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Font Raid Spells Trouble for Publisher 416

rs232 writes to tell us The Register is reporting on a publishing firm that got fined for using unlicensed fonts. The firm claimed to only be actively using one font, but was found to be using approximately 11,000. In addition to their font headaches, the firm was also found to be unlicensed on 95% of their Adobe software and 75% of their Microsoft software — talk about a bad week.
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Font Raid Spells Trouble for Publisher

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  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <yayagu&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:55PM (#15615354) Journal

    FTA:

    The publisher was the subject of a BSA enquiry after an ex-employee tip-off, said the BSA, which is funded by software companies.
    , and:
    "For many companies fonts are an integral part of their branding, and none more so than publishers who rely on them to produce many distinct publications."
    The problem is complicated by the fact that some fonts can arrive as part of other people's documents and can sometimes stay, unlicensed, on a network.

    So, if:

    • you own or are part of a company that has ex-employees OR
    • you receive documents from other people/companies

    I'm sure this is just a partial list but it illustrates nicely the pitfalls of software narcs. I won't deem whether this company is off the deep end on their violations -- it looks like they were less than careful, but these "violations" can appear in bizarre and unexpected ways. I'd not even thought of the possibility one could be harboring illegitimate payload by dint of receiving someone's documents.

    I have however experienced it in other ways. I one time found an installation of Excel on one of our company computers with MY NAME, and MY LICENSE KEY! To this day I have no idea who or how that was "pirated".

    The BSA (ironic acronym matching a possibly more wholesome organization, n'est-ce pas?) is a snarky pest, generating ill will from C to shining C++. I'd be interested to know their bottom line, for all of the dollars spent running the BSA how many dollars are returned in generated revenue.

    Then, if it is even a positive number (I doubt it), I wonder if anyone would spend the dime and time to discover what the loss in sales from ill will spawns. Of course it's only speculation on my part, but I'm pretty sure I read an article in the last year where an organization switched proprietary purchasing gears after being ratted out, and skewered for some pretty honest mistakes.

    Someday, they should consolidate... just call them: MRB (MIAA/RIAA/BSA). Every new article I read about any of these pushes me further from commercial offerings (not that that is any great deal anymore).

    (After visiting Camden Publishing's website (I won't give URL, suspect they've got enough without slashdot) it appears to be a small to modest size company, and while they're a publishing company, I'd be surprised to see a company their size able to sustain large budgets for auditing (though it seems BSA has finally accommodated them). And even though the numbers are 95%, and 75% for "pirated" Adobe and Microsoft products, what are the real numbers? I'd be surprised if they were big, and I'd not be surprised if it's a case of a small staff cloning (technically illegally of course) software for convenience and under audited guidelines probably would not have purchased more copies.)

    • by bluekanoodle ( 672900 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:58PM (#15615387)
      You've got a good point. Sure the BSA proclaims that 75% of their Office licenses were "pirated" but how many really is that? 4 PC's? 400?
      • marketing (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nurb432 ( 527695 )
        But for marketing purposes, % makes more of an impact.
      • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @07:17PM (#15616998)
        I'm sure that it was actually some small number of machines - could be 3 - so "3 machines had unlicensed software" vs. "75% of their Office installations were pirated" does make sense.

        BUT!

        I have no problem with individuals pirating software for their personal use. I, personally, have pirated just absurd quantities of software throughout the years - everything from Visual Studio and Office on to every Adobe and Macromedia app out there, and then into some really esoteric and freakishly expensive 3D software. And I learned how to use most of the tools I used professionally on pirated copies. However, if I found something useful and wanted to make it into a business, I bought a legit copy.

        To me, using pirated software to make money is just flat out wrong. Not an acceptable practice at all. Even if it's "only" a couple of copies of Office (and, after all, MSFT is the devil) - still not acceptable. I am sure that Camden would be pissed if people stopped paying them for their work, or if people simply took their copyrighted works and re-published them to sell as their own. It's just not kosher.

        If a business can't afford the tools they need to do a job, then they either need to find cheaper tools, change the way they do business, negotiate with the vendors, or get out of their field.

        I don't like the bullshit tactics that the BSA uses, but I also don't think that anyone they stomp on is automatically on the side of the angels, either.

    • by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:00PM (#15615400)
      Every new article I read about any of these pushes me further from commercial offerings (not that that is any great deal anymore).

