January 11th, 2013 by Jim Kidwell
The Hollywood Reporter is breaking the news today that NBCUniversal has settled the $3.5 Million lawsuit brought by Brand Design Co (House Industries) for the alleged use of the font Chalet outside it’s license restrictions.
While the terms of the settlement weren’t released today, the amount in the initial suit is enough to make any organization stand up and take notice.
This case, as well as previous font licensing cases, brings to light the need for effective monitoring and distribution of fonts in creative environments.
Fonts are licensed just like software, and controlled by an End User License Agreement (EULA). When you purchase fonts for use in your organization, it’s very important that you understand your rights and restrictions outlined in that EULA.
Most type foundries create very reasonable terms in their license agreements, and are more than happy to help you understand what’s considered an appropriate use. If you’re unsure, always ask before using.
An area that many people get themselves into hot water around is the appropriate licensing of fonts for use as web fonts. Many foundries don’t allow direct use of their fonts on the web, unless it’s done through a web font service, such as WebINK and the like.
To track licensing issues, while enabling creative teams to be productive, most teams have moved to an environment that includes a font server. This type of setup can distribute fonts to the appropriate people, track font licensing, and help you determine wether you are in compliance.