Re: truetype font licensing
All spelling and capitalization in context in the license quotes below.
Brian M. Carlson wrote:
> I've been searching for public domain fonts, and there are several sites
> that I've found. Some of them contain non-free fonts as well, but the
> public domain ones are clearly marked.
I'm not sure what you thought on these pages was acceptable for Debian, but
as I will illustrate below, most of the fonts are clearly not DFSG-free.
Most are copyrighted, not in the public domain, and if they allow
distribution at all they don't allow modification and are thus easily
identifyable as not DFSG-free.
> (GPL'd, see README)
Eric Sandeen's font is licensed in a confusing way that results in it not
being DFSG-free. The GNU GPL allows for commercial distribution and places
no limitation on distributing along side a non-free application. Sandeen's
license on the webpage above specifies a suggestion which can be ignored
(except to illustrate his apparent confusion):
Also, it is my intention that this font should NOT be distributed with a
commercial application, shareware, or other binary-only, non-free
Stronger language is used in the font file itself:
This font may not be distributed with commercial applications. Released
under the terms of the Gnu Public License, www.gnu.org
Is it the author's intention to prevent distribution with GNU Emacs, for
example, which is distributed commercially? Is this just another case of
confusing the term "commercial" with "proprietary"? Has anyone asked
Sandeen about this confusing set of terms?
This set of fonts is distributed under a license which contains the
Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice,
this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation
and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
Is this a problem? I'm not sure from reading the license exactly what
"other materials" includes.
Gaze Bold, Gaze Normal, and Gaze Italic all come with the following language:
Copyright 1994 Bay Animation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
I don't see any terms that make the Gaze fonts DFSG-free.
Other fonts from this site have problems too. They all have a text file
that says the font is in the public domain and yet the "[d]esign and data"
copyright are held by various organizations. The copyright notice uses
"(C)" which might carry no legal weight, but it still seems contradictory to
me. No terms allowing distribution or modification are listed.
This site is like so many so-called "freeware" and "public domain" font
sites--yet another radical misunderstanding of the concept of the public
domain. Hotdog, for example, is listed on the site as a public domain font.
It is however "Copyright 1992 Gerard E. Bernor. All Rights Reserved." if you
look at the font file. No terms for distribution or modification are
> (look under the Windows/PC section)
I did look there and the URL for the font file is bad. Do you have this
file? http://www.meirinsurance.co.il/wwwhebft.zip returns a 404 error for
me. The recommended X font also returns a 404 error. I had problems
downloading the recommended MacOS font too (but I wouldn't have been able to
unpackage the Binhex encoding right away anyhow).
Looking at this site I'm reminded why it is a good idea to avoid the term
URL:http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Freeware). The site
has many problematic fonts. Not one of the sample I randomly chose for
license examination ended up being DFSG-free.
Aragones: the font file says the copyright is held by Uddi Uddi and no terms
for distribution or modification are given. The text file doesn't contain a
license and it gives the URL to a website
(http://www.netspace.net.au/~joison/uddi/fonts/fonts.htm) that redirects to
a website (http://www.uddiuddi.com/) which is a portal.
Asimov: the font file contains the closest thing to a license but does not
grant permission for modification:
Another friendly font from Allen R. Walden. UNPROTECTED - Please
ALL the fonts are (c) to M.C. since she made them.
You can use the fonts on your websites, and to give them ONLY FOR FREE.
Do not sell any of the fonts.
No modification, no commercial distribution, not useful for Debian.
Alphamack: No distribution on "CD-Roms" (capitalization in context) without
written consent from AOE (the copyright holder). No sale, no
The list goes on, but my patience in finding suitable fonts for Debian does