TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Mon Jan 22 23:14:19 EST 2018

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LUC DEVROYE


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Fuck The Foundries [Mark Pilgrim]

Mark Pilgrim's blog-format page on font licensing. His opening statement, written as a reaction to restrictive licenses or permission tables: This, then, is my current thinking about embedded web fonts: FUCK THE FOUNDRIES. Seriously. Fuck them. They still think they're in the business of shuffling little bits of metal around. You want to use a super-cool ultra-awesome totally-not-one-of-the-11-web-safe-fonts? Pick an open source font and get on with your life. I know what you're going to say. I can hear it in my head already. It sounds like the voice of the comic book guy from The Simpsons. You're going to say, "Typography is by professionals, for professionals. Free fonts are worth less than you pay for them. They don't have good hinting. They don't come in different weights. They don't have anything near complete Unicode coverage. They don't, they don't, they don't... And you're right. You're absolutely, completely, totally, 100% right. "Your Fonts" are professionally designed, traditionally licensed, aggressively marketed, and bought by professional designers who know a professional typeface when they see it. "Our Fonts" are nothing more than toys, and I'm the guy showing up at the Philadelphia Orchestra auditions with a tin drum and a kazoo. "Ha ha, look at the freetard with his little toy fonts, that he wants to put on his little toy web page, where they can be seen by 2 billion people ha h.. wait, what?" Let me put it another way. Your Fonts are superior to Our Fonts in every conceivable way, except one: WE CAN'T FUCKING USE THEM. There are hundreds of replies. Dan Paluska goes: Prevention of copies is not a sustainable business model. Copyright is dead. People just aren't used to it yet. The issue is not about "right" or "wrong" or protecting your work, it is about the simple reality that copying information is free, be it a font or an mp3. Napster happened. Bittorrent happened, youtube happened, etc. Copying is not theft. It is replication. Evolution likes replication and mutation. You can't stop digital replication. So, given this fact of life, what is your funding model? it's probably something like work for hire, job by job. You can't expect to spend a year in secret designing a typeface and then release it under DRM and expect revenue. Probably you will get hired to produce a custom font for someone, then it exists for all. This is a major advantage to individuals over corporations. Free distribution to the world is the most awesome thing an independent designer could ever want. The future is awesome, it will just take us a while to get through the rough transition spots.

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html