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  1. jonathan.bluestein
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    jonathan.bluestein New Member

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    Fonts for books - any copyright issues?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jonathan.bluestein, Jan 6, 2011.

    Hi,

    I've been writing the early version of my book on MS Word. I've been wondering - are the fonts that come with MS Word copyright protected? I've been using Calibry - would I be able to publish my book with this font? Any nice looking fonts you may recommend?
     
  2. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    I'm guessing anybody can use any font available - I don't think there are copyright issues in terms of font.

    You might want to bare in mind though that most agents/publishers will only read the manuscript if it's written in New Times Roman or Courier.

    You can write it in any font you like but you may have to adapt it simply for the purpose of getting your book formatted to publishing guidelines.

    If your book was to be accepted for publication I am sure they might be willing to have the book appear in your chosen font - as long as it's reader-friendly.

    Hope that helps :)
     
  3. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    You are also not the publisher or the person responsible for typesetting. You write. Other people format it, unless you are planning on self-publishing. Then, you will need to look at font licensing, restrictions, and EULAs.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You're not going to get in trouble for using a font that another author uses. :p Just look up what font the publisher prefers, and use that. It's extremely crucial to follow directions when it comes to publishing guidelines.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Fonts may be protected by copyright. In certain instances, they may also be protected by trademark law.

    As Sasha said, if you are going the traditional publishing route, then you won't be the person who has to worry about which font is used. If you are self-publishing, you will want to make sure you have the right to use the font.

    To embed a font in a commercial product like an eBook, you generally need a Commercial Product License from whoever owns the rights to the font. A web search showed that Calibri is owned by Ascender Corp and licensed to Microsoft. Looking at Ascender's general End-User License Agreement, Commercial Use (including using the font in an eBook etc.) is prohibited under the general license (i.e. you need an additional license). That said, however, the license that came with the Microsoft product you are using may allow broader use. Start by checking that.
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    As others have said, if you're being published it's not your problem. If you are self publishing then yes, the intellectual property of most fonts is protected and you have to check what the license lets you do with them. I am not a lawyer but I wouldn't expect any problems using the standard MS fonts for a paper version of your work. For an electronic version you probably don't want to embed fonts because many e-readers wouldn't be able to read the embedded fonts anyway. You should probably put it online in plain text form or using one of the standard electronic publication formats such as EPUB (not MS-Word format, because although publishers like it e-readers don't, and not PDF, because although most e-readers will accept PDF they probably won't be able to scale it properly if it's too small or too large on the e-reader screen).

    Have a look at the Calibre tool when you come to prepare your work for self-publication, and look at the formatting capabilities it provides. They are the formatting options that you can be reasonably sure of working across the different platforms people will be reading on. If you can't get the formatting you want in EPUB, chances are your readers wouldn't be seeing it anyway, so why would you waste your time putting it in?
     
  7. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    You will need to read the 'User License Agreement' for the font you want to use. Each agreement will be different depending on the designer who created the font. Some are free to use as you please, some you have to pay for, some are very strict.

    If you are self publishing, you will need to do your research, as the last thing you want is a lawsuit. But I'm sure any of the standard fonts like Times New Roman, Optima, Arial are free for any use.

    Look into design articles, you will find a wealth of research on which fonts are easiest to read over bulk text as well as which fonts make good headers etc.
     
  8. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Just don't use comic sans... deal?
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or Eris. I once had to work with a textbook set in Eris, which has a reverse slant. A couple of lines gave me a headache. The irony is that it was a textbook on ergonomics.
     
  10. jonathan.bluestein
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    jonathan.bluestein New Member

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    Thanks for the reply guys.

    I intend to use a publisher, not to publish on my own.

    I still hope to have a say about the font that shall be used.

    Anyhow, although I'm already 50,000 words into my work, it's at least 100,000 words from completion.

    The book is about various subject related to martial arts, and is full of picutres, tables and such. The design is of utmost importance to me, and the font is also a part of it.

    Looking for free to use fonts, I found this one:

    http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=gentium

    Couldn't get the idea behind the license though - can I use it freely for commercial purposes, or is it limited for other things?... Didn't quite get it.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, Jonathan...looks like under that license you can embed it, use it for commercial purposes, etc. There are some notice requirements if you are bundling the font with software, but you're not doing that so it doesn't apply to you.

    As for your say on the font - a small publisher may let you have some input on that, but with larger publishers I doubt you'll have much to say about it and it is most likely they'll stick to whatever font they use for all of their other works. Unless there is a really compelling argument for changing it.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for mss you intend to submit for publication, courier new 12 pt is the most universally acceptable font among agents and publishers, times new roman being too tiny and cramped for reading in large doses all day, every day...

    however, there may be some who have a particular preference, so as noted above, always check submission guidelines and use what's required, if some other font is specified...
     
  13. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Looking at your link, that font is free for publication use, the orgainisation behind it seem to be on a crusade to bring back olde worlde fonts. Good news for you.
     

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