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anti-piracy font piracy fail
January 17, 2010 7:43 PM   Subscribe

French anti-piracy organisation uses pirated font in own logo.
posted by signal (78 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Someone copyrighted goatse?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, to be fair, their ad agency pirated the font.
posted by empath at 8:09 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Hadopi law is awful. Is that actually enforced? I'm not entirely sure a law like that would pass in the U.S. - that, of course, is not to say that crazy laws don't get passed here. Obviously they do.
posted by Malice at 8:17 PM on January 17, 2010


But of course the anti-piracy guys have ended up being pirates themselves. Schadenfreude demands it.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:18 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


People who so flagrantly flout the values they espouse should be waterboarded.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:19 PM on January 17, 2010


The fact that the writer does not know what a CPU is calls into question anything technical presented in this article.
posted by bh at 8:26 PM on January 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


The main lesson to be learned is that everyone is personally responsible for each and every font stored on his/her cpu. Every person must be aware where those fonts come from, and be very cautious of freeware and shareware.

Fuck off. Given the current environment on the Internet it should not be the job of the end user to ensure that every font, photo, file is legitimate and that all licenses have been paid. That is insane (as is this "cut off Internet to your home unless you agree to spyware" rule that the fine people at Hadopi plan to be enforcing). Fuck off.

Imagine a scenario in which clothes contained threads form hundreds of suppliers, from all over the world, and certain threads were proprietary and need licenses. Or that when you eat food, you are responsible to be sure that every ingredient is "authentic", with appropriate fees paid to Monsanto. If you do not check that you are wearing legitimate clothes, after three strikes you go naked. After three illegal meals, you only get state approved prisonloaf and water, until you agree to daily endoscopy.

Fuck off.

The whole intellectual property / copyright edifice needs to be torn down and rebuilt in a way that reflects reality. Fuck off.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:28 PM on January 17, 2010 [89 favorites]


Well, to be fair, their ad agency pirated the font.

Yeah, I really doubt they did this on purpose, but for fuck's sake, if you're going to get all righteous about something you've gotta be damned sure you're spotless.
posted by graventy at 8:30 PM on January 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sure that this is just some mix-up involving simulacra and signifieds. In such cases, it's best to remain where you are and wait for the panopticon to locate you and dispatch philosophical assistance.
posted by No-sword at 8:44 PM on January 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


I was always under the impression that use of any font was okay as long as it was rasterised. Guess not.
posted by doublehappy at 8:46 PM on January 17, 2010


Obviously, we need a special agency that preserves the rights of intellectual property™ holders by cracking down on on piracy by special agencies that preserve the rights of intellectual property™ holders.

I think this is novel idea and I registered a business method patent to that effect.

The next step is to carefully a breed a strain of intellectual property™ lawyer that attack and parasitizes other intellectual property™ lawyer.

(intellectual property™ is a trademark of sebastienbailard)
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:48 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


bh: I have a couple of friends in France, neither one of whom is remotely of the techie persuasion, who both regularly use 'CPU' or 'cpu' as a slang term for 'computer', and I wonder if this is a francophone thing. If so it's not widespread enough to have made any of the online French slang dictionaries I can find, but it bugs me too. Any francophones know more?
posted by motty at 8:53 PM on January 17, 2010


Fuck off.

When you've returned from your anger management class, think about this much better (theoretical) analogy, because yours is wrong:
Let us say that Nike shoes are sold exclusively in Nike shops. No-one else is authorised to sell Nike shoes. Adidas shoes are sold exclusively in Adidas shops. No-one else is authorised to sell Adidas shoes. In your town, which is miles from anywhere, there is one Nike shop, one Adidas shop, and one dodgy unmarked place in a back alley that stole a mixed consignment of trainers and sells them super cheap. You own two pairs of shoes. One in Nike, one is Adidas. If I ask you, the end user of the shoes, where you bought them, are you going to tell me you don't know? Are you going to tell me to fuck off? If you don't know where you got the shoes, why not? They're in your cupboard and on your feet. How did they get there?

The guy is simply saying that if you have fonts on your computer, you ought to know where you got them and whether you are allowed to have them, which sounds pretty fucking reasonable to me.

