free/open source font development going on at the moment is either being done by Western hobbyists (who don't have the knowledge or interest to create fonts that target non-Latin alphabets) or being bankrolled by Google (who mainly want an easy-to-use library of fonts available for use on expensive tablets and smartphones and thus are also uninterested in fonts for the languages of poor countries)

Also, I suspect that part of the problem is that the big players like the Mono-borg and Adobe "look the other way" when it comes to the piracy of their products in poor countries because they'd rather that people get hooked on their products while poor than that they start to develop local alternatives...

aluminum's picture

mjkerpan: Android is open source, so isn't targeted towards any particular economic demographic. In fact, India is about to (supposedly) offer its citizens a $35 Android tablet: http://technorati.com/technology/gadgets/article/will-indias-35-akash-ta...

That said, I think your point is valid. The disparities in the global economy don't really accomodate virtual products well.

Syndicate content Syndicate content