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Re: Copyleft font licensing

On Thu, Dec 16, 2004 at 11:20:06AM +0100, Florian Weimer wrote:
> I've been asked for advice regarding copyleft ("GPL-like") font
> licensing.
> Without special exceptions, the GPL is not a suitable license for
> fonts because it is common practice to embed fonts (or subsets of
> fonts) into PDF documents (and other document formats).  In this
> scenario, the GPL would require distribution of complete source code,
> which is impractical.  This is true even if the outline font itself is
> the preferred form for making modifications because it defeats the
> purpose of subsetting.  (The written offer option is not really
> feasible, either.)

Why would subsetting be a problem?

I don't see anything in the GPL which requires source for things
which have been left out of the program being required.

If I use some files from gcc in my graphing program, I am not obliged to
include all of the source to gcc -- I only need to include the subset of
content which is relevant to my program.  Why should this issue be any
different in the context of fonts?

> Maybe fonts could be licensed under the GPL plus the following
> exception?
> | As a special exception, if a document file embeds Type 1, TrueType,
> | OpenType or bitmap fonts derived from this source code, these fonts
> | do not by themselves cause the resulting document file to be covered
> | by the GNU General Public License.  This exception does not however
> | invalidate any other reason why the document file might be covered
> | by the GNU General Public License.

That looks fine to me.

> This does not deal with artwork that contains outlines derived from
> the font (which was often used as a way around embedding, which is a
> pretty recent development).  Perhaps today, embedding can be used in
> such cases, too?

I don't understand this paragraph.



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