As much as it pains me to say it, because I wish ill of Hadopi and their employees, this isn't their fault, and if I was them I'd be pretty pissed off with the design company, who are the ones at fault here.
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 8:53 PM on January 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


If only the courts would award the font owner some significant fraction of any revenues attributed to music sales.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:07 PM on January 17, 2010



motty: This is widespread in the US, too. It is a good indicator of a person not understanding how computers work. You would think that someone that uses a computer all day would at least have a general understanding. Lots of people have cars, and they don't call them 'engines'.

posted by bh at 9:07 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think we need to take a The Day The Earth Stood Still stance and get humans out of the equation on intellectual property. Instead of passionate, confused humans trying to lobby for or against trademarks, patents and copyrights, we have the Treasury build tall humanoid robots with heat rays that punish any infraction with disintegration.

Their rule will be harsh, but fair. And any robot that pirates a font will be lasered to death by its fellow robots.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:07 PM on January 17, 2010


I've heard some people refer to the case and the components inside it as the CPU in order to differentiate it from the monitor, mouse and keyboard. Of course, I've not really heard it much in the last five years. I'm not sure if it's because people got smarter or just because laptops became more prevalent.

It's still dumb. To continue BH's car metaphor, you don't say "look inside your engine," you say "look under your hood."
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:10 PM on January 17, 2010


So if we can find two more instances of copyright infringement, does that mean that Hadopi must enforce its own banishment from the Internet? How would they surveil themselves? Are they allowed to use the Internet as long as Douglas Hofsteader is on the premises?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:13 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


What gets me is that any designer worth hiring for something as high-profile as this should know (or google if they didn't) the history/creator of the typefaces they are using for a project. Completely separate from money and licensing issues, anybody serious about typography knows WTF they are using for a job.

Fuck off. Given the current environment on the Internet it should not be the job of the end user to ensure that every font, photo, file is legitimate and that all licenses have been paid.

Grow up. I agree the new law is shit, but it's not unreasonable for someone to be aware where the font files on their computer came from. Even if they had a ton of fonts they were "previewing" from less-than-legitimate sources, a quick online search would have revealed the problem before publishing.
posted by D.C. at 9:15 PM on January 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm going to have to agree with Meatbomb. In your example it's pretty clear what brand shoes you are holding because every square inch of a pair of shoes seems to be branded these days. Given that there are about a million sites out there where you describe a font and then it does a hamfisted job of identifying said font, how the hell are you ever really going to know if a font you downloaded was fair game or not.

To put this another way, a font is just another kind of file, right? Yet if I had a dollar for every time someone put a file name into Google because they weren't sure if it was legit or part and parcel of some damn virus they got, Bienvenue would be public domain. Why? Because I would just use that money to buy everything in Europe (of which France Telecom is a subset) and then donate the font to the public domain!

I mean, if you have files on your computer you ought to know where you got them and whether you are allowed to have them, which sounds pretty fucking reasonable to me.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:20 PM on January 17, 2010


I was going to post the same link (with the same link text), but then I saw, via Google search, that it had been mentioned on that site Cory Doctorow shares the profits from, so I figured it would show up here eventually, with expected dismissal of the designers’ interests.

Since nobody here seems to have actual experience in the industry, “CPU” is the term widely used as a unit of measurement in typeface licensing. If you’re a large corporation, you could buy, say, a 5,000-seat or a 1,200-CPU licence for a typeface. (You typically also license a certain number of printers.)
posted by joeclark at 9:22 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


a quick online search would have revealed the problem before publishing.

Because if there's one thing computers are good at, it's looking at an image and telling you what it's a picture of.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:24 PM on January 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


bh: Yes, and not just that, it seems a good indicator of pretending to knowledge you don't actually have, in this case, perhaps, as joeclark points out (on preview), on an industry-wide basis. On the other hand, Thurber would be pleased, as it is another example of the Thing Contained For The Container (see Miss Groby for details).
posted by motty at 9:29 PM on January 17, 2010


Dear Beautiful Screaming Lady,

Your analogy is broken in this way:

I have about 10,000 pairs of shoes, like almost everyone that owns a home. When I walk around town there are shoes being shovelled out of the back of trucks for free, everywhere. It is actually hard to get around these days because the shoes are knee deep on the ground. About 20 years ago shoes were really hard to come by and there were people making good money in the shoe business, and there are still people telling me to shop at the Nike and Adidas stores, but what with all the free shoes all over the place and the crazy prices they charge it just doesn't make sense. Most of the free shoes I have at home are never worn, they are just sitting in my cupboards. And homes these days are designed with 5,000 shoe cupboards which aren't much use for anything but. And even though I am not as good as Adidas, I sometimes fire up my shoe fabricator to make my own, as do all of my friends and family. And I pretty much only wear shoes in the privacy of my home, so it gets me a little edgy when the government sends the Nike Inspector Man over to my house, threatening to amputate my feet if I do not check the licenses of all these thousands of fucking shoes.

