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Japanese font license problem


I sent this announce to debian-devel yesterday, but send again for
discussing this issue (thanks your advice, Branden).

I've already sent BTS to each package maintainers.


Hash: SHA1


Debian JP Project reports to Debian Project about Japanese fonts
included in Debian archive and which has a serious license
violation. Debian Project should case for this problem immediately.

* Debian packages which receive influence

  o ttf-xtt-watanabe-mincho
  o ttf-xwatanabe-mincho
  o watanabe-vfont
  o ttf-xtt-wadalab-gothic
  o xfonts-intl-japanese-big
  o ttf-kochi-mincho / ttf-kochi-mincho-naga10
  o hbf-kanji48

* background
In June 2003, KANOU Hiroki who is one of the developer of Kochi
font, FREE Japanese font, noticed that a part of characters in the
Kochi font are closely similar to a font that is provided by the font
vendor, TYPEBANK Co., Ltd.

Kochi font is based on so-called "Watanabe font" and is diverting
the part of the font. The same-looked fonts that is found in this
time matches this Watanabe font. Watanabe font was certainly
converted from LABO123 32-dot font which was distributed as Public
Domain Software.

As a result of KANOU's investigation, LABO123 32-dot font is same as the
bitmap font (TYPEBANK Mincho M) that was developed by TYPEBANK Co.,
Ltd. and HITACHI Ltd. collectively, and copied without
any authorization. Therefore, LABO123 32-dot font, Watanabe font and
any other derivative fonts violate the license of TYPEBANK and HITACHI.

In 29th September 2003, HITACHI announced as following:
(It is not available in English yet.)

  o This 32-dot font is developed by HITACHI and TYPEBANK
    collectively, and both company have the copyright. Therefore, this
    font can not be used, published and distributed without agreement
    with both company.
  o In the case of diversion with Linux, that was no
    agreement. However, considering about the advancement of Linux and
    collaborating this movement, this font is available in the
    restricted situation. Those who want to use this font should make an

In addition, Hitachi, Ltd. replies to a questioner as following:

  o disable to distribute a AS-IS copied fonts (LABO123 32-dot font,
    Watanabe font).
  o restrict Kochi font to be non-profit use only. Conclude a
    license agreement between a Kochi font producer and
    HITACHI-TYPEBANK, and indicate the using of the copyright of
    HITACHI-TYPEBANK in the publish announcements and/or the
    Distributors should contact to a Kochi font producer, not
    HITACHI-TYPEBANK. How does the Kochi font will be distributed is
    decided with a creator of Kochi font, the target of distribution
    is not limited to the Linux systems.

* response
The following list includes the packages which is to be affected and
our recommended response.

  o ttf-xtt-watanabe-mincho
    Watanabe font is required to be removed.
    stable: remove
    unstable: remove

  o ttf-xwatanabe-mincho
    Watanabe font is required to be removed.
    stable: remove
    unstable: remove

  o watanabe-vfont
    Watanabe font is required to be removed.
    stable: remove
    unstable: remove

  o ttf-xtt-wadalab-gothic
    It has Watanabe font in a small part of symbol character.
    stable: replace with fix or remove
    unstable: replace with fix or remove

  o xfonts-intl-japanese-big
    This package includes the problematic 32-dot font. Current stable
    and unstable include the upstream version 1.2, however version 1.2.1
    is replaced with the problem-free font.
    stable: replace with the GNU intlfonts 1.2.1 or remove
    unstable: replace with the GNU intlfonts 1.2.1 ASAP

  o ttf-kochi-mincho / ttf-kochi-mincho-naga10
    This package is based on problematic Watanabe font. Revision
    1.0.20030809-1 and later are replaced with problem-free font.
    (In the case of Ghostscript 7, gs will be broken without applying
    the patch in Bug#205055, though.)
    stable: replace with 1.0.20030809-1 and later, or remove
    unstable: no problem

  o hbf-kanji48
    48-dot font in this package is problem-free font. However, the
    sentence in the Description [and the vector font in the
    "watanabe-vfont" package.] may cause a misunderstanding.
    stable: needless to response
    unstable: fix the Description

The distributed package files, media, ISO images are not required to
get in back, but the next Debian Woody revision, Sarge and the
future release are required to these responses.

In addition, we recommend that users and vendors don't redistribute these
problematic fonts.

We will submit the bug report to the maintainers of each package and
ftp maintainers to response this problem as the following this e-mail.

(Translated into English by Nobuhiro IMAI and Matanuki. Thank you)

- -- 
Debian JP Project Leader
Kenshi Muto
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