Fonts - Legal issue - Service Bureau & help. PLEASE!!!

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Tina Parker's picture
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Joined: 16 Oct 2004 - 8:05pm
Fonts - Legal issue - Service Bureau & help. PLEASE!!!
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Is there a legal issue/problem if I want to give a font (or fonts) to a service bureau? (printer?)

do I need to copy the fonts? How?

How to send my file/document — Quark or ID — to a service bureau? ( I know this is a huge issue, but can you explain to me with simple & plain English — how to do it, PLEASE!!!

what is Postscript dump/print-to-disk?

Thank you very much!!!

Charles Ellertson's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2004 - 11:00am
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This is a can of worms. Which worm you get depends on your EULA — End User Licensing Agreement.

For Adobe fonts, go to page 3, no. 11 in the PDF

http://store.adobe.com/type/browser/legal/pdfs/FontFAQ.pdf

and you will see that you may NOT give the font to the Service Bureau, unless they (the Service Bureau) already own it (i.e., have a license).

The Linotype EULA is different:

Thomas W Phinney's picture
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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Abeno,

It’s not that straightforward. You’re confusing the restrictions embedded in the font with the EULA. These two issues are almost orthogonal to each other. EULAs can be much more complicated.

Put another way, the EULA can say that you can only embed the font if at least one of your parents or half the founders of your corporation were born in Kenya. Weird, but somebody could write a EULA that did that. There’s no way to use flags in the font to indicate that, and even if there were, there’d be no way to automatically enforce it with software.

“Commercial embedding” clauses are actually common, but there’s no way for the software making the PDF to know what’s going to be done with the PDF downstream. So this one has to be enforced by users, not by the PDF creation software.

Tiffany,

I can’t tell you what it means to create a PS file for a service bureau as opposed to a PDF — that’s a question for your EULA. Certainly Adobe’s EULA permits both. I have seen other EULAs that treated PS files more liberally than PDFs, however. The main problem is that setting up the PS file correctly can be a little complicated.

Regards,

T

Charles Ellertson's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2004 - 11:00am
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» The main problem is that setting up the PS file correctly can be a little complicated. »

Well, one good way is to make a PDF file, then use Acrobat to write off a PS file to send to the printer. Before the printers could RIP PDF files, that is what they’d do — take the supplied PDF, then dump out a PS file they could RIP.



The odd thing is that if I send a publisher a PS file, they could distill it & make a PDF with embedded fonts which they could then send to NetLibrary. As long as the publisher didn’t own the font(s), they wouldn’t be breaking a licensing agreement. Isn’t that an oddity! Whether I would or would not be breaking my EULA would be a matter of the language in the specific license. Many of my fonts were purchased long before Acobat became a standard, & with many of them, “font embedding” wasn’t mentioned. In fact, my Erhardt font from Monotype is so old the font was in a Type 3 format …

Charles

darrel's picture
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Joined: 4 Feb 2003 - 6:03pm
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As for the PDF subset licensing…that’s what ‘convert to paths’ is for. I find any font foundry that prohibits PDF embedding to be not worthy of customers. Enschede sounds like a bunch of paranoid nut cases.

Charles Ellertson's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2004 - 11:00am
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» I find any font foundry that prohibits PDF embedding to be not worthy of customers »

To Enschede, you can add Linotype GMbH, Emigre, Font Bureau, and a number of the foundries that advertize on this site. Not an exhaustive list, just a few I can remember.

Still no cheer,

Charles

Thomas W Phinney's picture
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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To be fair, some of those foundries do allow *some* degree of font embedding, but make a distinction about “commercial embedding” that disallows certain uses.

T

Charles Ellertson's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2004 - 11:00am
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» To be fair, some of those foundries do allow *some* degree of font embedding, but make a distinction about “commercial embedding” that disallows certain uses. »

I went & looked at one

abeno boy's picture
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004 - 4:01pm
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>Someone needs to tell the lawyers how type is used; maybe then they can come up with a license that make sense.

I’m a law student studying IP, so maybe someone could explain a few of the points in this thread to facilitate a greater typographer-attorney understanding :-)

> After much negotiation with Enschede, we got a license that does allow subsetting the characters in a PDF file to send to the Printer.

what is “subsetting” in book design and why would your printer need to alter or correct a .pdf you send him?

the PDF embedding issue seems straightforward for TrueType fonts, which can be assigned one of four levels of embedding restrictions: 1) Restricted, 2) Print & Preview (meaning read-only), 3) Editable, and 4) Installable. Other type formats may contain similar embedding schemes.

getting back to that printer, I would assume (although I may be wrong) that most commercial fonts from Emigre, FB, etc are licensed to the Print & Preview level. In my limited graphic design experience, the printer should not have to alter the contents of PDFs— that’s the designer’s job.

Any comments?

Mark Simonson's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2001 - 11:00am
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Asking printers to make alterations to “finished” jobs has a long history. It’s not something that started in the desktop publishing era.

Ideally, the graphic designer should make any last minute alterations to the original files and send those to the printer. In practice, expediency rules and printers are sometimes asked to make alterations to files themselves in order to meet a client’s deadline.

A job created using a font restricted to “Print & Preview” would prevent (legally at least, if not through some software mechanism) the printer from making alterations. Thus, such fonts require that jobs be delivered to the printer without flaws or with enough time built into the schedule to allow the designer to make the alterations, and that the designer be available to make such alterations on short notice. Often, none of these things are true.

The upshot is that some designers will either avoid purchasing fonts with such restrictions or buy them and ignore the EULA.

I imagine the foundries who put such restrictions on their fonts expect (or hope) that printers will have no choice but to purchase their own copies of fonts used in jobs sent to them, or perhaps that the client or designer will purchase an extra license for the printer. I wonder how often this happens.

FYI: “Subsetting” means including a subset of the characters from a font, i.e., only the characters used in the document, not the full font.

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
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Thread moving to the RELEASE area

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
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Tina,

Which fonts are you using? That might help us clarify if indeed you can embed your fonts for your service bureau.

Postscript dumping and printing to disk is basically creating a postscript file for your service bureau. AFAIU this would be considered the same as creating a PDF … or would it? Thomas, where do think Adobe stands on this? Tina, if you create a PS file for your service bureau, you would include such things as cropmarks and printer’s marks as well as printing separations. All information is contained in the file. Back in the day this is how we would output film for some COREL documents off of a PC.

If you want a quick run through you can also read my article—The Case for a User-Friendly EULA—on the FontLab wiki which has a comparative chart that might help you.