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Re: OFL license analysis

On Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 09:35:33PM +0100, Nicolas Spalinger wrote:
> >      3) No Modified Version of the Font Software may use the Reserved
> >      Font Name(s), in part or in whole, unless explicit written
> >      permission is granted by the Copyright Holder. This restriction
> >      applies to all references stored in the Font Software, such as
> >      the font menu name and other font description fields, which are
> >      used to differentiate the font from others.
> > 
> > Limited naming restrictions are permitted by DFSG §4. However, the
> > naming restriction above is significantly more broad than the naming
> > restriction that DFSG §4 was written to allow. (Earlier versions of
> > the LaTeX Project Public License required renaming the filenames of
> > modified versions so that they wouldn't conflict; that restriction has
> > since been removed.) As such, it's likely that this clause will
> > restrict the inclusion of works which have Reserved Font Names in
> > Debian.
> This restriction only concerns the name of the font as it appears in a
> font menu and not the actual names of the files like in the older LPPL
> requirement you are referring to. 
> The goal of the OFL is to avoid naming
> conflicts so that documents actually render as expected

That's impossible to accomplish in a copyright license.  I can take a
completely unrelated font, rename it to your font name, and release it.
Your copyright license can do nothing, since the font I'm using is not
under that license.

It takes a trademark to do this; copyright is ill-suited for it.  (But,
copyright licenses are free to try--within reasonable limits.)

> "Users who install derivatives ("Modified Versions") on their systems
> should not see any of the original names ("Reserved Font Names") in
> their font menus, font properties dialogs, PostScript streams, documents
> that refer to a particular font name, etc. Again, this is to ensure that

Font metadata might list "similar fonts", to show in a dialog "Fonts
that look similar to ...".  This license prohibits this, since it says
I can't use the original name *at all* in the derived version.

It might also have metadata that says "if you need a glyph that isn't
present here, try getting it from the font named ...".  The license also
prohibits this.  (This isn't contrived; I've implemented a simple bitmap
font system that did this.)

I believe restricting these things is beyond what DFSG#4 allows.

> The "in part" is really meant to cover the case when there are various
> words used in reserved font names. If "Foo" and "Org" are both are RFN
> for the font "Foo Org", any designer can branch and create his
> derivative but calling it "Bar Org" or "Foo Inc" is not allowed. The
> unit to consider here is the word and not the letter.

If a font name is "Times Roman", I can't create a derivative named
"Glenn Roman"; worse, if it's "Times New Roman", I can't name it "Glenn's
New Font"?

Again, trademark handles this much more gracefully, since it already has
well-established mechanisms in place for determining things like
"confusingly similar".  Trying to replicate this in a copyright license
really isn't going to work.

Glenn Maynard

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