      I'm sorry, but this is an unlicensed thought. Please change your mind or pay up.

    • The BSA (ironic acronym matching a possibly more wholesome organization, n'est-ce pas?)

      The motorcyle people? I dunno, a friend of mine broke his ankle kick-starting one.

    • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary@NOsPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:12PM (#15615506) Journal
      In the publishing business, managing your fonts is an important part of doing business. Technically, I'm not even sure that customers are allowed to include fonts, but they do it all the time. Typefaces are not copyrightable, but computer generated fonts count as programs, and so they are copyrightable. Generally speaking, if I bought a page layout program, "PageFoo," and my printing house did not own a copy, I could not include a copy of PageFoo with my files to enable that printing house to print them out. Is it technically legal to do the same with font files unless the license permits this? I don't think so. Does everyone do it anyway? Yes. Do publishers keep customer font around in case the customer forgets to send it in? All the time.
      • by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:49PM (#15615844) Homepage
        It's interesting you should mention it that way. When I installed the Windows Vista Beta, there was a segment in the EULA expressly saying that you can't copy the fonts, except for copies made solely for the purpose of printing output (ie, you can send them to a printer, or in the more complicated case to another computer that is acting as a print server, as long as they go away when the print job is done).

        In a more similar vein to your 'PageFoo' example, Autodesk at one point had a viewer application for its various drawing formats so that you didn't need a $5000 seat just to print.
        • by Phillup ( 317168 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:27PM (#15616171)
          When I installed the Windows Vista Beta, there was a segment in the EULA expressly saying that you can't copy the fonts

          Easy to figure out why [google.com]...
          • by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:58PM (#15616464) Homepage Journal
            When I installed the Windows Vista Beta, there was a segment in the EULA expressly saying that you can't copy the fonts
            Easy to figure out why...

            Funny that the core web fonts have been discontinued [kottke.org] by MS as well. Sadly, the font industry is riddled [typophile.com] with companies stealing each other's fonts all the time.

            Go get some free [fateback.com] fonts and leave the "trendy" fonts to the companies willing to eat eachother and their customers alive. There are font creators out there who want you to use their fonts without their pound of flesh, but they are being driven away from a very controversial and cruel industry.
            • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @08:29PM (#15617361) Homepage

              Go get some free fonts and leave the "trendy" fonts to the companies willing to eat eachother and their customers alive. There are font creators out there who want you to use their fonts without their pound of flesh, but they are being driven away from a very controversial and cruel industry.

              You're joking, right? Most of the free fonts offered online are not suitable for publishing. Commercial fonts are carefully, painstakingly tweaking for maximum visual effect, and most font hobbyists just can't put that much time into theirs.

              Furthermore, these free fonts usually have limited coverage of Unicode. What can you do with them if you have to typeset a text with many usual glyphs, such as IPA characters, Eastern European Latin characters, or even non-Latin scripts such as Cyrillic, Arabic, or CJK?

              There are only a very few free-in-as-freedom fonts that are actually of sufficient quality that publishers can use them. The Computer Modern fonts used with the TeX typesetting engine is one example, but that's only appropriate for the sciences, and if you want a TeX font for the humanities you have to cough up money for the Lucida commercial font.

              • That's never stopped people.

                I used to design shareware fonts as a way of generating beer money in college. Some were decent. A lot were flat-out crappy. To this day, nearly 15 years later, I STILL see the downright crappy fonts used in high-profile places - TV ads, action figure packaging, porn sites...

                "Cheap/free" seems to be a very powerful motivator for a lot of designers.

                (One of them is ludicrously popular. And yet I can count the number of people that paid the shareware fees for it on one hand.)
              • Not sure what these look like yet, but people should be aware of the Stix Fonts [stixfonts.org] project. They are professionaly produced and cover a large number of glyphs (several thousand). I submitted a blurb to slashdot when they were having public comments on the license, but it got rejected. Anyway, they are intended to be free (of charge) for a lot of use. Not sure if they can be included in a Linux distro.
            • Some would call them butt-ugly (MS Comic? Arial?!?!), but the MS core web fonts are still available: http://fontconfig.org/webfonts/ [fontconfig.org] -- MS licensed them in a way that makes it hard to put the Genie back in the bottle.
          • Remember why these fonts were published in the first place. It wasn't a generosity of spirit, it was so their for-profit products would be useful enough to get marketshare.