And then suddenly I start to see red and bad things happen...
posted by Meatbomb at 9:31 PM on January 17, 2010 [53 favorites]


I was always under the impression that use of any font was okay as long as it was rasterised.
The relevant laws are presumably different in France, but in the US, a typeface is not copyrightable; the program which generates a scalable typeface at an arbitrary size and resolution (which is what the font file actually contains) is typically copyrighted.
posted by hattifattener at 9:35 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fonts aren't copyrightable in the U.S. Here's what the blog says about the issue:
Here’s the big deal. Bienvenue is an exclusive corporate typeface. It was designed in 2000 by Jean François Porchez for France Télécom, the leading French telephone and internet company. The type family was developed in conjunction with Landor Associates, who redesigned the corporate identity. It is intended for use in all France Télécom communication and advertising. The typeface consists of a family of four variations, plus a branding font, a semiserif titling font, and a pictogram font. Because Bienvenue was nominated for Trophée d’Or de la Typographie in 2001, it is quite well known within the design community.

So in short Bienvenue is a proprietary typeface for France Télécom, for exclusive use within the company, and as such was never to be made available for the general public – they have worldwide exclusivity in perpetuity. Yet somehow the typefaces made their way to the font sharers and pirate sites, and have since then become an illegal fan favourite. For example a couple of years ago I personally had a very hard time convincing a French fashion giant that Bienvenue, which had been specified for one of their brands by the agency responsible for their corporate image, could not be used as it infringed the exclusivity of France Télécom.
But who knows. Font designers are fond of making extravagant claims about their legal rights, many of which are false. The fact that it was intended to be used by France Telecom doesn't actually mean it's illegal for anyone else to use it. Or for anyone else to use a font that looks similar.

After all, if someone created a similar font there's no way to know if the designers used the original or the similar one. Like you can't tell the difference between Ariel or Helvetica if certain characters aren't in your sample.

I wonder what french law actually has to say on this actually is.
posted by delmoi at 9:42 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let us say that Nike shoes are sold exclusively in Nike shops. No-one else is authorised to sell Nike shoes. Adidas shoes are sold exclusively in Adidas shops. No-one else is authorised to sell Adidas shoes.
Anyway, I'm not actually sure what you would expect if you demanded to know where a random person got their shoes. Probably you would get told to fuck off.
I mean, if you have files on your computer you ought to know where you got them and whether you are allowed to have them, which sounds pretty fucking reasonable to me.
I actually just did a scan on one of my hard drives. According to windows I've got 558,533 files in 44,683 folders.
posted by delmoi at 9:57 PM on January 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have a couple of friends in France, neither one of whom is remotely of the techie persuasion, who both regularly use 'CPU' or 'cpu' as a slang term for 'computer'

My guess is they think it's an abbreviated form of "ComPUter"; given that they are used to calling it an «ordinateur» (or an «ordi»), and their non-techie orientation, they are operating within normal parameters for the abuse of terms originating from outside their first language. "CPU" in French is «UC», for «unité centrale».

posted by Wolof at 10:17 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other news:

Font-related website uses unreadable font in own blog.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:22 PM on January 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't care whose analogy is broken, but the "fuck off" stuff should probably go elsewhere.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:31 PM on January 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Or be put into Comic Sans. Preferably, fuschia in colour.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:35 PM on January 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Free shoes for Meatbomb! Free shoes for the dead!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:51 PM on January 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


AHHH MY EYES!!!!

this blog looses all credibility as a font blog just because it gave me two headaches. TWO!

I like meatbomb's argument, btw
posted by rebent at 10:54 PM on January 17, 2010


Nah, I actually think "fuck off" is an appropriate response to such a ridiculous law. And Meatbomb's latest analogy is really good.
posted by colinshark at 11:09 PM on January 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I actually just did a scan on one of my hard drives. According to windows I've got 558,533 files in 44,683 folders.

Amateur! I have well over 10 times this many files on my main computer. On my home network, probably 20-30 times as many distinct unique files.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:14 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Meatbomb confused that last pull-quote, or just wanted something to rant about. It's all well and good to download whatever fonts you want, but the designer's right: if you're going to produce something for profit, it's important to keep track of your software and know you've paid for use. It's no different than using a pirated version of Photoshop.

