[OT] fonts and copyright (was: Teaching Greek on Blackboard)

dave willis dwillis at stx.rr.com
Sun Mar 31 06:03:01 EST 2002

On Sat, 30 Mar 2002, Daniel Riaño wrote:

> >Contrary to what your post implies, "TekniaGreek" is also in the public
> >domain.  To quote his website:  "It is absolutely free without any
> >restrictions, both its design and its mapping
> that prompts me to a legal question: is it possible to copyright the
> mapping of any font, in USA or the EC at least?

this is what i know from my previous experience dealing with indic fonts:

in the usa, at least (and copyright laws in the usa are for the most part
standardized around the world), the name of the font can be copyrighted, as
well as the actual binary data that makes up the font file.  this includes
kerning and other things that make high-quality fonts worth paying for.

however, it is perfectly legal (i'm 99% sure) to print out a font on paper
and scan it (or just make a digital picture within the computer) and use
font-creating software based on that image.  of course, without doing lots
of kerning and whatnot by hand you will end up with a font that only looks
good at one size (maybe), and not at others, whether on the screen or from
a printer (that's why adobe can charge so much).  i dealt with several
different fonts for transliterated indic languages, with many different
mappings, and never heard of the mapping being copyrighted.  from looking
at the teknia website, it looks like mappings are a problem for greek as
well until there is a standard. i don't remember ever seeing a copyright
notice on a standard mapping, even stating that you are free to use it.
so, i really doubt that mappings can be under copyright - it would be

-dave willis

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