Wisdom Script clone: is this OK?

Queneau's picture

This font has just been offered on MyFonts. Now I like their Veneer typeface, but you can't tell me, this is not a plain rip-off of Wisdom Script...

I don't think this is OK, what do you think? And what should I, or MyFonts, do about it?

Queneau's picture

Or to add to the original question, why do they not credit Wisdom Script? And did or did they not ask permission?

hrant's picture

Is Wisdom Script an original design? Maybe they were both mined from the same earlier derelict source.

Related: http://typophile.com/node/56010

hhp

Queneau's picture

That is a good question, indeed, though neither description is open about it. So if anyone knows their common source?

HVB's picture

Wisdom Script contains no copyright information, only the fact that it was created using FontLab.

It certainly wouldn't be the first time that someone took a free font, POSSIBLY re-drew it, renamed it, and started to sell it commercially.

George Thomas's picture

Apparently it has caught the eye of a lot of people. Here are the Public Tags from myfonts:
=============================
Tags:
public tags: black, BLATANT RIPOFF, bold, clean, COPY OF JAMES EDMONDSONS WISDOM SCRIPT, cursive, elegant, fancy, fashion, fun, funky, James Edmondson original designer, light, modern, retro, script, thin, vintage, Want, Wisdom Script COPY, wisdom script ripoff
=============================

I sent an email to James asking if he would like to comment on it here.

oldnick's picture

Neither font credits an earlier source or inspiration, which is—unfortunately—not uncommon. On the other hand, some folks are forthcoming about their muses...

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/sudtipos/mousse-script/
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/nicksfonts/glengary-nf/

Neither of the fonts referenced above is a rip-off of the other, and both are reasonably faithful to the original design—although I did take issue with the original design of /p and /x, and finagled accordingly.

Taggers don’t always have their facts straight, either. I've gotten angry comments from some folks who accused me of ripping off this typeface with my Anagram NF; however, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can plainly see that these folks are putting the cart before the horse...

jamestedmondson's picture

Hi guys, thanks for the thoughtful discussion around this topic.

It's true, I'm working on putting more information out there about the design and process behind each of my fonts, and Wisdom Script was my first release.

I am a little bit unsure of what action to take (if any) on this typeface. I emailed the designer a bit, and he admits that Wisdom Script was the primary inspiration. It's obvious to me that he just set out to improve upon my design. Which he did, I admit that.

I wasn't referencing anything in particular when i was drawing it, I just wanted it to work well on an incline, and because I was cutting all the shapes out of balsa wood with an exacto knife, the sides of each lowercase letter were straight (it's easier to cut straight, going with the grain of the wood, than to cut a curve). The capitals in Wisdom are a sort of geometric interpretation of my handwriting, which is influenced by any number of different typefaces, lettering styles, signs, and logos.

Most of the letters in Thirsty Script are rooted in Wisdom's design. I've heard that if more than 30% of a piece of work is referencing another work, then that is stealing. About 75% of Thirsty Script seems to reference Wisdom, if I were to make a wild guess.

He did not credit Wisdom at all, or ask for permission. Is it worth the effort/ bad karma to go after Thirsty? Or is it actually good karma because I'm taking a stand for my work? These are questions that I have not made up my mind about. Any opinions you guys have to offer would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks again for posting this. It's an honor to be part of a community that values creativity, and artists' rights.

hrant's picture

If Wisdom Script is not itself derived from another source then you should have no trouble getting Thirsty Script removed from MyFonts (although it would certainly help your case if Wisdom were on MyFonts). We saw that sort of thing happen recently (in fact due to "activism" here on Typophile).

However, since Thirsty is -by your own gracious admission- an improvement on Wisdom there might be another way to both reward at least that part of the effort, and acquire proceeds that you're entitled to: get Yellow to pass along maybe 50% of the sales. BTW if such an amicable resolution does work out make sure it becomes public information (although the percentage can remain private).

Speaking of things like karma, even if you might not care too much about the money (as indicated by your Honorware* sales model) there's one very good reason to not let this slide: promoting ethical behavior in type design as a whole.

* http://typophile.com/node/10206

hhp

jamestedmondson's picture

Well said hrant. Promoting ethical behavior in type design as a whole is of highest importance to me in this situation. Thank you for commenting.

Queneau's picture

Thanks James for commenting

I certainly think that the least you should get is a percentage, and otherwise have it taken down. And you should also demand to be credited for the design. IMHO the work done on the design might make it better (language support, complete character set) but the design is very much yours. The weights are automatically interpolated, without much optical refinement, so there is not much original design in there. I don't think it is kosher to go about this way by Yellow, making money with your design.