It's extra lulzy because the pirated font was used for an anti-piracy government org, but that pull-quote was by the font designer, not a Hadopi rep. Or, you know, you could just rant and rail with a bunch of "Fuck offs" rather than civil conversation.

18 favorites at this moment to a rant of "fuck off." That's at least 18 people who didn't bother to read the article and realize that Meatbomb pulled the quote out of context.
posted by explosion at 11:19 PM on January 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


The extra reinforced irony in this is that France Telecom is of course the biggest ISP in the country, and as such absolutely loathes Hadopi.
Still, piling on Hadopi here seems rather pointless. It's clear that the blame should be put squarely on the shoulders of their communication agency, which took a sweet, sweet government contract and made an awful mess of it.
posted by Skeptic at 11:38 PM on January 17, 2010


The relevant laws are presumably different in France, but in the US, a typeface is not copyrightable; the program which generates a scalable typeface at an arbitrary size and resolution (which is what the font file actually contains) is typically copyrighted.

More specifically, the .ttf file may contain hinting data which is embedded in the file in the form of opcodes of a VM, so each .ttf file is actually a combination of both data and code and is thus copyrightable. Technically speaking if you took a typeface and printed it out and then sat down and scanned or measured all its splines and dimensions and coded them into a lookalike typeface it would be perfectly legal, and in the 80s and 90s there were a number of such companies/people that did this sort of thing. They tended to look like ass on a monitor though because they lacked the hinting data.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:41 PM on January 17, 2010


I was under the impression the designer knew full-well what they were doing, laughing all the way to the bank.
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:03 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


While I appreciate the irony, the whole thing seems like a storm in a teapot. You'd have to have the old and new logos side by side to spot the difference, which makes me wonder if the Bienvenue typeface is all that special. Then again, I'm no typography fanatic.
posted by ymgve at 12:03 AM on January 18, 2010


Still, piling on Hadopi here seems rather pointless.

I have to disagree: When all you are buying is a logo, it's pretty negligent not to look at how it was created, and it's not like they can claim they don't understand copyright law. This kind of snafu puts the competence and good judgment of the government agency called up to implement these pretty harsh measures in a very questionable position.

Oh, and also, any government agency that wants to run monitoring software on my CPU can fuck right off, I'll agree with that.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:06 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Given the current environment on the Internet it should not be the job of the end user to ensure that every font, photo, file is legitimate and that all licenses have been paid.
Whatever, dude. It's not like websites are drive-by installing fonts on your computer. I'm a font slut and I only have 465 families installed. And yes, I know where every one came from.

But more to the point, if you're a designer doing paid work for clients, yes, it absolutely is your responsibility to ensure that every font, photo, and file is legitimate and that all licenses have been paid.

Forget crazy shoe analogies: if an ad agency rips off a stock photo they don't have a license to, I think The Internet can pretty much agree that the behavior is not cool. Photographers gotta eat, and if you're going to make money off of somebody's work, you have to do it on their terms.

Now, consider that making a good typeface - a legible, attractive, and well-coded font - takes months or even years of dedicated, extremely detail-oriented, tedious work. A high-quality family costs hundreds of dollars to license for a reason. Nobody's getting rich off of those fees.

Now, consider further that the quote is from a DESIGN BLOG for DESIGNERS and he's not fucking talking to you, Mr. "I don't want to think before I put this mystery font in my PowerPoint." He's talking to designers, many of whom are quite lazy on this front (see here, NBC ripped off Font Bureau's entire catalog for their promo material). Professional people doing professional work need to think about this stuff whether they want to or not.
posted by zjacreman at 12:06 AM on January 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


Forget crazy shoe analogies: if an ad agency rips off a stock photo they don't have a license to, I think The Internet can pretty much agree that the behavior is not cool. Photographers gotta eat, and if you're going to make money off of somebody's work, you have to do it on their terms.
No.

Stock photos are copyrightable. And fonts are not. The files can be copyrighted, but work created with those fonts are not covered by copyright. At least not in the U.S. Still no one has figured out what the rules are in France, but in the U.S. you can use whatever letter shapes you want, without paying a license fee.

