Font makers devise set of rules to prevent unlicensed usage

In an attempt to reduce the prevalence of unlicensed font usage, a group of major font makers has put together a set of licensing guidelines, a collaborative first for the industry.

Font makers including Dalton Maag, Monotype Imaging, Fontsmith, Microsoft and Berthold Types have developed the Eight Golden Rules of Font Licensing. These rules outline the terms under which end users may legally use typefaces and they also address liability concerns.

‘I think it is about time the industry came together to make life easier for font users,’ explains Monotype Imaging marketing manager Julie Strawson.

‘We want to educate people about the agreements for the fonts they use, as many are long, complex and don’t necessarily get read. ‘Clients are also becoming increasingly savvy about this: if work turns out not to be original, it’s going to reflect back on the consultancy and it isn’t worth risking a reputation for the price of a font,’ Strawson adds.

Fonts are subject to the same national and international copyright law as other software and intellectual property.

The golden rules of font licensing

• Font software is always licensed to, never owned by the user

• Font software may not be modified or copied

• Terms of licensing vary according to the number of computers using the fonts

• Font software may only be embedded into documents for viewing, users should not work with them

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