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Author Topic: Font Policing  (Read 767 times)

Necrozius

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Font Policing
« on: June 08, 2016, 08:51:09 AM »
Hello!

I've noticed that several indie publishers are using all kinds of fonts: some are commercial.

One in particular uses a font that I know for a fact requires purchase for commercial use... and an entire community of indie writers are producing (and more importantly, selling) PDFs with this font.

The cynic in me is assuming that very few, if any of these people actually purchased the proper rights for commercial use. Is this a problem?

Should I be concerned? Is there a risk of getting caught at the indie RPG designer level?

I ask because I, too, would like to produce content for this game and I'm worried about getting caught. But I'd like to match the core product's branding (look and feel).

Sure I could just buy the font, but there are already so many free ones out there that look similar and I don't want to spend 70-90$ (or more, CAD) on something that I feel that others probably haven't paid for.

Thanks for any advice,

JesterRaiin

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Font Policing
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2016, 09:50:52 AM »
Quote from: Necrozius;902552
Sure I could just buy the font, but there are already so many free ones out there that look similar and I don't want to spend 70-90$ (or more, CAD) on something that I feel that others probably haven't paid for.

...

I'm not sure I understand it properly, but if there are similar, only free fonts, why not use one of them instead?
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daniel_ream

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Font Policing
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 10:02:53 AM »
That's almost certainly what's being done in the OP's examples.  For just about every major commercial font there's a freeware equivalent that's nigh-indistinguishable.  Much of what you're paying for in a commercial font is the kerning and hinting information.
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Necrozius

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Font Policing
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 08:27:38 PM »
Yeah you're right, screw it. I'll find something similar.

Still, I wonder if those people will eventually get caught. The indie RPG scene is rather minor in the grand scheme of things, of course. But you never know.

Xanther

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Font Policing
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 01:11:45 PM »
All it takes is one font owner to send a letter.  Some companies police things better than others.  Since Indie RPGs have little money they will probably force them to withdraw all product or buy a license.  Otherwise it's pretty much copyright infringement.
 

estar

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Font Policing
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 08:20:57 AM »
Note I purchased two Souvenir fonts from Adobe. I looked over my license documentation and the basic gist is that.

1) I can't give the font file to anybody else.
2) I can embed it into a PDF
3) If I use it in a application as an embedded resource that is a separate license.
4) If I make a bitmap from it (BMP, PNG, JPG) it not consider embedding or copying the font.

In short using the font is similar to the rights you get from using stock art. You buy it, you can't distribute the original file as is, but you can use it in your work.

But unlike stock art there generally is no requirement for attribution for the fonts you use.

Granted given the ease of digital copy I am sure there people passing fonts around. But it would be way more difficult than art to prove this. Especially given the free clones that are floating around.

estar

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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 08:26:37 AM »
And to complicate things there is an open source community for fonts found here.
https://fontlibrary.org/

and this
https://www.google.com/fonts
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 08:30:58 AM by estar »

Bren

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Font Policing
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2016, 12:14:47 PM »
Quote from: estar;903522
3) If I use it in a application as an embedded resource that is a separate license.

This is interesting. I understand why the licensor might not want me to embed the font. But if I can't embed the font at all, then when I provide a rule set, character sheet, adventure supplement in MS-Word the licensed font won't view or print correctly for them unless they have the licensed font on their computer. (I've had this problem with custom character sheets I've and handouts I've created and given to my players for Star Wars and Honor+Intrigue.) That would seem to make using a licensed font somewhat problematic.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 12:16:57 PM by Bren »
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daniel_ream

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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 01:23:18 PM »
The point of that clause is compiled software that might use the font for dialog boxes or display screens or something.  In that case they usually want a per-sale cut.

Your example is a bit of a corner case; since everything you might want a MSWord doc to do as a saleable product you can do with PDF, Adobe has no incentive to deal with that particular outlier.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
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Skarg

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Font Policing
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2016, 12:22:16 PM »
Can a printer (company that prints books for other people/companies) buy a bunch of fonts and then print things for writers who haven't licensed the font? Seems to me this could allow someone to write a book using a font that their printing company had licensed, not the author themselves.

Nobby-W

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Font Policing
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2020, 07:25:01 AM »
Quote from: daniel_ream;902558
That's almost certainly what's being done in the OP's examples.  For just about every major commercial font there's a freeware equivalent that's nigh-indistinguishable.  Much of what you're paying for in a commercial font is the kerning and hinting information.
Apologies for the necromancy, but the hinting and kerning information is what makes a font look good.  On display faces at larger point sizes you can work around it by manually kerning and the font rendering OK at size (although this will work a lot better in print than on-screen) but for text being set at 9 or 10 point you absolutely need a font with good kerning and hinting data.  It will look terrible otherwise, and hinting and font design for screen rendering is another whole topic in itself.

Individual fonts aren't all that expensive, even if large collections like Adobe Font Folio can run into thousands.  For a publication you're probably best off shelling out for the fonts you use as there are probably only going to be a few of them.  If you're (for example) a jobbing printer with an in-house art department, or a graphic designer then you may have to shell out for a large font pack.

One little protip that's worth noting is that old versions of Corel Draw go for peanuts on ebay and come with a collection of around 1,000 high quality fonts from Bitstream.  They also used to turn up in bargain bins quite often as well.  Corel Draw is also a fairly decent drawing program and will run just fine on older hardware.  It also comes with a paint program and a whole bunch of other stuff - it's always been good value for money.

And, yes, I used to work in this field at one point.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 07:31:42 AM by Nobby-W »
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