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Re: [Freefont-bugs] License question

From: Steve White
Subject: Re: [Freefont-bugs] License question
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2011 00:34:20 +0200

Hi Jason!

Great to hear from you!

First, if you know of any errors with FreeFont, or have any
suggestions, *please* report them on the bug reporting system at
I personally make sure that all reports are addressed, and I
personally fix many problems.

As to the quality of the UCAS range, I can tell you that in some
technical sense they are very nice.  But I am no native reader.  They
were drawn by a very active contributor to FreeFont, Daniel Johnson,
and I know he would be very interested to hear any reviews.

Regarding the license
Here is my legally-nonbinding executive summary:

The primary purpose of the GNU license is to prevent anybody from
taking this free software, in whole or in part, and claiming
proprietary ownership of it.  (This has happened in the past, and
sometimes people still try.)

Anybody can distribute FreeFont, in whole or in part.  They can even
sell a copy, or modify it.  But (except in the case of embedding in a
document--see below), they *must* include in plainly readable form the
original license, and information of where the original FreeFont can
be found, and they can in no way hinder anybody from obtaining and
using that original free software.

If the original is modified, a plain description of the modifications
must be included with the distributed version.  Any license placed on
the distributed verson must be compatible with the original license.

A special exception for FreeFont is: the font can be embedded in a
document such as a PDF file (or similar), without the PDF file
incurring the GNU license.

Now, I don't know how you have in mind to use FreeFont.

There are options, to suit various cases.

For example if you're distributing some non-free software on a CD, and
you would like to provide FreeFont for your customers, there is
nothing wrong with simply including the distribution package intact
(with licenses etc.) on the CD, with installation instructions for
your customer.

What do you have in mind?

Thanks for contacting us!

P.S.  I lived in Vancouver for 14 years.  I taught somebody how to
drive in the area around Salish Dr.

On Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 10:09 PM, Jason Woolman <address@hidden> wrote:
> Greetings,
> I work for a Native American (First Nation) group in Canada. We are looking
> for font with a character set the includes the IPA extensions utilized by
> our writing system. We are interested in the GNU FreeFont and would like to
> make some additions/amendments to the font. During this process questions
> about licensing and copyright were brought up.
> A designer we were working with states the GNU fonts looked like three known
> fonts to her, and as such, their listing by GNU would raise intellectual
> property issues. She brought up the following arguments:
> cons: Quality of fonts may be an issue (e.g., poor shaping of letters,
> missing characters, spacing and other functional problems) and there is no
> one to appeal to for correction. (It takes time, technical expertise and
> artistry to get all these things right in a typeface. People who invest
> their time and experience in that kind of activity usually need to be
> compensated. There are some exceptions, which I describe below.)
> cons: Intellectual property (IP) issues arise if the basis for the free font
> was a design someone else owned the copyright to, i.e., the party offering
> the font built on someone else's work. In a survey of thousands of fonts on
> one free-font site, Ascender Corporation found this to be one of the biggest
> problems.
> Can  you tell me how licensing was dealt with?
> We would love to work with the FreeFont and rerelease any changes/additions
> but want to make sure we are legally covered.
> Cheers,
> Jason Woolman
> Senior Archivist/RM Specialist
> Musqueam First Nation
> 6735 Salish Drive
> Vancouver, BC V6N 4C4
> Phone: (604) 269-3346
> Fax: (604) 263-4212
> address@hidden
> Confidentiality Note: This message (and its attachments) is Confidential.
> It is intended only for the person(s) or organizations(s) named above and
> any other use or disclosure is strictly forbidden.  If this message is
> received by anyone else, please notify the sender by return email, and
> delete the message.  Thank you.

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