Licensing

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PJMiller
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Licensing

Postby PJMiller » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:28 am

Is there any difference between the SIL Open Font License and the GNU License?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

Having looked at them the only difference I can see is the requirement under the SIL license that derivatives should have a different name.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Re: Licensing

Postby Erwin Denissen » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:22 am

From what I understand OFL allows aggregation or bundling with software under restricted licensing as well. Basically this means the OFL doesn't allow you to sell the fonts alone, but you can ask money for a software package that includes these fonts.
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William
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Re: Licensing

Postby William » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:26 am

Well, it would help for there to be links to the two documents please.

The SIL licence is, I think, this one.

http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page ... rsi&id=OFL

I am unsure as to which is the GNU licence for fonts.

Perhaps I can widen the discussion a little, whilst still including the SIL licence and the GNU licence and set down some of my thoughts.

Some years ago I thought that it would be good to try to get some of my fonts taken up by a couple of major font distributers.

This was partly to try to earn some money from the fonts but largely so that I could achieve that standing as a font designer.

I will not pretend that the money would not have been nice to receive but I was not expecting it to be much, maybe £20 a year or so, my thinking was more that I could buy a book with the money and that I would then have the book as something that I had earned due to being a font designer: an intellectual satisfaction sort of thing.

Anyway, whilst not disguising the fact that one major distributor did not wish to proceed with the font that I submitted, I did look at the rules that acceptance by various distributors would impose.

One wanted a fifteen year indemnity for legal costs if anyone made a claim that my font violated the "anyone"'s intellectual property rights.

It did not say a valid claim, it said a claim.

So it appeared to me that an unjustified claim that it cost lawyer's fees for the font distributor to refute might end up with me being required to pay those lawyer's fees. Maybe that was a correct interpretation or maybe I was unduly concerned. Maybe whatever.

Oh-oh! No way could I take that risk.

As to using a licence that is other than one that is your own, please consider which legal liabilities to which you may become exposed.

Some say about no liability other than in jurisdictions where such a liability cannot be excluded.

So where is that?

If someone were to use such a licence to licence a font, could it be argued that by using it the "someone" had accepted that his or her liability in those jurisdictions existed? I do not know the answer to that.

Also, have there been any legal cases involving the particular licence and have any legal precedents been set as to the meaning?

Another issue is what do you want to achieve by licensing your font?

One issue is that some (many? most?) businesses that use fonts will not use a font unless the business has an explicit licence for the font such that, in the event of being audited for using only licensed software, the business can produce a licence to show that it is licensed.

I am not involved in a business, yet I am very careful over which fonts I use.

For example, I use fonts supplied with Windows; fonts supplied with packages such as Serif PagePlus and a few packages; fonts with the SIL Open Font License; and my own fonts.

That is me using fonts each font within the terms of the specific licence under which it is issued, not me issuing a font with one of those licences.

Are you wanting to licence in return for money or so as to get your font widely used, or both?

I publish my fonts on the web and send copies to the British Library for legal deposit, publication being a necessary condition for legal deposit, though publication not necessarily being publication on the web.

I do not know how you feel about whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union or should leave the European Union. I am not asking you to say. I mention this to ask how you would feel if your font was used by the people having the other view in the publicising of that choice for the referendum that is supposed to be going to be held.

If that happened, would it bother you?

What other views do you have: this is just to ask you to consider in relation to possible uses of your font, I am not asking you to say.

I think that some of the licences explicitly require that no restriction on the opinions expressed using the font are made. Would you be happy to licence like that?

Just some thoughts as a contribution to the discussion: I hope that you, or anyone else, do not mind me widening the discussion about licensing. Licensing seems to me to be a very difficult issue, possibly with different answers or indeed no answer available depending upon why someone is producing fonts and wanting to publish them.

William Overington

28 September 2015

William
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Re: Licensing

Postby William » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:40 am

I have just found the following, which seems highly relevant to this discussion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPL_font_exception

William

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Re: Licensing

Postby PJMiller » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:06 pm

I would like my font to become as widespread as it's merits will allow, I am not interested in the views expressed with the font because if they didn't use my font then they would use another.

I am also happy with the GNU font exception because I have no issue with someone using my font as a tool to earn money. Again if they didn't use my font they would use another.

I would like it to be as widely and freely available as possible.

If anyone wants to use parts of it, i.e. copy and paste the Cyrillic character set into their own font I am also happy with that. (the Cyrillic set will be in the next iteration of Kelvinch)

What I would be a little unhappy about would be if someone took the entirity of my font and renamed it and edited the metadata to list themselves as the author. That would make me a little unhappy but only a little.

William - Does it cost money to deposit a font at the British Library?

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Re: Licensing

Postby William » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:56 pm

PJMiller wrote:William - Does it cost money to deposit a font at the British Library?

No.

http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/index.html

In fact I have been depositing pure electronic items at the British Library almost since the voluntary scheme started back in around 2003, maybe before.

Please note that pure electronic items are a subset of non-print items as there are other forms of non-print item than pure electronic publications.

There was a law passed in 2003 yet it only came into force on a day in 2013 when the regulations made under the Act had been made.

In the meantime the British Library operated a voluntary scheme so that they would avoid missing publications.

They used to publish an email address to use.

That is no longer on the website, though I continue to use it and deposit by email with an attachment. Continuing to deposit by email is, for me, not formally necessary as they gather from websites and I made sure that my family webspace is in the gathering list. However when I produce something that I regard as particularly important to me I do send it in as an email attachment and receive an email receipt, so I know for certain that it is archived.

I do not know if you have a UK-based webspace, yet having a UK-based webspace is not needed. It needs to be published as such, and either published in the United Kingdom or produced in the United Kingdom.

I state the link to the web page from where it is linked for a font, or to the page for a web page.

However, please be aware that recently they started using an automated spam guard which seems to reject any email that includes a link.

So now I express a link to a web page in words, with dot and solidus between the words as appropriate so that I can convey the information without actually using a link.

I think that I deposited the first font that was deposited.

Some time ago I asked if it was alright to publicise the email address now that it is not on their web pages. They asked me not to do so and instead to refer anyone to the email address for general enquiries; that email address is on the following web page.

http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/contact/index.html

I hope that this is of interest.

William

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Re: Licensing

Postby PJMiller » Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:26 pm

William wrote:I hope that this is of interest.


Thank you. It is.


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