View Full Version : Source of fonts for embedding in free ePubs


pdurrant
09-15-2009, 10:12 AM
ePubs can have fonts embedded, but finding a legitimate source of such fonts is hard - most font foundaries forbid embedding in ebooks without additional fees. www.fontmarketplace.com seems to be different, at least for ePubs that are distributed for free. Here's the first paragraph of their font licence:

Permitted Uses
You are permitted to install the font onto the number of personal computers for which you have purchased licenses. You can use the fonts to create and design documents, and embed the fonts into documents such as PDF files. Files with embedded fonts can be freely distributed and posted on websites as long as they are not sold (what we refer to as "Commercial Documents").

Also, their fonts are inexpensive. A single face is often $5, and a family of four faces $18. This is because they are only licensing the font for use on one computer. But if you're working on your own - that's all you want!

I have contacted them to enquire about commercial product licences too. I'll post once I have a reply.

Font Marketplace seems to be a website run by Ascender Fonts, which seems to be a legitimate font foundary. (& also sells through their eponymous web site at much higher prices and the usual "five computers and one printer with storage".)

Elsi
09-15-2009, 10:31 AM
It's interesting that this came up today -- I was just prowling around their website yesterday and looking longingly at a couple of fonts from Ray Larabie. I have a couple of his freeware/shareware (can't remember which they were) that I use for scrapbooking. I hadn't gotten into fonts for eBooks yet, but I find the idea intriguing because it would allow a book to have a mixture of fonts and would give the book producer some of the options that have previously only been available when you were working with books for print or PDF.

pdurrant
09-15-2009, 12:13 PM
I hadn't gotten into fonts for eBooks yet, but I find the idea intriguing because it would allow a book to have a mixture of fonts and would give the book producer some of the options that have previously only been available when you were working with books for print or PDF.

There's some debate about whether to include fonts in ePubs, or whether they should be left up to the reading software/reader.

I favour adding in fonts if possible. I'm hopeful that soon even the big foundaries will become aware of the possibilities for sales that ePub/OEB ebooks represent.

For display fonts (chapter titles, drop caps, etc) I think there's no argument - obviously embedded fonts in ePub should be used.

For the body copy it's not so obvious. I rather like choosing my own font when reading ebook, although current ePub readers don't permit it.

I'm going to be aiming at a half-way house. For the body font, I'll only specify it on the "body" element in my CSS. That way it will be easy to for reader software to override by adding the !important flag to the user CSS style for the "body" element.

frabjous
09-15-2009, 12:25 PM
$5 or $10 may not sound like much, but since there are a few free license fonts already out there, isn't it better to stick with those?

Between Droid, Fontin, Gentium, Charis SIL, DejaVu, the Red Hat Liberation Fonts, OpenSymbol, FreeSerif/FreeSans, Linux Libertine, etc., is there really much left to be desired for ePub embedding?

There's a bunch more at sites like Open Font library (http://openfontlibrary.org/media/view/media/fonts) -- though that's got a terrible front end. Another smaller list here (http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=OFL_fonts) -- I could have sworn I had found another better listing site... can't find it now...

pdurrant
09-15-2009, 12:48 PM
$5 or $10 may not sound like much, but since there are a few free license fonts already out there, isn't it better to stick with those?


If there's a free font that meets your needs, by all means use it. I certainly would. But there's no free version (yet?) of the fabulous original Baskerville Italic, that is used in the book I'm working on at the moment.

The right choice of font can really add something to a book. And now that we have the capability, it's a shame not to use it if possible.

HarryT
09-15-2009, 01:25 PM
Be careful with this. The licence permits fonts to be embedded. Fonts in ePub files are not embedded, as they are with the PDF file, but are simply contained in the ePub ZIP file, from where they can simply be copied by the user and installed on their own system. The point about an embedded font is that it becomes a part of the document, and cannot be "unpacked" and re-used by the document viewer.

I honestly don't think the licence you've quoted is valid for ePub usage.

Abecedary
09-15-2009, 01:43 PM
Be careful with this. The licence permits fonts to be embedded. Fonts in ePub files are not embedded, as they are with the PDF file, but are simply contained in the ePub ZIP file, from where they can simply be copied by the user and installed on their own system. The point about an embedded font is that it becomes a part of the document, and cannot be "unpacked" and re-used by the document viewer.

