The Font Forging Industry

  Pesala 11:22 10 Jul 2005
Locked

click here for a page detailing some of the big companies involved in font forging.

It makes me wonder if I have any genuine fonts installed on my system at all!?

I just wasted three months editing fonts from Brendel Informatik that are all forgeries of other fonts. How is the ordinary PC user able to be sure that he or she is not infringing copyrights?

We're not talking about small change. A single set of just four typestyles of one font from a big name company like Adobe will set you back about $120, while you could pick up a CD collection of 1,000 "Funny Fonts" for less. If you are willing to pay $100 or more for a typeface, you would want to be sure it really was a legal version and not a forgery.

  spuds 14:41 10 Jul 2005

I am posibbly one of those negative type of people, and use a selection of about 6 type fonts that cover most of my limited needs.

A couple of years back, I read an article written by an academic, and it basically stated that most fonts are reproductions of other peoples work.

  Pesala 14:59 10 Jul 2005

I wonder why you consider yourself "a negative type of person" just because you don't want to use what is, after all, stolen property?

There may be a grain of truth in the idea that all fonts are derived from others — just how many ways can one write ABC so that people can still recognize them?

However, there is a difference between creating a new font inspired by another design and just replacing the copyright information in a TTF font file, which is what many retailers of digital typefaces seem to have done.

If I was designing a font from scratch, the first thing I would do is pick my favourite font as a model of excellence to aspire to. I would measure its proportions and use that as a template. I wouldn't just scan my aweful handwriting and make a font out of that.

How were the very first Gutenberg typefaces designed? I am sure that Gutenberg looked at hundreds of hand-written manuscripts before deciding how to design his lead type. Then he probably made a number of prototypes, gradually refining the letters that gave a poor printed result or which broke too easily.

  €dstowe 15:03 10 Jul 2005

I always suggest to my clients that they choose and use a font that is installed as standard in Windows/MS Office and if they want something special, have it specially created for them with a written guarantee of originality. Microsoft provide ample designs and styles and it should only be rare occasions when something non-standard is necessary.

It is not infequent that there are questions on this forum asking the source of this, that or the other font and often, when the font in question is identified, it is little different to standard MS issue, available on any Windows computer.

There also seems to be a type of obsession with some people also to stuff as many fonts into their machine as they can possibly obtain with the thought that they may be useful one day. Well, let me tell you they won't. Neither will the thousands and thousands of clip art samples that grace so many cover disks. The only thing they do is take up space on your computer. How many people use clip art on a daily basis? Very few.

In my business computers we have the MS standard issue fonts, of which we use about ten with any sort of regularity. We also have five fonts specific to clients, for which they paid an awful lot of money. Even with those, I have seen close imitations around but it just isn't worth the time or money following up any legal claims - if, indeed any claim is possible. Trademarks and logos are a different matter and we have successfully prosecuted five cases of trademark infringement in the past three years.

  Pesala 15:37 10 Jul 2005

"No Windows user can avoid using fonts forged by Monotype, because Microsoft integrated these forgeries into all versions of Windows." click here

  Pesala 15:56 10 Jul 2005

click here to compare some similar fonts from different "manufacturers." I don't honestly know which is the "original" or which are licensed reproductions if any. However, I am pretty sure that many fonts that most people think are "original" and for which they may have paid a high price, are just shameless copies, not even honest clones, but illegally renamed fonts.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 16:00 10 Jul 2005

I have yet to see someone charged with font burgling.

G

  €dstowe 16:12 10 Jul 2005

The point of me suggesting using MS fonts for clients is precautionary. If any of my clients were to be accused of "font burgling" these, there would be a long list of transgressors before my client became involved - including the great W Gates.

  Pesala 16:26 10 Jul 2005

Here's the other side of the story from Southern Software inc., who were sued (successfully I presume) by Adobe for having forged Robert Slimbach's "Utopia" click here

  Pesala 19:51 10 Jul 2005

"Defendants Paul King and Southern Software agreed to have judgment entered against them in each case for copyright infringement and intermediate copyright infringement of more than 1,100 Adobe font software programs and 35 Emigre font software programs, and agreed to have permanent injunctions entered against them barring them from distributing the font programs they created by copying Emigre's and Adobe's font software programs. The permanent injunctions also bar defendants from creating or distributing any font software which copies or extracts the points in an Emigre or Adobe font software program."

  Pesala 20:47 31 Jul 2005

Frustrated by the complexities of getting permission to edit or distribute commercial fonts, I made my own. Though it takes a lot of work, the end result is something that I can share freely, and modify as required if someone spots something not quite right.

click here (774K) to see the regular typestyle.

The font includes seven typestyles: regular, bold, italic, bold italic, small caps, bold small caps, and heavy. click here

You can download the font from click here (788K) and take it for a trial run. It is not quite ready for official release yet. Consider this a beta edition.

I have learnt that though it is a breach of copyright to modify a Truetype font, any font that was designed more than twenty-five years ago - which means most of the popular typefaces - can be traced from a bitmap and a TTF file made from that vector outline. The shape itself is not protected by copyright, though the TTF file is. This of course takes a lot more skill, time, and care than just removing someone else’s copyright notices from a font and renaming it, which is what is meant by "Font Forging."

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