Basic Commercial and Morris Fuller Benton

wohnesorg's picture

Regarding LinoLetter 03/05 - "Designs Determined to Inspire" uploaded by Mr. Thorsten Weil on 3rd March 2005 to this Typophile forum, I would like to add the following remarks to Section 2 on "Basic Commercial":

2. The Typeface in the New York Subway System - Basic Commercial

As far as sans serif text faces go, you'll always be on the
safe side with this old favorite: the Basic Commercial font
family epitomizes clear and objective design. These classic
forms have very few unusual qualities, and remain both
lively and legible in all weights. Perhaps this anonymity is
the reason that Basic Commercial's style has been popular
with graphic designers for decades!

Basic Commercial's design has a century's worth of history
behind it. The typeface was distributed for many years in
the United States under the name Standard Series, where it
worked its way into many aspects of daily life and culture:
for instance, it was the face chosen for use in the New
York City subway system's signage.

Grab all eight Basic Commercial font styles together in one
low-price value pack:
http://www.linotype.com/6-2387-6/basiccommercialvp.html


1) "Akzidenz Grotesk" by Adobe

More than 15 years ago, in 1989, Adobo published the font "Akzidenz Grotesk" with the following copyright notice:

"Copyright (c) 1989 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. The digitally encoded machine readable software for producing the Typefaces licensed to you is copyrighted (c) 1989 Adobe Systems. This software is the property of Adobe Systems Incorporated and its licensors, and may not be reproduced, used, displayed, modified, disclosed or transferred without the express written approval of Adobe."

Mr. Thomas Phinney of Adobe Inc. contends with reference to this Adobe copyright notice that it was Adobe that created in the year 1989 this "font software program" as "original work of authorship".


2) "Basic Commercial" by Linotype

About 5 years ago, in 2000, Linotype published exactly the same font. "Exactly the same" means that both fonts (Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" and Linotype's "Basic Commercial") have completely identical glyphs and that both fonts are completely identical "font software programs".

However, in the "Basic Commercial", Adobe's copyright notice was removed and replaced by this notice:

"Copyright (c) 2000, 2002, 2003 Linotype Library GmbH, www.linotype.com. All rights reserved. This software may not be reproduced, used, displayed, modified, disclosed or transferred without the express written approval of Linotype Library GmbH. Basic Commercial is a trademark of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG which may be registered in certain jurisdictions, exclusively licensed through Linotype Library GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. This typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton. The design may be protected in certain jurisdictions."

Mr. Bruno Steinert of Linotype GmbH contends with reference to this Linotype copyright notice that it was Linotype that created in the year 2000, i.e. 11 years later, this "font software program" as "original work of authorship".

Is it possible that Linotype, more than 10 years later and completely independently created a "font software program" that is hundred percent identical with a "font software program" created by Adobe more than 10 years ago ???


3) Morris Fuller Benton

Bruno Steinert of Linotype contends with reference to "Basic Commercial":

"This typeface is original artwork of Morris Fuller Benton."

For instance at the website

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/basic-commercial-lt/

we read about "Basic Commercial":

Design Credits
First seen on MyFonts: April 10th, 2002
Designed by: Morris Fuller Benton
Designed when: 1990
Design owned by: Linotype

And if you enter the following keywords at www.google.com

Basic Commercial Morris Fuller Benton Akzidenz Grotesk

Google displays a link to a Linotype website, whose contents has been modified, but if you click on the "cache", Google displays the old contents of website on 8. Apr. 2004 23:28:15 GMT. Here we read the cached contents of the Linotype website of 8th April 2004:

"Basic Commercial
Designer Morris Fuller Benton, 1900
About Basic Commercial(tm)
Basic Commercial font is based on the design for Akzidenz Grotesk,
which appeared with Berthold in 1900, designed by type setters whose
names have not been recorded, but whose skill cannot be overlooked."