            Printed material is fully rendered and doesn't depend on anything held by the user other than a good light source.

            Images are fully rendered and only require an appropriate viewer.

            But HTML pages (among other things) require that the specified fonts actually be available on the viewer's system. MS could put out the best HTML designer in t
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Typefaces are not copyrightable, but computer generated fonts count as programs, and so they are copyrightable."

        Yet another of these "...but, it's on a computer!" exceptions. Why should computer fonts be copyrightable, when everyone accepts that typefaces are not?
        • The thing is, it's not the typeface that the computer font represents that is copyrighted; it's the font file itself, which is a program. It is an implementation of an idea; like other software and like written works the idea itself can't be copyright but the expression or implementation (as software) of it is.
      • Whether a font can be included for a print file, or embedded in a PDF is solely at the discretion of the font publisher. That said, most tier-one font foundries do allow for both. Adobe and Linotype for example both allow this. Most publishing software like Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress will gather the fonts upon request so the customer can take the file to the printer to be printed.

        Someone also commented that this is why printers ask for fonts to be converted to vectors. Actually, this in order to avoid f
    • by WoodstockJeff ( 568111 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:22PM (#15615605) Homepage
      The problem is complicated by the fact that some fonts can arrive as part of other people's documents and can sometimes stay, unlicensed, on a network.

      And the fact that several Microsoft and Adobe applications will "helpfully" insert font files into documents and even emails so that you can have a proper "presentation" with the end user (who might not have the same fonts installed) doesn't do much for anyone trying to keep things legal. If I open a PDF with embedded fonts, am I now a pirate?

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me@brandywinehun ... TErg minus punct> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:48PM (#15615827) Journal
        Most fonts allow embedding as part of the liscense.
        • Absolutely. And the ones that don't allow this notify you when you try to embed them in any program I've used recently. It takes a concious effort to send someone a font that has usage guidelines that don't allow you to do so.
      • If I open a PDF with embedded fonts, am I now a pirate?

        No, you're not. Adobe designed it this way. In fact, Adobe put font embedding into PDFs for this very reason - so you can open a document, and have the right fonts, but not be a pirate.
        You can't do anything with the fonts in the document, other than use them for viewing that document - the fonts embedded in a PDF don't magically activate themselves for the rest of the system, or even for other PDFs, it's purely for the document in question that you'

        • You can't do anything with the fonts in the document, other than use them for viewing that document

          Sure you can [blogspot.com]. Granted, it doesn't happen "automagically", but any coder worth their salt can fully automate the process with about half-an-hour of one-time work.
  • Ouch. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kid Zero ( 4866 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:56PM (#15615362) Homepage Journal
    Unlicensed software is always font of trouble in the business world, it seems.

  • by Foobar of Borg ( 690622 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:56PM (#15615368)
    The simplest solution is to use Courier or Courier New. Noone uses typewriters anymore, so it will confuse everyone and set you apart from everyone else.
  • Wha...? (Score:5, Interesting)

    The publishing firm had claimed to be using just one font but in fact was found using 11,000.

    How is it even possible to use 11,000 different type faces?? They have to be adding up all the fonts on all the PCs. 500 PCs with unlicensed Adobe Garamond = 500 fonts.

    • Re:Wha...? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:08PM (#15615476) Homepage Journal
      How is it even possible to use 11,000 different type faces??
      Ever read Wired Magazine in the 1990s?
    • Re:Wha...? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:09PM (#15615484)
      It's not that hard, actually. Remember that high-end fonts (which is what I'm assuming we are talking about here) have seperate faces for bold, italic, bold-italic, smallcaps, 'light', 'display', 'caption', and any and all combinations of the above. One font-family can easily include thirty or so fonts, all of which are sold seperately. (Or, of course, you can buy the bundle. But if you don't acutally need the caption-oblique version and a few others it might not be worth the whole bundle.)

