December 1st, 2011 by Jim Kidwell
While you may not immediately think of them as such, fonts are software. Licensed just like any other piece of software on your computer, you need to be sure that you’ve purchased the appropriate licenses for the fonts and types of uses that you expect.
Over the past few years a number of organizations have run into problems by not appropriately licensing their font collection. Here are just a few of the public lawsuits.
Through no feat of magic, NBC Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter was sued for the misuse of fonts when creating gift shop items. The lawsuit alleged that no one involved in the production of certain products purchased licenses for the fonts in use.
While not the best coverage for a presidential campaign, Rick Santorum’s website was allegedly caught using a font inappropriately. The blame didn’t fall on the candidate himself, but on that of his design agency. Proving that no matter how small your design group may be, you can come on the radar. In situations like these, your client definitely wouldn’t be happy with the attention, and I’m sure that event the largest agency wouldn’t like to have a $2 million lawsuit bearing down on them.
Back in October 2009, the Font Bureau also sued NBC for the misuse and disregard of font licenses for typefaces that were used on their television programs.
Keeping your team safe
It is possible to do the right thing and keep your team safe from lawsuits. The best thing that you can do is fully understand how many licenses you need, and then purchase the appropriate number of licenses. A font server such as Universal Type Server can help you on both counts.
With a server-based font manager, you can understand which users need fonts in your collection, automatically distribute purchased fonts to users, and then assess your changing needs through periodic reporting.
If you’d like to to talk through your font compliance strategy further, please contact one of our representatives today.