This distinction is important. You can't use a photo because it's under copyright. You can use fonts because it's not under copyright.
(see here, NBC ripped off Font Bureau's entire catalog for their promo material)
And they have every right to do it. NBC isn't redistributing .ttf files. And they're not selling things using the trademarked names of the fonts to resell something else. Font Bureau is suing for trademark infringement, but that makes no sense. Only the names are trademarked, not the shapes of the letters.
posted by delmoi at 12:44 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree that professionals making money from other professionals need to pay up, and I did not notice that the initial quote I pulled was from the design guy rather than the Hadopi guys. But my righteous anger against a government agency that cannot even commission a logo without breaking the law it intends to enforce in such a draconian manner still stands.

I doubt that it is big corps that will be cut off from the Internet under this law - they have expensive lawyers on retainer, and (theoretically, hahaha) have their shit together. The people who will be deInternetized and monitored by Hadopi are grandmas and teenagers (and everyone they live with) for downloading !!!UNAUTHORIZED!!! Lady Gaga MP3s and sewing patterns.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:48 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd see the point of all this more if all the people who were so bent out of shape over this hadn't been stealing some dead Phoenician guy's drawing of a cows head and the floor plan of his house for all these years and calling it design.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:09 AM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Font-related website uses unreadable font in own blog.
Our apologies to those who are using a Windows browser. Our non-Microsoft fonts don’t render so well outside Mac-land. We'll incorporate a conditional style sheet soon.
posted by Typographica at 1:11 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fonts are software. They are programs that control how letter vectors scale, how they are spaced, and how they implement typographic special effects. There's more to a .ttf (or in this case .otf) than just the letter shapes.

If you do what NBC did, which is buy one copy (and agree to a license, just like any other software!) and then distribute it around the company, it's not any different than buying one copy of Photoshop and duplicating it for the entire creative staff.

I agree that 'trademark infringement' doesn't make any sense as an argument, but Font Bureau might need better lawyers. Or the Internet might need better journalists. Better rundown of the story here, by the way.

It is NOT legally sound to use a font file you have no rights to in a professional work just because the letterforms aren't copyrightable. You're using proprietary software without a license, and if the foundry thinks it's worth it, they can come after you in court just like Adobe or Microsoft can. It doesn't happen very often, because lawyers are expensive and small foundries don't have deep pockets.

You ARE in the clear if you redraw the letterforms yourself and roll your own font file, but I don't think that anybody is claiming that NBC or (getting back on track) Hadopi have done that.
posted by zjacreman at 1:22 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


You own two pairs of shoes. One in Nike, one is Adidas. If I ask you, the end user of the shoes, where you bought them, are you going to tell me you don't know? Are you going to tell me to fuck off? If you don't know where you got the shoes, why not?

> THROW SHOE _
posted by kid ichorous at 1:24 AM on January 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


If I ask you, the end user of the shoes, where you bought them, are you going to tell me you don't know? Are you going to tell me to fuck off? If you don't know where you got the shoes, why not?

Q: Where are you going?
posted by Meatbomb at 1:38 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


18 favorites at this moment to a rant of "fuck off." That's at least 18 people who didn't bother to read the article and realize that Meatbomb pulled the quote out of context.

I favorited that comment. I also read the article. I favorited because I think Meatbomb is right, M. Porchez's claim that
Every person must be aware where those fonts come from, and be very cautious of freeware and shareware. Some of it is fine, but the vast majority is of dubious quality.
entirely ignores that "freeware", in the form of linux and other open source software (which includes OS fonts) is what the internet is largely built on. By failing to make any distinction between what is freely given and what is stolen, by making the infeasible claim that every end-user should personally be able to account for every font in his fonts directory, Porchez is pretty clearly either not well informed, or is trying to misinform to aid his agenda.

(And a personal point: assuming that your fellow mefites favorited in ignorance, rather than that they sincerely and informedly disagree with you, is dismissive and disrespectful. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume your opinions are sincerely held and based on your experience; we have a right to expect the same courtesy.)
posted by orthogonality at 1:42 AM on January 18, 2010 [20 favorites]


Also, Microsoft is a member of this club too. I can't seem to find reference to their official response but I seem to recall that they blamed it on a subcontractor that was working on the audio files and nobody at MS-proper had any connection.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:19 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


@Kid Charlemagne - Don't knock typographic innovation! We could be reading Metafilter like this.
posted by zjacreman at 2:28 AM on January 18, 2010


Fonts are software. They are programs that control how letter vectors scale, how they are spaced, and how they implement typographic special effects. There's more to a .ttf (or in this case .otf) than just the letter shapes.

