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I’m willing to bet that this isn’t the kind of PR that Rick Santorum is looking for in his presidential campaign.

On Tuesday, August 16, 2011, the Dutch type foundry Typotheque filed suit against RaiseDigital LLC, a Virginia-based consulting company that develops website and other materials for political campaigns and politicians.

The lawsuit seeks up to $2 Million in damages for the alleged misuse of the Fedra type family. This shines a direct light on the fact that font compliance is a serious issue for anyone working in creative endeavors.

If you design creative work for clients, the risk you take when employing an unlicensed font is distributed to the client as well. I’m willing to bet that Mr. Santorum’s campaign isn’t pleased that their name is being associated with this alleged illegal activity, and your clients won’t either. If you’re looking for a solid reputation and repeat business, it’s important that you take font licensing and font compliance seriously.

Universal Type Server can help you gain control of the fonts used in your workgroup. Through robust tracking and reporting you can ensure that you’ve purchased enough licenses for your workgroup, and keep unlicensed fonts from entering your workflow.

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6 comments on “Rick Santorum’s Website Using Pirated Font Leads to $2 Million Lawsuit

  1. How many type foundries have their own derivative versions of other’s fonts? How many of Typotheque’s fonts could be considered “derivative versions” of another foundry’s face. I can think of at least one that Fedra closely resembles. And if a web designer purchases a legitimate font collection CD which contains a “derivative” font by another foundry, who is liable?

    I’m all for protection of property, but let’s be sure we are going after the correct violator.

    So,the real question is, would Universal Type Server have offered any protection for a “derivative version” of the font?

  2. Hi Greg. Thanks for your thoughts. As I understand it, in this instance a “derivative” was a font being used in a manner that it wasn’t licensed to be used. Allegedly a desktop font was converted to a web font format, that was downloaded to each and every person who visited Rick Santorum’s site. In this case, Typotheque is pointing to RaiseDigital as the violator of copyright.

    Now, what is the best way to prevent this type of violoation? It’s a combination of things. 1. Education. People on your team need to know what they can and cannot do with fonts. 2. Access to approved fonts. Provide your team with access to fonts that are approved for specifici uses. This can be done through a server-based font manager that keeps your team in sync, and tracks usage of fonts. 3. Periodic monitoring of font usage. Some server-based font managers, like Universal Type Server, allow you to run reports on the use of fonts in your collection. That way you can ensure that you are licensed for the appropriate number of users, etc.

  3. To me stories like this are ridiculous and more than anything else demonstrate how out of hand we have allowed lawyers to get with frivolous lawsuits. This to me was little more than a political hit.

    It insures that I will NEVER purchase a font from them. Yes… I actually save the name.

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