      So, a couple hundred font-families is several thousand actual fonts. For a publishing house, where you need the right font for every occasion, that's a small collection.
    • Re:Wha...? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:10PM (#15615495)
      A "font" and a "type face" aren't the same thing. While modern computers can do "good enough"mdash;for casual use, at least—extrapolations of different sizes and styles from a single font, professional publishers are going to use a distinct font (with appearance tweaks) for each different combination of face, style, and type size. Times-12pt-Roman isn't the same font as Times-12pt-Italic, Times-10pt-Roman, etc. It doesn't take a whole lot of different faces, sizes, and styles to get up around 11,000 fonts.
    • Re:Wha...? (Score:2, Informative)

      by CaptKilljoy ( 687808 )
      >How is it even possible to use 11,000 different type faces?? They have to be adding up all the fonts on all the PCs. 500 PCs with unlicensed Adobe Garamond = 500 fonts.

      Bzzt, wrong. As TFA says, the audit was conducted by a representative of Monotype, which alone lists 2230 [fonts.com] distinct fonts in its catalog. I'd think they would properly know how to account for usage. And there are a lot [fonts.com] of foundries.
    • Re:Wha...? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rorschach1 ( 174480 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:14PM (#15615534) Homepage

      How is it even possible to use 11,000 different type faces??

      You've never been on MySpace, have you?

    • Re:Wha...? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Farmer Tim ( 530755 )
      How is it even possible to use 11,000 different type faces??

      Font management software. I have over 2,000 myself (collected over the last 20 years and properly licensed, of course), which I can browse and activate as needed with Linotype FontExplorer. I also know a tiny company that uses a single computer for their layout work that has 5,000 fonts, so 11,000 for a larger publisher isn't surprising.
    • Re:Wha...? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:19PM (#15615575)

      How is it even possible to use 11,000 different type faces?

      One overenthusiastic manager and a copy of Powerpoint.

    • Re:Wha...? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <gundbearNO@SPAMpacbell.net> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:20PM (#15615585) Homepage
      Linotype claims over 6,500 fonts available.
      Adobe claims over 2,200 typefaces available.
      Bitstream claims over 1,400 fonts available.

      If you look at MyFonts.com you will see that the list over 49,105 fonts available from 282 font foundries, out 574 known foundries listed on that site.
    • Re:Wha...? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Big printers have a copy of every commonly used font, and a great number of uncommonly used fonts so that when their client sends in a rush order with "Bob's slightly altered version of Arial" they don't have to try and dig it up while on deadline. You need a copy of the font accessable to your RIP to make sure the text renders correctly.
  • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:57PM (#15615386) Homepage
    "Many do not recognise that fonts are intellectual property just like any other kind of software and must be paid for,"

    *Sigh... I know creating fonts is a lot of work and pretty-much an art form, but still... sigh.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The US government is one organization that does not recognize that fonts are intellectual property. Font names can be trademarked, but the actual letter shapes cannot be even copyrighted. Reference: wikipedia [wikipedia.org].
      • That's true about letter shapes. But it is a nontrivial effort to go from a set of letter shapes to a digital (non-bitmap) font, which is a computer program and rather clearly subject to copyright. Since what is at issue here is the computer program and not the letter shapes...
        • But it is a nontrivial effort to go from a set of letter shapes to a digital font.

          This is, by far, the simplest part of creating a font; so simple that an autotracer does a pretty good job. What's difficult is properly hinting a TrueType font (indeed, there are almost no properly hinted such beasts; hinting a Type1 font is much easier) and choosing the right spacing between characters. The only parts of a font that I would consider a program are the TT hinting and the OpenType contextual sostitution instr

    • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:18PM (#15615565)
      unless things have changed since the US Copyright office [ssifonts.com], stated

      Both the Congress and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Eltra Corp. v. Ringer decided that analog typeface designs are not now copyright subject matter. The Copyright Office concludes that typefaces created by a computerized-digital process are also uncopyrightable. Like analog typefaces, digitally created typefaces exhibit no creative authorship apart from the utilitarian shapes that are formed to compose letters or other font characters.
    • by LionMage ( 318500 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:04PM (#15616506) Homepage
      You can't trademark, patent, or copyright a traditional typeface -- at least, not in the United States. For those who don't know, a typeface or font used to be a collection of metal blocks with raised edges which, when used in a printing press, would impress the images of the corresponding characters onto a page.

      There is absolutely zero protection for the distinctive look of a typeface, which is why you can go out and buy "look-alike" fonts and why you can even download clone fonts.