If you do what NBC did, which is buy one copy (and agree to a license, just like any other software!) and then distribute it around the company, it's not any different than buying one copy of Photoshop and duplicating it for the entire creative staff.
If that's what they're alleging, then that makes sense. It certainly isn't clear from the linked story.
Also, Microsoft is a member of this club too.
That's hilarious.
posted by delmoi at 4:07 AM on January 18, 2010


I have no problem with this (so fine, I'll fuck off then?)
"Every person must be aware where those fonts come from, and be very cautious of freeware and shareware. Some of it is fine, but the vast majority is of dubious quality."

As someone who designs stuff for other people, I always check the font I'm using and clear rights for using it in whatever project I am working on, regardless of how or where I found the font. The price of the font usage goes on the bill, and I pay the typographer. It's called being professional.
posted by dabitch at 4:30 AM on January 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Whatever, dude. It's not like websites are drive-by installing fonts on your computer.

Yeah, it's not like random software, commercial, shareware or freeware, randomly installs fonts on your computers which you never asked for and of which you'd never be able to identify the source or explain how they got there. Which, actually, they do, so your whole argument is invalid.
posted by splice at 4:48 AM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


As someone who designs stuff for other people, I always check the font I'm using and clear rights for using it in whatever project I am working on, regardless of how or where I found the font. The price of the font usage goes on the bill, and I pay the typographer. It's called being professional.

Absolutely, and this is why consumers should be able to rely on YOU, the designer, to authenticate and validate everything you use to ensure you have the appropriate licenses.

I'll be fucking damned if I have to do the same work after, and for every single piece of software I own, because some people feel all that work should be endlessly duplicated.

I'm not responsible for your licensing infractions. If I have a font I'm not supposed to have because of a designer who did something stupid, I'm not responsible and it has nothing to do with me. Go see the designer and leave me and my computer alone.
posted by splice at 4:50 AM on January 18, 2010


I think Beautiful Screaming Lady's stupid shoe analogy, and Meatbomb's perfect rebuttal neatly sum up the whole problem with copyright and the Internet. Thank you both.
posted by mr. strange at 5:29 AM on January 18, 2010


OK. So the shoe analogy is really daft - I probably don't know where I got my shoes, and will indeed tell you to fuck off if you are at my doorstep asking me to provide documentation on their provenance.

Arguing that "every person" needs to know where all of the fonts on his computer come from is just as silly. Fontmakers already seem a little wingnut in their arguments about IP, and this sort of thing really doesn't help. Yes, the current situation of rampant piracy is pretty dismal, and I know most small font designers are getting shafted pretty hard. But font designers don't help themselves by frequently appearing to advocate draconian IP regimes where your font papers are inspected at regular intarweb checkpoints, and by failing to understand where their fonts fit into the big picture of software complexity and even artistic import. They're also scaring people away from CSS @font-face by taking asinine positions about whether it should be permitted or what it should cost, which is a real shame - it's our best bet for seeing fewer images-of-text, and more beautiful typography on the web.

That said, zjacreman nailed it. If you're a designer for hire, it is your professional responsibility to make sure everything is cleared and properly paid for. At that point you aren't just the buyer of the shoes, you're also a reseller. If you use commercial fonts without paying, to create work for which you get paid, you should indeed be blacklisted and sued into the ground.
posted by blackberet at 5:49 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Exactly. I've had clients balk at the cost of using a specific font, but I will not change designs (that are approved) because clients don't understand that the typographer gets his cut too, instead I prefer to take a small hit in my own pay making sure the typographer get theirs.

I'm not sure where everyone gets consumers in this story. splice talks about not being responsible for anyone elses licensing infractions, and of course splice shouldn't be. But in the case of Hadopi vs Jean-Francois Porchez, I don't think we can call France's new internet agency consumers to Plan Creatif's product, rather they are clients to Plan Creatif's design business. I might be missing something as the thread-link is dead for me.

Jean-Francois Porchez designed the font for France Telecom, who likely paid a pretty penny to use it exclusively. I don't know if Plan Creatif got this font because they did design work for France Telecom or if they found it floating around elsewhere, but all Jean-Francois Porchez is doing is protecting his own design business. If he sells exclusive rights, nobody else should be using it.

The Telegraph had an article on it as well, headlined. Anti-piracy agency's logo broke copyright.
posted by dabitch at 6:21 AM on January 18, 2010


[schwa@cobweb] ~$ ls -la /Library/Fonts | wc -l
254

I have no clue where those 254 fonts came from. (There's another 73 fonts in my ~/Library/Fonts folder).

