[RC5] Font Issues (was Re: distributed.net Design Contest)

Robert Brooks robertb at geocities.com
Mon Mar 9 16:12:58 EST 1998

Lorenzo Gonzalez noted:
>Folks, Public Domain fonts are few and far between, basically EXTREMELY
>limited and hard to come by.  I can think of about 5 usable PD fonts in my
>Thoughts? Comments? Any font lawyers out there?

Check out Chris MacGregor's Internet Type Foundry Index at
http://www.typeindex.com/ for very helpful detailed information about fonts
and the legal issues surrounding their use.  Here's the skinny... Fonts,
like computer programs, take a lot of hard work to create but once created,
can be easily distributed.  Like computer programs, it is easy to give a
font away without giving credit (or payment) to the person who created it.
But *unlike* computer programs, it is *not* possible in the US to copyright
a font once you've created it.

That's why you have Arial vs. Helvetica -- Helvetica is a trademark, but
you can't copyright the "shapes of letters", so M$ created an identical
font and gave it a different name.  (I may or may not have the details
correct, so see the typeindex.com site for much better information). 

In my opinion, distributed.net should consider supporting independent font
developers as the spiritual brethren (and sistren) of independent software
authors, and should consider either paying an appropriate price or asking a
font developer to donate a font to distributed.net.

Just my opinion, YMMV, and it might not be a good idea to let this blossom
into a discussion of free vs. not-free vs. copyright vs. copyleft etc.

Robert Brooks / robertb at geocities.com
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/4535/graph.html (Wallpaper Heaven!)
Part of the world's largest computer: http://www.distributed.net/
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