1. Timothy Schablin

    Timothy Schablin New Member

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    any legal issues using fonts?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Timothy Schablin, May 13, 2018.

    When using a computer to write a book, and using fonts that came with it, are those fonts free to use for books we are selling?

    Also, what about emoji icons?
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    How are you using the fonts? Are you embedding them in an electronic file (like an ebook)?
     
  3. Timothy Schablin

    Timothy Schablin New Member

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    no eBook. Just print. I'm pretty sure emoji icons are copyrighted and need a license to use. But not sure about fonts.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    The typeface isn’t protected by copyright. The font file is, but if it came with the computer I imagine there’s a pretty broad license. I haven’t looked. Using those out of the box fonts for a print book isn’t something I’d worry about.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'd be more concerned about it looking shit printed. Most display fonts aren't meant for professional printing, especially on covers.
     
  6. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Contributor Contributor

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    Yes, the main problem is that computer fonts often look crappy when printed.

    I'd find good print fonts online that are free for commercial use (or buy a license if required).
     
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  7. noobienieuw

    noobienieuw Banned

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    Some are protected by copyright andor trademark.
    Most good fonts need a license for commercial use.

    Not sure what microstuff's rules are for using the fonts that come with a PC.

    You can buy rights to many good fonts cheap. Or you can buy rights to use great fonts at a higher price.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Please ignore the utter cobblers above. It's a really bad idea to give definitive advice when you patently haven't got a clue.

    There are lots of fonts that are free and suitable for cover work... As I said before the key is to use a print font not a display font. Pretty much anything that comes preloaded in professional design software is licensed for commercial work.

    Eta the utter cobblers to which I referred turns out to have come from a remember... That is a member previously banned.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    No. At least, not in the U.S. The typeface, that is, how the font actually looks, is not protected by copyright. Only the underlying computer code for displaying it is protected.

    The name of a particular font can be protected by trademark law, but again not the appearance itself.
     
  10. noobienieuw

    noobienieuw Banned

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    That is not what I have found when I had researched this. Do you have any citations or rulings that confirm your statement.

    Don't forget typfaces were protected long before there were even computers. So computer code is not relevant unless they have recently changed the law.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    There's the copyright office's own circular, which states:

    "Copyright law does not protect typeface or mere variations of typographical ornamentation or lettering. A typeface is a set of letters, numbers, or other characters with repeating design elements that is intended to be used in composing text or other combinations of characters, including calligraphy. Generally, typeface, fonts, and lettering are building blocks of expression that are used to create works of authorship. The Office cannot register a claim to copyright in typeface or mere variations of typographic ornamentation or lettering, regardless of whether the typeface is commonly used or unique."

    https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ33.pdf

    There's Eltra Corp. v. Ringer, 579 F. 2d 294 (4th Cir. 1978).

    "Under Regulation 202.10(c) it is patent that typeface is an industrial design in which the design cannot exist independently and separately as a work of art. Because of this, typeface has never been considered entitled to copyright under the provisions of § 5(g)."

    There's Adobe Systems Inc. v. Southern Software, Inc., 45 U.S.P.Q.2d 1827 (N.D. Cal. 1998).

    "In a 1988 Copyright Office Policy Decision, the Copyright Office determined that digitized typefaces were not copyrightable because they were not computer programs and required little selection or arrangement beyond that dictated by the uncopyrightable typeface design." (emphasis added).

    Adobe Systems notes that the underlying software, the computer code, can be protected, as I stated above. It cites to actual rulemaking by the Library of Congress, which states:

    "Pursuant to Congress's judgment in the 1976 Act and case law, the Copyright Office does not register claims to copyright in typeface designs as such, whether generated by a computer program, or represented in drawings, hard metal type, or any other form.

    The Office does, however, register claims in original computer programs whether or not the end result or intended use of the computer program involves uncopyrightable elements or products."

    (57 FR 6201-01, 1992 WL 29306(F.R.) RULES and REGULATIONS LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, Copyright Office,
    37 CFR Part 202)


    A quick Google search picks up most of this, so maybe you can share your research that favors the counter-proposition and we can see how authoritative it is.
     
  12. noobienieuw

    noobienieuw Banned

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    Thank you very much.

    I never researched it in depth but went by what I had read. Clearly biased by those who were making fonts.

    Of course back then they may have just had patent and trademark protection.
    Computers have certainly changed many things.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    What happens is many of them don't bother to distinguish between the "font," which from what I've read really means the computer instructions that are protectable, and the typeface. So you'll see content on the internet conflating the two and confusing the copyright aspect.

    And, as @BayView noted earlier, I'm talking about U.S. law here. I don't know what other countries do with respect to copyright protection for typefaces.
     

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