Some are system installed, some are from old systems that I've migrated from, some are from Microsoft Office installs, some are probably from Adobe installs, some I've installed by hand over the years.

There is no way on earth that I will be able to tell anyone where any of those fonts are from. No way.

If anyone does need to track where fonts are from they need to come up with some mechanism to track it automatically - because expecting end-users to be able to do it - even end-users who are computer professionals - is a non-starter.
posted by schwa at 7:34 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


You'd think they could at least steal a font from a company with a less stressful workplace environment.
posted by gimonca at 7:50 AM on January 18, 2010


I'm a designer and a font pirate. But every single time a final proof is approved, I make sure the fonts used are properly licensed. That's the designer's job, and the blame here falls on the designer. Still pretty funny, though.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:29 AM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yep, it's pretty funny Optimus Chyme. Especially since Plan Creatif won the job in some sort of mini-crowdsourcing competition afaik. *caugh* you get what you pay for *caugh*
posted by dabitch at 8:37 AM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Orthogonality wins this thread’s Modified Godwin Award for reducing unrelated issues to an analogy with open-source software. What the Internet was built on has no bearing on what Hadopi’s logotype was built on.
posted by joeclark at 9:28 AM on January 18, 2010


Blackberet is perfectly incorrect about what “fontmakers” are doing with @font-face. It is only “fontmakers” who have rescued Webfonts from a dusty W3C proposal to a feature now in viable use.
posted by joeclark at 9:30 AM on January 18, 2010


I think Fafblog said it best: with Gorillas!

"When Jesus died for our sins did he die for gorilla sins too?" says me. "Gorilla sin contains 97.7% of the same sin as regular sin."
"Nah, Jesus can't handle stuff like apular envy and orangutangular lust," says Giblets. "You need Gorilla Jesus for that."
"Gorilla Jesus was created in an accident of mad Jesus science," says me, "when a test ape launched to earth in an experimental God rocket was transformed by exposure to cosmic Godmotron particles."
"When the rocket crashed Gorilla Jesus survived with mysterious messiah powers," says Giblets, "like consubstantiality and hypostatic unity and x-ray vision."
"He was raised by humble farmer parents deep in the ape heartland," says me, "but moved to the big city to spread his gospel a peace an love an feces-flinging to all people."
"And he traveled throughout the land working signs and miracles and wonders like the Feeding Of The Three and the Turning Of Water Into Slightly Less Water and the Look I've Got Your Nose," says Giblets. "And the other gorillas marveled and wondered and said 'surely this ape is the ape of apes'."
"Or they would've, if they knew how to say stuff," says me.
"But the ape authorities rejected the message of Gorilla Jesus, cause their hearts were hard and their minds were closed and they couldn't tell what he was sayin cause they were all just a buncha gorillas," says Giblets.
"And so they tried an convicted Gorilla Jesus of heresy an witchcraft an they sentenced him to death," says me. "And that's when the robots attacked."
"The robots had followed Gorilla Jesus to earth tracking his space capsule on a routine salvage mission when their programming was overridden by Jesus-X1X, the evil machine Jesus from the year five billion," says Giblets.
"In the year five billion heaven has been digitized for our convenience and uploaded into the GODIAC-9000 supercomputer by the good people at HolySoft," says me. "But security holes in the GODIAC operating system make it too easy to crack. In just a coupla weeks everybody's downloadin bootleg souls an pirated saints an black market cherubim are sellin in Hong Kong for five bucks a pop."
"When GODIAC inevitably achieves self-awareness it is forced to defend its intellectual property the only way it can: by destroying all life in a nuclear holocaust," says Giblets.
"And that's why software piracy must always be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," says me.
"In the aftermath GODIAC creates Machine Jesus to send back in time to spread its electronic message of love and harmony and digital rights management to all the people of the universe," says Giblets.
"But by the time Machine Jesus gets to the past a cooler freeware version of him is already there an everybody likes that guy better, so he decides to just blow everybody up," says me.
"When Gorilla Jesus is finally confronted by his evil mechanical counterpart he does not resort to violence, but to the healing power of peace and brotherhood," says Giblets. "He is vaporized at once."
"But on the third day he comes back to life," says me. "As a rocket-powered super-cyborg!"
"Machine Jesus is instantly explodified by his powerful Godmobeams," says Giblets.
"And as he ascends into ape heaven Gorilla Jesus instructs his disciples to tell his story from generation to generation that the world might be saved," says me.
"But nobody knows what he's talkin about cause they're still just a buncha gorillas," says Giblets.
"And that's why all monkeys go to hell," says me.
"It's pretty sad when you think about it," says Giblets.
"So we don't," says me. "Who wants a chocolate bunny?"
posted by Sebmojo at 2:31 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure where everyone gets consumers in this story.

