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Re: [PPLetterpress] Legal Protection of Fonts?

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  • Peter Fraterdeus
    Katie Good questions all! I ve been in the digital type biz since 1987, when I released Prospera and started my Alphabets, Inc. (www.alphabets.com) Prospera
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 17, 2002
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      Katie

      Good questions all!
      I've been in the digital type biz since 1987, when I released Prospera and started my "Alphabets, Inc." (www.alphabets.com)

      Prospera was the result (partially) of work I'd done under a NEA Design Project Grant, which included some study with Hermann Zapf at RIT, and research in Europe, as well as plenty of toner run through the LaserWriter ;-)

      In a word : yes.
      We must 'grit [our] teeth and wave good-by to the kids' as you put it.

      There is simply no way to sell a digital type product that can't be treated like a Doberman's favorite sock toy. Moreover, it's not only the unwashed that partake in this ;-)

      Nonetheless, I personally believe that the fine people who actually PURCHASE fonts (as opposed to the art and design students who generally "inherit" huge libraries from their educational institutions) DO respect the designers.

      Also, modern type design should, clearly, take into account the, 'plastic' nature of the instant repro technology, and be, at minimum, forgiving, or better, designed for adaptation of this nature... Of course, such efforts are easily defeated, in any case...

      At 9:02 AM -0400 2002-10-17, Katie Harper wrote:
      >All this talk about copyright of fonts and how broad or narrow the
      >protections, brings up another aspect. What about type designers and what
      >happens to their copyrighted artwork?
      >
      >A serious problem that also was not a factor in the analog days is the
      >ability of the digital font user to actually change the way the type looks.
      >I'm not talking here about the incremental changes to a font that make it
      >print better on letterpress, but what is far more common: the great unwashed
      >out there taking a well designed letterform and squeezing it, squashing it,
      >smashing it, stretching it, pulling its legs and arms off without mercy...
      >etc., all because the computer lets them do it and no one is telling them
      >that maybe it's not okay... As a teacher, I spend a lot of time trying to
      >instill in my students a respect for the type designer's product, but most
      >people are using computers without any such guidance.

      A crime, indeed, yet, in the overall perspective of real life, a petty misdemeanor.
      Would we rather have graphical computers only available to the professional, registered typographic communicator???

      No. The display of bad typography is a great boon to the exchange of ideas.
      Also, it makes our meticulous work look even better than it deserves l;-)

      While the majority will continue to use dtp software with results that make us queasy, there are those that have begun on the path to enlightenment, sometimes through the gentle prodding of teachers like yourself, other times, simply by coming to the realization that there's something that designers do that seems to make a positive difference in how well that message is received.

      >
      >This to me is a far greater crime. I think back to the days when Fred Goudy
      >would design a font that was distributed to printers around the land,
      >sleeping well at night because he could know with a reasonable certainty
      >that anyone who used his fonts would produce the letterforms that he

      Fred Goudy lost plenty of sleep, precisely because many of those printers were using his letterforms from foundries that blatantly stole and reproduced them!

      >designed. A digital type designer sends his or her children off to a very
      >cruel world. Do they just grit their teeth and wave good-by to the kids? It
      >would be interesting to know if there is any legal protection for the
      >designs and their integrity.

      Not in the US, other than design patents, which are harder to enforce, due to need to prove 'uniqueness'. Design patents are given for furniture lines, table ware, etc...

      In Europe there are far stronger protections on the actual shapes of the letters. Here, the only thing that CAN be copyrighted is the SOFTWARE that produces the outlines! (and thus the data points and any derivatives thereof.)

      >Katie Harper
      >Ars Brevis Press
      >Cincinnati, OH
      >513-233-9588
      http://www.arsbrevispress.com

      Nonetheless, as I mentioned, those that BUY fonts are not usually the ones that worry them.
      Also, some of the high end boutique 'foundries' charge enormous prices and include extra goodies (letterpress booklets among them if I recall) to provide their users with an 'incentive', if you will, to, first, not give the font away to all their friends, and second, to use it with knowledge and respect...

      In any case, I've come a long way from my early typographic conservatism (I'm still a social liberal ;-) and I now feel that freedom to communicate is far more important than fussy, possibly elitist notions about OTHER people's use of type. This (I hope) clearly doesn't mean that >>I<< would abuse a beautiful design for shock value ;-)

      Cheers!

      Peter

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      www.semiotx.com Magical Images from the Moon's Garden!