      The intellectual property protection for computer fonts comes from the idea that fonts are computer programs -- because a computer font is a file consisting of a set of instructions that tell the computer how to render the characters that make up the font. So copyright applies.

      However, there's nothing stopping you from printing out each of the characters at some large point size (say, so there's one character filling each page), painstakingly tracing those characters with graph paper, and creating your own knock-off font. In fact, this technique is used a lot. What you won't be able to do, unless you're a master craftsman or engineer, is determine and duplicate the hints that make a font legible at small point sizes.

      Now, I can't speak for the IP laws in the UK, but it is at least true that in the U.S., only computer fonts enjoy legal protection, and only because they are considered software.
  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:58PM (#15615392)
    Is it a police organization? A government agency charged with protecting the virtue of copyright? What company in their right mind lets some schmuck come in and do an audit without a warrant?

    Unless this is a normal occurance in England...
  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:59PM (#15615396) Homepage Journal

    They should get busted. I'm wishy-washy on the idea of copyright (and how far it should extend) but one thing I do believe is that businesses should pay for software with which they make money. It's one thing for the hobbyist who uses photoshop to make desktop backgrounds not to pay for it; it's another thing when it's a world-class photographer who supports themselves based on their photoshop output.

    A question, though - why exactly is this in the YRO section? It has nothing to do with someone's guaranteed rights being violated or abridged. In fact, it is just the opposite; Adobe's rights (and those of the font distributors) are being protected. Someone broke the law, and got turned in by an ex-employee, probably somebody they crapped on. Fuck 'em, let them pay the full fines, and then some. Personally, I suggest collecting the fines from the employees of the company that made the decision to use unlicensed software and fonts. Why should they get off scott free? They're the ones who actually broke the law, the company charter didn't fly its ass up out of the file cabinet and insert the CD in the drive.

    • Personally, I suggest collecting the fines from the employees of the company that made the decision to use unlicensed software and fonts. Why should they get off scott free? They're the ones who actually broke the law, the company charter didn't fly its ass up out of the file cabinet and insert the CD in the drive.

      If they were independent contractors, sure. But I think you're missing the definition of the employee-employer relationship. The company is responsible for the actions of its employees while the

    • Justifying piracy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:18PM (#15615564) Homepage Journal
      It's one thing for the hobbyist who uses photoshop to make desktop backgrounds not to pay for it; it's another thing when it's a world-class photographer who supports themselves based on their photoshop output.

      It sounds like you are trying to justify piracy. Good luck!
      • It sounds like you are trying to justify piracy. Good luck!

        Nope, sorry. I don't believe it's ever right to attack another ship at sea and steal their posessions.

        Now, if you were talking about copyright infringement, sorry. Personally, I refuse to use the word "piracy" when I'm talking about that, because I believe that words should mean what they mean. I'm not Humpty Dumpty.

        Anyway, it's not an argument I would use when talking to the BSA, but since the BSA attacks businesses and not individuals it

        • Now, if you were talking about copyright infringement, sorry. Personally, I refuse to use the word "piracy" when I'm talking about that, because I believe that words should mean what they mean. I'm not Humpty Dumpty.

          This has not and will not ever amount to a decent defense. Piracy is a recognised legal term. Maybe somewhat loaded, but a term nonetheless.
        • by stubear ( 130454 )
          I really wish I had bookmarked the comment but someone dug up a quote with the term piracy used to describe copyright infringement. The quote was from a couple hundred years ago or so. If the term was used that way back then then it's certainly just as relevant today. The point is the word was not recently "hijacked", it had been in use long before the current copyright battle.
    • Re:Good! (Score:3, Informative)

      by jeffasselin ( 566598 )
      The BSA is akin to a racket organization: Instead of "You pay us up or we get fat Tony to break your legs" it's "You pay us to do an audit and pay whatever licence fees we decide you should pay or we sue you". Same tactics, but in better suits.

      Also, as others mentioned, 11,000 fonts is absurd. They probably counted each and every copy on every computer whether it was used or not. A normal audit would have deleted unused software and fonts, possibly replaced a few with FOSS where more appropriate. The BSA wi
      • The BSA is akin to a racket organization: Instead of "You pay us up or we get fat Tony to break your legs" it's "You pay us to do an audit and pay whatever licence fees we decide you should pay or we sue you". Same tactics, but in better suits.