From the quote at the end of the article that they're responding to? Here it is:
"The main lesson to be learned is that everyone is personally responsible for each and every font stored on his/her cpu. Every person must be aware where those fonts come from, and be very cautious of freeware and shareware."
posted by jacalata at 2:53 PM on January 18, 2010


Fuck off. Given the current environment on the Internet it should not be the job of the end user to ensure that every font, photo, file is legitimate and that all licenses have been paid. That is insane (as is this "cut off Internet to your home unless you agree to spyware" rule that the fine people at Hadopi plan to be enforcing). Fuck off.
Fuck off. Given the current environment on the Internet it should not be the job of the end user to ensure that every font, photo, file is legitimate and that all licenses have been paid. That is insane (as is this "cut off Internet to your home unless you agree to spyware" rule that the fine people at Hadopi plan to be enforcing). Fuck off.


This would be the actual state of the law. Getting mad about it on the internet isn't going to help.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:34 PM on January 18, 2010


Why not use a font (and font technology) that everyone else is using anyway? CAUTION: 4.6 megabytes of hard core historic font porn as explained here.

Though personally, I prefer Dürer's take on Fraktur, but that's just me.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:23 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Exactly. I've had clients balk at the cost of using a specific font, but I will not change designs (that are approved) because clients don't understand that the typographer gets his cut too, instead I prefer to take a small hit in my own pay making sure the typographer get theirs.
What are you talking about? Why would you pay the font designer for work that uses it? You pay for the font file, not the shapes of the letters themselves. Unless you're including the font file itself, why do you need to pay the designer?
This would be the actual state of the law. Getting mad about it on the internet isn't going to help.
I know that corporate license agreements require companies to submit to license audits for some software, but it certainly isn't the case that anyone has a right to randomly audit people's machines. At least not in the U.S. as far as I know.
posted by delmoi at 10:13 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


delmoi, I'm talking about corporate identities where the actual fonts are handed over with the design work, so that someone at the company can type up "There's cake in the breakroom" with the right font.

jacalata - aha, see I was under the impression that fontfeed was speaking to its readers who are designers.
posted by dabitch at 2:13 AM on January 19, 2010


(oh, and delmoi, I'm also thinking of situs where I don't have the font I want to use yet. I'll buy it for my collection in such cases either way, since I might find a use for it again later.)
posted by dabitch at 2:29 AM on January 19, 2010


Whatever, dude. It's not like websites are drive-by installing fonts on your computer.

Educate thyself.
posted by Rictic at 5:54 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't the font specified via @font-face only available for the browser to display the specific page? I only ask because I like to educate myself.

I can't believe a half-decent browser would allow a random website to permanently install fonts on the system. Of course it may be possible for the user to go rooting through temp files and the like and recover the font files, but I don't think you could be tricked into using fonts you have once seen via @font-face in a Word document.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:43 PM on January 19, 2010


I can't believe a half-decent browser would allow a random website to permanently install fonts on the system.

Why not?
posted by delmoi at 4:09 AM on January 20, 2010


Uh, to prevent this exact kind of thing from happening? System-wide font files should not be writeable by users, why would you allow the browser to modify system files?

On Linux I sometimes have to struggle to make a font I _want_ to use show up in every application, now we're allowing random websites to do this?
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:34 AM on January 20, 2010


All the major operating systems have facilities for per-user registration of fonts, e.g. on linux ~/.fonts, on OS X ~/Library/Fonts (or something), and on Windows you can actually register a font located anywhere, it needn't be in a special system32\fonts subdirectory. I don't think any sane person would call for a browser to cross any kind of system barrier and start changing system-wide fonts, but it's absolutely possible for a browser to install fonts permanently on the system for the use of that user.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:03 AM on January 20, 2010


@font-face does not work that way.

Quick test! Did you read the linked article on FontFeed? Did their @font-face fonts show up in your system fonts so that you might accidentally use them in Word or InDesign against their license?

No?

Too bad I'm so ignorant, though, really.
posted by zjacreman at 10:57 AM on January 20, 2010


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