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Re: Open Font License 1.1review2 - comments?

Gervase Markham wrote:
> Francesco Poli wrote:
>> I probably missed where the license makes sure that Reserved Font Names
>> can only become such by being names used in some ancestor version of the
>> Font Software.
>> Could you please elaborate and show the relevant clauses, so that my
>> concerns go away?
> There is no such clause. What sort of abuse do you think this loophole
> enables? After all, even if there was such a clause, I could make 200
> trivially different versions of the font, each one from the next and
> each with a name I wished to reserve. But what would be the point?

It doesn't seem like a showtopper to me, but if the license is being
actively reviewed, then adding a limitation to the "Reserved Font Names"
indicating that they must have been a former name for the font, seems
harmless. After all, you point out yourself that it doesn't put a hard
limit on the names used (it might be regarded as a soft limit, because
it requires a 'release dance' for each one added to the list, which
probably presents no problem for honest applications, but might retard

I am put in mind of the "domain sitter" example: people staking out
claims on domain names. It'd be a shame to repeat that.

>>>> As already pointed out by Andrew Donnellan, this is vague, as the
>>>> word "document" is never defined and has no unambiguous meaning.
>>> Do you have a proposed definition? What sort of things do you suggest
>>> some people might consider documents and others not?
>> I don't have one, since I think that clearly drawing lines to tell
>> various software categories apart is really hard.
>> This discussion has showed up many times on debian-legal, at least since
>> the GFDL times (I think it was 2002 or 2003): I believe there are no
>> clearcut boundaries between documents, programs, images, audio/video
>> works, and so forth.  They can be classified in most cases, but the
>> boundaries are always blurred.  Hence defining what a "document" is,
>> turns out to be hard.

But ISTM that it's irrelevant. Since "embedding" and "bundling" are also
allowed, it really doesn't make any difference where you draw the line.

If you define document in the common-sense way it is used in the
publishing industry (something you can print in a hardcopy or a bit more
broadly, something which can be displayed on screen), then the document
exemption protects those uses, while it does not protect software which
includes the font.

Instead, the "bundling" and "embedding" exemption would apply. Which has
the same effect.

OTOH, if we adopt the sort of extremely broad definition of "document"
that you propose, then the document exemption applies to both. Which, of
course, has exactly the same effect.

So who cares how narrowly "document" is defined?

There is one particular case which the software embedding and bundling
exemptions might not apply to, and that is hardcopy documents and the
files that are used to make them (e.g. PDF or ODF). Adding a "document"
exemption makes it clear that those uses are *also* exempted, in
essentially the same way as software which "bundles" or "embeds" the font.

I don't really see how that could be clearer. ISTM, the document
exemption *closes* a loophole, rather than opening one, ensuring user
freedoms that might not otherwise be covered.


Terry Hancock (hancock@AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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