I honestly don't think the licence you've quoted is valid for ePub usage.
What he said. To include fonts with ePubs, you'd essentially need a redistribution license. Or a license that specifically allows you to use them in ePubs.

frabjous
09-15-2009, 01:47 PM
It says "files with embedded fonts", not "embedded subset", or "embedded in an unembeddable way" or anything more restrictive.

I actually think that you're probably safe using these fonts in ePubs for the time being, though I'd put a copy of the font license inside the ePub (not linked to the spine, and so invisible to anyone except those who extract the files from the ePub).

It might helped if someone actually asked them, however. Maybe they would clarify.

Abecedary
09-15-2009, 02:13 PM
It says "files with embedded fonts", not "embedded subset", or "embedded in an unembeddable way" or anything more restrictive.

I actually think that you're probably safe using these fonts in ePubs for the time being, though I'd put a copy of the font license inside the ePub (not linked to the spine, and so invisible to anyone except those who extract the files from the ePub).

It might helped if someone actually asked them, however. Maybe they would clarify.

I absolutely disagree with your assessment, and I've handled a fair number of software and font licensing contracts in the past. Considering the most common way of including the fonts with an ePub is to simply throw the font files into the zipped ePub package (where they can incredibly easily be removed and copied/used elsewhere), I'm almost certain that Ascender could nail you with the "further distributed" part of this clause:
Prohibited Uses
The font files cannot be modified, posted to websites or further distributed without an extended license.
Not to mention, the standard EULA that they list on their site specifically mentions that the font can be used on one (1) personal computer (of which an ebook reader would be considered a personal computer). So unless pdurrant is ready to pay the font license fees for every single copy of his book that's downloaded (even if he's giving the book away—basically he'd be buying a copy of the font for each person who reads his book), he would need to look into one of the other licensing options.

To put it simply, I don't think any of the major font foundries (possibly barring Adobe) even have provisions in any of their standard licenses that take something like ePubs into account.

pdurrant
09-15-2009, 02:19 PM
The IPDF have defined a way of encrypting the fonts in an ePUB, so that they can't be trivially extracted and reused. I should have mentioned this in my post to avoid confusion.

See "Font Embedding for Open Container Format Files"

http://www.openebook.org/doc_library/informationaldocs/FontManglingSpec.html

I agree that the licence probably wouldn't cover just including the bare font in the ePub archive.

Be careful with this. The licence permits fonts to be embedded. Fonts in ePub files are not embedded, as they are with the PDF file, but are simply contained in the ePub ZIP file, from where they can simply be copied by the user and installed on their own system. The point about an embedded font is that it becomes a part of the document, and cannot be "unpacked" and re-used by the document viewer.

I honestly don't think the licence you've quoted is valid for ePub usage.

pdurrant
09-15-2009, 02:33 PM
I disagree here. The one computer requirement is clearly for the bare font being installed for general use, not use as an embedded font.

The licence is pleasingly straightforward and seems pretty plain to me:

"You can [...] embed the fonts into documents [...]. Files with embedded fonts can be freely distributed and posted on websites as long as they are not sold"

The only possible point of disagreement would be whether they consider fonts in ePubs to be embedded if the IDPF method is used.

I've written to them to find out.

Not to mention, the standard EULA that they list on their site specifically mentions that the font can be used on one (1) personal computer (of which an ebook reader would be considered a personal computer).

frabjous
09-15-2009, 04:12 PM
I absolutely disagree with your assessment, and I've handled a fair number of software and font licensing contracts in the past. Considering the most common way of including the fonts with an ePub is to simply throw the font files into the zipped ePub package (where they can incredibly easily be removed and copied/used elsewhere), I'm almost certain that Ascender could nail you with the "further distributed" part of this clause:

I was going by the wording of what pdurrant posted. I didn't look at the details their website, but I cannot imagine that any legal action filed against someone who distributed one of their files inside an ePub, citing that langauge, whether encrypted or not, for the purpose of its being displayed in that book, could possibly hold any water at all unless they reworded what they wrote, or explicitly asked the person not to do so. If someone did extract it from the ePub and use it in an unintended way, when the license is right there for them to see, that would be an act of wrongdoing on that person's part, not on the ePub maker.

