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windex's avatar

Is "font licensing" just a scam?

Asked by windex (2932points) March 28th, 2011
4 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

As far as I know, when you buy software (OS, design, games) most if not all, come with certain fonts and you are free to use those fonts.

I am going to ignore the fact that paying hundreds of dollars to buy a single font that was actually a derivative of another font that was made 500 years ago is completely ok and not highway robbery.

I recently found out about companies that “license” fonts, the same fonts that billions of humans use on their devices.

Who made these companies the authority on fonts, and allows them to ‘license’ fonts. I thought if I purchased a font, then as long as I don’t distribute it or sell or copy it, then I’m ok.

And the fact that there are multiple companies doing this, to me, it makes it sound even more fishy. Since it’s like having multiple record companies licensing one song that they didn’t even create or own. Why are there annual fees???

Can someone please clear this up for me. This is in no way an attack on any person or community, however, I do want to say that if I had to take sides, I’d be on the side of the artists/designers.

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marinelife's avatar

Here are “The Eight Golden Rules of Font Licensing.”

laureth's avatar

This response to another question explains why some fonts cost money. Getting money for the artist who put in the work is what licensing is for. The people who make them the authority on licensing fonts are the artists who want to get paid for their work, and pay the licensing company (or companies) a cut to enforce their rights.

I work in the music field, not the font field, but the idea is the same. I, as one little person, can’t necessarily run around the world making sure people aren’t stealing my intellectual property. So bunches of people pay a company to collect the fees and such, which enable the artists to do things like feed their families.

windex's avatar

@laureth Thank you, I understand. BUT, do you realize that with their calculations, every person who ever created a font would be a millionaire?

laureth's avatar

They might be accounting for all the people that think that since they bought it, they don’t have to pay license fees. ;) I doubt BMI and ASCAP collect royalties for songwriters every time their songs are pirated, even though they’d like to.

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