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    • caldrich45
      As long as the font is for your own use and you don t sell or give the altered font away, you can do what you want with it. I believe that is fair use. You
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 31, 2002
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        As long as the font is for your own use and you don't sell or give the altered
        font away, you can do what you want with it. I believe that is "fair use." You
        can tear pages out of a book and highlight and cross out passages if you so
        desire. you can paint over someone else's canvas if you have purchased a
        painting. To me, this is no different. I belieive that legally, fonts are not
        copyrighted, only the name. Once you alter it, you should rename it, it then
        becomes a different font.
      • Gerald Lange
        Hi Yes, I think there is a legal simularity between the physical object that one is in possession of versus the intellectual effort of the creator... But when
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 31, 2002
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          Hi

          Yes, I think there is a legal simularity between the physical object
          that one is in possession of versus the intellectual effort of the
          creator...

          But when you rename a font as far as I know the code name, the FOND
          identification, is not altered. Could be wrong about that but I thought
          both FOG and FL don't alter this. Maybe I'm confused about this?

          Gerald

          caldrich45 wrote:

          >As long as the font is for your own use and you don't sell or give the altered
          >font away, you can do what you want with it. I believe that is "fair use." You
          >can tear pages out of a book and highlight and cross out passages if you so
          >desire. you can paint over someone else's canvas if you have purchased a
          >painting. To me, this is no different. I belieive that legally, fonts are not
          >copyrighted, only the name. Once you alter it, you should rename it, it then
          >becomes a different font.
          >
          >
          >
        • Brian Allen
          RE: regenerating font files in Fontographer (version 4+ for the Mac) - one can change the FOND ID number when making Macintosh PostScript fonts. When you get
          Message 4 of 18 , Nov 3, 2002
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            RE: regenerating font files in Fontographer (version 4+ for the Mac) - one
            can change the FOND ID number when making Macintosh PostScript fonts.
            When you get to the "Generate Font Files" dialog and ask for a Macintosh
            font, you'll see on the right side of the dialog: "Bitmap font to output"
            "Format: NFNT, ID:xxxxx" (some number will be here)
            This is the FOND ID number to change (use one less than 15,000)
            When altering a font for personal use, one should both alter the name AND
            the FOND ID number, to be sure ATM, application, and printer driver aren't
            confused. And further, it's best to reboot your machine and printer to clear
            cached memory of font ID numbers before installing the new font.
            Brian Allen
            who works in font production for Agfa Monotype
            Mountain View, California
            -----------
            on 10/31/02 8:43 AM, Gerald Lange at bieler@... wrote:

            > Hi
            >
            > Yes, I think there is a legal simularity between the physical object
            > that one is in possession of versus the intellectual effort of the
            > creator...
            >
            > But when you rename a font as far as I know the code name, the FOND
            > identification, is not altered. Could be wrong about that but I thought
            > both FOG and FL don't alter this. Maybe I'm confused about this?
            >
            > Gerald
            >
            > caldrich45 wrote:
            >
            >> As long as the font is for your own use and you don't sell or give the
            >> altered
            >> font away, you can do what you want with it. I believe that is "fair use."
            >> You
            >> can tear pages out of a book and highlight and cross out passages if you so
            >> desire. you can paint over someone else's canvas if you have purchased a
            >> painting. To me, this is no different. I belieive that legally, fonts are not
            >> copyrighted, only the name. Once you alter it, you should rename it, it then
            >> becomes a different font.
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ? To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
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            > ? Encountering problems? contact:
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            >
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            >
          • Gerald Lange
            ... Brian Thanks. I ve never done this and thus far neither my laser printer or any imagesetter that has been used has been confused. (?) Am I just lucky? I ve
            Message 5 of 18 , Nov 3, 2002
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              Brian Allen wrote:

              >RE: regenerating font files in Fontographer (version 4+ for the Mac) - one
              >can change the FOND ID number when making Macintosh PostScript fonts.
              >When you get to the "Generate Font Files" dialog and ask for a Macintosh
              >font, you'll see on the right side of the dialog: "Bitmap font to output"
              >"Format: NFNT, ID:xxxxx" (some number will be here)
              >This is the FOND ID number to change (use one less than 15,000)
              >When altering a font for personal use, one should both alter the name AND
              >the FOND ID number, to be sure ATM, application, and printer driver aren't
              >confused. And further, it's best to reboot your machine and printer to clear
              >cached memory of font ID numbers before installing the new font.
              >Brian Allen
              >who works in font production for Agfa Monotype
              >Mountain View, California
              >
              >

              Brian

              Thanks. I've never done this and thus far neither my laser printer or
              any imagesetter that has been used has been confused. (?) Am I just lucky?

              I've been trying to put together a cheat sheet on FL like I did for FOG.
              I see no real controls to recalc bitmaps or import metric info from the
              original font like one would do in FOG. I've talked to an FL tech and he
              says you don't have to, FL does it automatically. Well not from the
              looks of the fonts I've generated. Spacing attributes are not correct at
              all. Any tips and tricks? The manual is a complete nightmare, though I
              must say I do like the Transformation Range capabilities.