        Or the cops. They're like rackets too: "You obey the law or we'll arrest you." Or the teachers. They're running rackets too. They're all, like, "You do your homework, or you'll get detention". Or the restaurants. They're all "Hey, you better pay for that meal, or

    • one thing I do believe is that businesses should pay for software with which they make money

      So you think Novell, Red Hat, etc should pay for Linux? Do you believe everyone should pay for anything with which they make money? Let's say an industry sells bottled oxygen, extracted from air. Should they pay the farmers whose plants produce the oxygen that's found in the atmosphere?

      I do believe this: it's wrong to take something away from someone without permission. Stealing is stealing, the thief needs not sell

  • Licensing woes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by totallygeek ( 263191 ) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:59PM (#15615397) Homepage
    I used to work for a bank that did a fair job keeping track of licenses, or sort of. They purchased licenses for all employees for Microsoft products, eventhough a decent percentage of employees did not have it installed. They also purchased a copy of Photoshop and Corel Draw for every marketing person, eventhough only two people used the products. However, they loaded and never registered many pieces of software which would not have been a big deal to cover monetarily: Winzip, PDF printer, Winlpr, fonts, etc. It just boggles the mind that they go through so much trouble for boxed products, but just never did anything about other software. I told them that it would be better that Microsoft find out they were 20% out of compliance than for some shareware author to find out they had been using software for years on 100% of their machines without paying a dime.
    • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:03PM (#15615436)
      lol... "Oh shit, it's the WinZip police! Hide!"

      It's all about cost versus risk. In this case, the risk of WinZip stormtroopers crashing through the skylight and throwing flash-bangs is so low as to be laughable. Microsoft, not so much...
    • I don't agree with your reasoning. Microsoft is much more in a position to care about that bank being even 1% out of compliance than some random shareware author is for 100% compliance. Winzip has got to be the least paid for and most commonly installed program for Windows, and I have never heard of them going after anyone. Microsoft, on the other hand, does (as per this article).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:59PM (#15615398)
    Microsoft Sans Licence.
  • Widespread (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:03PM (#15615418) Journal
    A graphic designer I know (an ex-gf, actually) has not paid for either software or fonts for the last decade. She has rationalized that because once, in a staff position, she authorized the purchase of approximately 20 seats of adobe software for a graphics department, so Adobe owes her. She uses cracked copies.

    I've often wondered what would happen to her and her clients if Adobe got wind of this. (Yes, it was a spectacularly bad break up.) =)
  • YRO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:06PM (#15615456)
    Pirating fonts for use in for-profit activities falls under YRO?

    I didn't realize that this was a right.
  • Good for them... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by penguinstorm ( 575341 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:06PM (#15615458) Homepage
    If this crackdown is accompanied by a corresponding drop in the cost of licences for some of these overpriced apps (Hello...Photoshop?) I'm all for this.

    I application companies can defray the costs across more copies sold, prices should drop. Unless you believe Adobe is LOSING money on those educational copies of Photoshop (which don't come with support or upgrade options, of course) software should and could cost much less than it currently does.

    There's a pretty basic rule: if you're using an application every day, and you're making money with it you should pay for it.

    I'm especially disgusted by people who DEVELOP and SELL software who use...um...liberated copies of applications. I worked at a place that charged substantial licensing fees for their apps, but had not a single licenced copy of Word around. Stolen text editors, stolen backup software, stolen operating systems.

    Unfortunately, all too typical.
  • by StateOfTheUnion ( 762194 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:08PM (#15615473) Homepage
    Though the situation from the article happened in the UK, I think that US law differs in that fonts or typefaces have no legal protection. Because of this, in the US one would be able to copy fonts to their heart's content . . . Ironic that the home of the MPAA and RIAA and DMCA has no protection for typefaces . . .
  • Oh, in Britain... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpectreHiro ( 961765 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:10PM (#15615487) Homepage
    I was a little dismayed when I first read the blurb. I could swear there wasn't any type of legal protection for typefaces in US law... One of the reasons that Adobe et al. made a push towards programmatically described fonts (Type 1 and Type 3). Although they couldn't protect the typeface itself, they could protect the copyrighted code that generated the font.

