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Re: fonts and lisense

From: rerdavies
Subject: Re: fonts and lisense
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 19:38:15 -0500

> > 3. do you think it is possible to use GPL fonts in a proprietary
> > product? I mean, any modification to the fonts should be GPLed, but
> > perhaps that would not regard the whole application.
> Yes, using fonts is allowed, as long as changes to the font are
> redistributed in source form.

Clause 10 of the GPL prevents distribution of GPL products within a larger
product that is not also distributed under GPL.  This prevent your intended
use, unless you can obtain written permission from the authors (yes, all of
them) of the feta font to distribute it with a non-GPL product.

Fonts fall into a peculiar gray area in copyright law. The "programs" (e.g.
the .mf  or a Postcript used to generate a Postscript font) are protected by
copyright laws. However, the output of those programs (the actual shapes)
are not protected by copyright, except in Germany (where both are covered by
copyright). If you can render the fonts to bitmap format, and then convert
those bitmaps to Postcript fonts, then, the result of that process would
*not* be covered by copyright (except in Germany). Strange but true. I used
to make a living, once upon a time, converting scanned typefaces to type-1
fonts for a plain-paper proofing system for high-end industrial typesetters,
so I know whereof I speak.

I believe the conversion from Metafont to postscript has already been done
before using freely available tools, although I don't know what the quality
is like. If you were to do the same thing, you would have a postscript font
that could be used for whatever purpose you like.


Robin Davies.

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