This means that Bruno Steinert contended that "Basic Commercial" was designed by the Berthold designer Morris Fuller Benton in the year 1900.

However, Morris Fuller Benton never designed the "Akzidenz Grotesk", nor did he design Linotype's "Basic Commercial" which is 100% identical with Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk".

In "LinoLetter" of March 2005 "Designs Determined to Inspire", Bruno Steinert now tells a new story. Now, he does not mention "Akzidenz Grotesk", "Berthold" and "Morris Fuller Benton". These names are now discarded by him. Instead, now in 2005, Bruno Steinert contends that the "Basic Commercial" is identical with the font "Standard Series". He declares: "The typeface was distributed for many years in the United States under the name Standard Series".

Let's summarize: According to Bruno Steinert, the font "Basic Commercial" by Linotype, which is identical with the font "Akzidenz Grotesk" by Adobe, was created by Morris Fuller Benton in 1900 as "Akzidenz Grotesk" for Berthold, and Bruno Steinert distributed this font for many years in the United States under the name "Standard Series" and Bruno Steinert created the "font software program" for this typeface in the year 2000. Correct?


4) The Funny Font Forging Industry

Professor Devroye at his website

http://jeff.cs.mcgill.ca/~luc/legal.html

draws the attention to the report "The Funny Font Forging Industry", which is downloadable as forgers.pdf from the website

http://www.sanskritweb.de/fontdocs

In this report, Linotype's "Basic Commercial" alias Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" alias Berthold's "Akzidenz Grotesk" is seen from the point of view of public prosecutors and criminal court judges. In this report, Bruno Steinert is described as a font forger who forged the "Akzidenz Grotesk" by the "Linotype Method".


5) name removed by moderator

Those who want to have a look at the "Basic Commercial", but who do not want to waste money on this font forgery by Bruno Steinert, may visit name removed by moderator

url removed by moderator

These fonts do not contain the copyright notices so that criminal investigators cannot decide whether the fonts at the name removed by moderator are Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" or Linotype's "Basic Commercial" or Berthold's original "Akzidenz Grotesk". This is no surprise, since all these fonts are identical with the exception of the copyright notices.

If you open Berthold's "Akzidenz Grotesk" with a font editor and replace the Berthold copyright notice by the Adobe copyright notice, you create Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk".

If you open Adobe's "Akzidenz Grotesk" and replace the Adobe copyright notice by the Linotype copyright notice and additionally replace the name "Akzidenz Grotesk" by "Basic Commercial", you create Linotype's "Basic Commercial".

If you open the name removed by moderator fonts and replace the name "Basic Commercial" by "Basic Crimes" and if you insert the notice "Copyright by Criminals", you create a general-purpose version for the criminals in the font forging industry.

Any lawsuits instituted against the name removed by moderator would be most interesting from the legal point of view, since all three fonts are identical:

Mr. Harvey Hunt of Berthold would contend at court that it was he, who wrote the "font software program" of "Akzidenz Grotesk" ("Copyright by Berthold...").

Mr. Thomas Phinney of Adobe would contend at court that it was he, who wrote the same "font software program" of the same "Akzidenz Grotesk" ("Copyright by Adobe...")

Mr. Bruno Steinert of Linotype would contend that it was he, who wrote the same "font software program" of the "Basic Commercial" ("Copyright by Linotype...").

Wilhelm Ohnesorg, Germany

Bruno Steinert's picture

If you intend to obfuscate the legal situation on fonts, simply mingle trademark rights, design copyrights and data copyrights.

Statement:

Linotype formerly offered typeface fonts under the name "Akzidenz-Grotesk" under license from H. Berthold AG. Linotype discontinued sale of those typeface fonts in approximately 2000. "Akzidenz-Grotesk" is offered by Berthold Types Limited of Chicago, Illinois. "Akzidenz-Grotesk" is a registered trademark of Berthold Types Limited.

"Basic Commercial" is in the style of H. Berthold A.G.

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