    Then I remembered where the register.co.uk was located. Thank god... I was almost forced to RTFA. Phew.
    • Re:Oh, in Britain... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Detritus ( 11846 )
      To legally copy a typeface in the USA, you have to print a sample and digitize it yourself. You can't just copy the postscript or truetype font files. Those files do have copyright protection. The name of the typeface is probably trademarked, so you have to choose a new name for your copy of the typeface.
  • I told you! :-) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by writermike ( 57327 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:14PM (#15615527)
    Gahdammit. I am one of hundreds of thousands of /. users and NO ONE listened to my prophetic vision back in April? Dammit. I called the cops. They wouldn't listen either. I am just too darned potent! ;-)

    Uh... Oh... maybe the didn't listen to me.

    --

    I've worked with and on computers for nearly thirty years and I'm frequently surprised by the amount of piracy in workplaces. Oh, I'm not talking about out-right piracy like bittorrented copies of cracked Photoshop, but lots of little things.

    For instance, I've worked in commercial printers that literally had thousands of typefaces. Let's say you have a job you need printed on a printing press. You collect all the images, layout files, typefaces, etc., and you send that to the printer. The printer is supposed to delete those fonts when the job is complete. They don't, of course, so you have millions of pirated typefaces out there.

    Another example: images that are only supposed to be used once, logos "retouched" and used in other publications, templates you're supposed to pay for obtained from non-traditional (i.e. free) sources, trials that miraculously seem to go on forever, etc.

    Stuff like this happens in all kinds of offices all over the planet. There are so many companies out there who, if they took a real and honest accounting of the software and tools and plug-ins they have, would find that if they did actually purchase everything they own, they'd likely not have half of it. And if they did, they would have spent themselves into bankruptcy. But they rationalize that it's all necessary, it's something they need to do in order to do business. Indeed, many companies couldn't perform some of their services without the stuff they obtained.

    I dunno. I think that, one day, someone really large with lots and lots of locations and chances to pirate stuff is going to get slammed with a huge fine and it's going to open a very large can of worms. If Best Buy really did use Winternals products illegally, it would not surprise me in the slightest, and it would be very, very typical of most companies, large and small.

    P.S. And, yes, I can't claim my hands are completely clean.

    P.P.S. Don't copy that floppy.
  • by boyfaceddog ( 788041 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:35PM (#15615722) Journal
    11,000 fonts? come on. At a normal pub firm 11,000 is probably what they found just on the FONT SERVER. At a printing firm you'd find way more than that, because every job comes in with its own fonts and each font is unique.

    Each. Font.

    I have seen two jobs from two different clients use the SAME font from the same provider but with different creation dates and the fonts were just different enough that we couldn't use one font for both jobs.

    Please, for the love of all that the BSA holds dear to its little black heart, don't start checking font licenses or we're ALL DOOOOOMED!
  • BSA and Monotype (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smbarbour ( 893880 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:05PM (#15615993)
    Does anyone else find it amusing that the fonts were audited by Monotype (the company frequently accused of making similar but slightly different versions of popular Linotype fonts)?

    (i.e. Monotype's Arial to Linotype's Helvetica)
  • Other side of coin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @05:56PM (#15616433)
    On the other side of the coin, I wonder how much software is paid for but never used?

    Windows licenses on computers running Linux.
    Software purchased, but never installed.
    Software lost or stolen and identical replacements bought.
    Software purchased and installed on computers that are no longer in use because either the computer was replaced with a newer one, or the company has gone out of business.
    Volume purchases that over-buy the actual amount needed or used.
    Other causes.

    I never hear figures given on excess and redundant software purchases.

  • Help please. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CristalShandaLear ( 762536 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:53PM (#15616843) Homepage Journal
    I've been considering starting my own home desktop publishing business. I keep doing things for people for free and it's gotten to a point where I've gotten pretty good and could actually make a bit of money for what I do.

    Would this font issue affect someone like me? What if I create a small brand for myself, even in a tiny market? What if it gets bigger? Will I have to pay someone just for using a certain font?

    I never thought of such thing.

  • This is YRO? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @07:21PM (#15617023)
    So, let me get this straight - the company was caught using unlicensed fonts, Adobe software and MS software, and we're supposed to feel sorry for them?

    You want to use software, you abide by the terms of the licence. You don't want to abide by the terms of the licence, you don't use the software and seek out an alternative with a more agreeable licence. End of story.

According to all the latest reports, there was no truth in any of the earlier reports.

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