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Re: Copyleft font licensing

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.)
> 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.
> (This is modeled after the GNAT exception for the GPL.)
> 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?

See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#FontException , which
provides the text of a much more generic exception statement, avoiding
the mention of specific technologies.

- Josh Triplett

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