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  • Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:38pm

    Fonts and copyright

    I posted this elsewhere:

    First, I'd like to add that trademark and copyright are not the same thing.

    In North America fonts are not protected by copyright (they are in the UK). The only protection they can have is the trademark registration or possibly patent and copyright protection of the software itself (the actual instructions that tell a scalable font what to do, not the glyphs or letterforms themselves), but since most font designers use existing software, that's rarely an option.

    The only exception might be if the glyphs are particularly ornate or unique.

    These things are not protected: Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation,
    lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients
    or contents..."

    You can find this on page 3 of the PDF download of the copyright site:

    Read Eltra Corp. v. Ringer:

    “The Committee does not regard the design of typeface, as thus defined, to be a copyrightable pictorial, graphic or sculptural work within the meaning of this bill and the application of the dividing line in seciton 101.”

    Please also read Adobe System v. Southern Software, which did change things somewhat from the Eltra Corp. Case:

    (you'll have to add the prefixes for the sites, this system won't allow it).