              Gerald

              >
              >
            • Brian Allen
              Gerald - I expect you ve been a little lucky. When you open the printer font file in Fontographer the first time and then generate a new Mac font + bitmap
              Message 6 of 18 , Nov 3, 2002
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                Gerald -
                I expect you've been a little lucky. When you open the printer font file in
                Fontographer the first time and then generate a new Mac font + bitmap
                suitcase, a new FOND number is randomly generated. If you reopen that FOG
                database file to make further alterations, Fontographer keeps that same FOND
                ID when generating the new font files. This is where you might get fooled
                and not see a change you thought you made.
                Generally speaking, when a font is downloaded to an output device, the font
                ID is checked. If a laser printer, say, already has something with that
                number, theoretically it won't download a new font with the same ID and will
                use the font data it had already cached. But with the level of complexity
                now between operating systems, ATM, printer drivers, etc., it's hard to know
                what goes on!
                At work when I'm testing changes to PostScript fonts I reboot everything
                between new installations, to be confident I am seeing the latest. (And I'm
                using a specific FOND ID throughout the production cycle, so that's a reason
                for continual rebooting.)
                Brian Allen
                Mountain View, CA

                on 11/3/02 8:24 PM, Gerald Lange at bieler@... wrote:
                > Brian
                >
                > Thanks. I've never done this and thus far neither my laser printer or
                > any imagesetter that has been used has been confused. (?) Am I just lucky?
                >
                > I've been trying to put together a cheat sheet on FL like I did for FOG.
                > I see no real controls to recalc bitmaps or import metric info from the
                > original font like one would do in FOG. I've talked to an FL tech and he
                > says you don't have to, FL does it automatically. Well not from the
                > looks of the fonts I've generated. Spacing attributes are not correct at
                > all. Any tips and tricks? The manual is a complete nightmare, though I
                > must say I do like the Transformation Range capabilities.
                >
                > Gerald

                >
                >
                > Brian Allen wrote:
                >
                >> RE: regenerating font files in Fontographer (version 4+ for the Mac) - one
                >> can change the FOND ID number when making Macintosh PostScript fonts.
                >> When you get to the "Generate Font Files" dialog and ask for a Macintosh
                >> font, you'll see on the right side of the dialog: "Bitmap font to output"
                >> "Format: NFNT, ID:xxxxx" (some number will be here)
                >> This is the FOND ID number to change (use one less than 15,000)
                >> When altering a font for personal use, one should both alter the name AND
                >> the FOND ID number, to be sure ATM, application, and printer driver aren't
                >> confused. And further, it's best to reboot your machine and printer to clear
                >> cached memory of font ID numbers before installing the new font.
                >> Brian Allen
                >> who works in font production for Agfa Monotype
                >> Mountain View, California
                >>
                >
                > ? To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                > PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                > ? Encountering problems? contact:
                > PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                > ? To unsubscribe:
                > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
              • Gerald Lange
                ... file in ... that FOG ... same FOND ... fooled ... the font ... and will ... complexity ... to know ... (And I m ... a reason ... A long, long time ago a
                Message 7 of 18 , Nov 3, 2002
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                  --- In PPLetterpress@y..., Brian Allen <allenprinter@y...> wrote:
                  > Gerald -
                  > I expect you've been a little lucky. When you open the printer font
                  file in
                  > Fontographer the first time and then generate a new Mac font + bitmap
                  > suitcase, a new FOND number is randomly generated. If you reopen
                  that FOG
                  > database file to make further alterations, Fontographer keeps that
                  same FOND
                  > ID when generating the new font files. This is where you might get
                  fooled
                  > and not see a change you thought you made.
                  > Generally speaking, when a font is downloaded to an output device,
                  the font
                  > ID is checked. If a laser printer, say, already has something with that
                  > number, theoretically it won't download a new font with the same ID
                  and will
                  > use the font data it had already cached. But with the level of
                  complexity
                  > now between operating systems, ATM, printer drivers, etc., it's hard
                  to know
                  > what goes on!
                  > At work when I'm testing changes to PostScript fonts I reboot everything
                  > between new installations, to be confident I am seeing the latest.
                  (And I'm
                  > using a specific FOND ID throughout the production cycle, so that's
                  a reason
                  > for continual rebooting.)
                  > Brian Allen


                  A long, long time ago a tech at Altsys told me never to regenerate
                  from one of their database files so I've always just tossed them.
                  Guess that was good advice.

                  I note that FontLab constructs a ghost font during the entire process,
                  somehow linking this with ATM (for the previews), and then dumps it
                  when the font is saved.. I've been tossing their database files as
                  well. Though I suspect one should start saving the AFM files as we
                  move ever closer to current and forthcoming technologies. (?).

                  Gerald

                  Gerald
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