Even if the design is improved, there are still other ways to do this, for instance Roger Nelsson has Cheap Pro Fonts (hate the name...but still) which creates improved and expanded versions of free fonts (I know yours is not free in this sense), but always does so with permission, with all credit to the original designer, under the original name (I don't know if the designers get a percentage, but others here should be able to provide info on this, (Oldnick?))

I hope there is a way to resolve this without removing Thirsty, it's up to you, but I think you should at least take action, even if only for ethical reasons...

PabloImpallari's picture

James:
Since there are money involved, the best thing you can do is to contact a lawyer and ask for legal advise.

Frank Martinez
http://www.martinezgroup.com/

Matthew Butterick
http://www.buttericklaw.com/

oldnick's picture

James,

(I don't know if the designers get a percentage, but others here should be able to provide info on this, (Oldnick?))

Roger splits the proceeds fifty/fifty, which is eminently fair and an additional—if relatively small—revenue stream I would not otherwise have.

As to the design dispute: MyFonts.com usually acts on complaints about design infringement, no questions asked. The gentlemanly thing to do would be to try to resolve the problem with Yellow Design before lodging a complaint; if he/she/they are cooperative, you may be able to devise a win-win scenario. If you meet resistance, then you can ask MyFonts to pull the plug.

hrant's picture

What Nick said - with lawyers to me being a foul-tasting last-resort (even though I think Frank is a good guy, and deeply experienced).

hhp

PabloImpallari's picture

@Nick/Hrant:
Even if they solve the issue in a friendly way, they will need some sort of contract. Asking for legal advice is not only for litigation.

daverowland's picture

Looks like it's been sorted now http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/yellow-design/thirsty-script/
Wonder what arrangement they came to...

hrant's picture

If people have to wonder, most will wonder something bad.

hhp

Queneau's picture

That is even less useful a description as before, still no clear credit where credits due, weak, very weak....

jamestedmondson's picture

I've emailed the designer of Thirst Script two days ago to talk about profit sharing. Unsurprisingly, he has not gotten back to me, so I'm now asking Myfonts if it's okay to take it down. I see its #19 in Hot New Fonts right now.

hrant's picture

After they remove it (I hope) MyFonts should pass along their cut of the profits to you.

hhp

PabloImpallari's picture

James, once again:
Contact Frank Martinez and let him handle it for you.

Queneau's picture

The font seems to have been pulled from MyFonts, which is a good thing, I think. I also hope that James has been compensated for.

jtaklob1982's picture

Thanks for clearing things out.

John

fontspring's picture

For what it is worth, James Edmondson worked out a deal with Yellow and asked us to continue selling the font. I don't know the details, but they did come to an agreement. FYI.

hrant's picture

Good news.

hhp

ryanmartinson's picture

Hi- I'm a little late to the discussion, but I'd like to throw my 2 cents in anyway. I'm the designer of Thirsty Script.

I have to admit I've made some mistakes in this process and definitely should have handled things differently. James and I have worked out an agreement and Thirsty Script is back up on MyFonts and Fontspring.

I'd just like to say my intentions with Thirsty Script were absolutely not to "rip off" Wisdom Script, or to make a quick buck on his efforts, etc. Originally my thought was to try and marry the edginess of Wisdom with the roundness and approachability of Lobster and mix in my own sensibilities and innovation to create something new and unique.

On its release I felt like I was successful in doing this, although in hind-sight I admit to being a little myopic. The hostility that Thirsty Script garnered definitely took me by surprise, and I think this is a tribute to James' passionate following. Truth be told I'm a bit offended when Thirsty is referred to as a "plain rip-off", and I think if someone takes the time to really compare the fonts and their shapes and their differences they wouldn't feel this way.

That being said, at the same time I do understand James' objection, as maybe the finished product is too close for comfort, and I'm happy we've reached an agreement as Wisdom Script certainly did provide much of the inspiration for Thirsty Script.

hrant's picture

Thank you for posting.

I think this is a tribute to James' passionate following

James could very well have a "following", but that's not my own motivation, and I think at least on Typophile that's not really what's happening. I think the main motivation here is protecting one's self (and more altruistically the integrity of a craft one values) by protecting somebody who engages in the same activity, even if we barely know the person in question.

hhp

ryanmartinson's picture

No Hrant, I think you've been very measured and thoughtful in your comments, and I do understand there are 2 sides to the discussion. With my statement I was speaking more about people that have been saying things like "plain rip-off" and posting nasty public tags on MyFonts. I don't think people would use that language if they weren't already passionate and had a bias toward Wisdom Script.

Dan B.'s picture

Looks like Thirsty Script is a MyFonts Rising Star now: http://www.myfonts.com/newsletters/rs/201207.html

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