Of course, if they clarify their language, things can change.

That's my interpretation. I'm no legal expert, but if any legal system in which this is not true is not a legal system that has any rhyme or reason to it whatever. I realize that people who do give legal counsel have to err far on the side of caution, but there's also such a thing as standards of reasonableness. With that language, it strongly suggests font embedding is allowed, and no provision is made for how it is embedded.

Still, I'm not saying I would do it personally; probably only I would if encrypted. It's good that pdurrant is asking. Hopefully they'll clarify it.

Jellby
09-15-2009, 04:23 PM
Does the license define anywhere what "embedded" is supposed to mean in that context? If it doesn't we should abide by what we understand with "embedded", and for me "embedded" does not mean unextratable/unusable, but I'm not a lawyer, not even a native English speaker ;)

By the way the IDPF "specification" cited above is not exactly for encryption, but obfuscation. That results in font files that are not trivially extractable and usable from the .epub file, but any user interested in doing it can do it (as reading software should). I don't know if there is any software (other than maybe ADE) that supports this method.

ahi
09-16-2009, 11:23 AM
I was going by the wording of what pdurrant posted. I didn't look at the details their website, but I cannot imagine that any legal action filed against someone who distributed one of their files inside an ePub, citing that langauge, whether encrypted or not, for the purpose of its being displayed in that book, could possibly hold any water at all unless they reworded what they wrote, or explicitly asked the person not to do so. If someone did extract it from the ePub and use it in an unintended way, when the license is right there for them to see, that would be an act of wrongdoing on that person's part, not on the ePub maker.

Of course, if they clarify their language, things can change.

That's my interpretation. I'm no legal expert, but if any legal system in which this is not true is not a legal system that has any rhyme or reason to it whatever. I realize that people who do give legal counsel have to err far on the side of caution, but there's also such a thing as standards of reasonableness. With that language, it strongly suggests font embedding is allowed, and no provision is made for how it is embedded.

Still, I'm not saying I would do it personally; probably only I would if encrypted. It's good that pdurrant is asking. Hopefully they'll clarify it.

Font embedding in a technology context is widely understood to be a procedure that makes it difficult or impossible to recreate the source .ttf / .otf / .pbf file of the font.

I'm guessing even if you have a font 100% embedded into a PDF document, what is 100% embedded are the glyph shapes, but not necessarily 100% of the kerning, glyph combination logic, et cetera.

In my mind simply putting a font inside the ePub's zip container is unambiguously distribution instead and not embedding. The arguably "embedding" method, while on the surface better fitting the definition I stated, is apparently an utterly minimal obfuscation that (with the right program) would be trivial to undo and thereby gain the original .ttf / .otf / .pbf file.

And while you might argue that "hackability" should not be a consideration for whether or not something is properly embedding... I don't believe there exists or could exist any software tools that take a 100% embedded font from a PDF document and produce therefrom a font file that is byte-by-byte equivalent to the original. That, however, is I believe is still eminently possible with ePub's "encrypted" embedding.

Let anyone liberally correct me on anything I am mistaken about.

- Ahi

P.s.: While I am not able to readily point to a definition... the notion that fonts have different licenses for embedding and redistribution itself makes it pretty clear that they view embedding as being functionally fundamentally different from distribution. And in my opinion, any process that allows somebody to get a CRC-correct copy of the font you embedded is definitely distribution... however unintentional it may be.

frabjous
09-16-2009, 11:31 PM
I certainly understand the technical difference involved, but not everyone who might use them in this way (especially with helper software) would.

If they're going to advertise the sales of these fonts with the claim that they allow embedding in documents, and not clarify exactly what they mean, it's certainly would fall under fair use for someone to include them in an ePub. What the word "embedding" suggests to someone who understands the technical details doesn't seem like the important thing, but rather what it would suggest to any arbitrary customer. It's false advertising otherwise.

Including in an ePub may be technically more like distributing, but it's conceptually more like embedding, and I think, without further clarification or detailed wording, that's what would be more important legally.

ahi
09-17-2009, 08:00 AM
I certainly understand the technical difference involved, but not everyone who might use them in this way (especially with helper software) would.

If they're going to advertise the sales of these fonts with the claim that they allow embedding in documents, and not clarify exactly what they mean, it's certainly would fall under fair use for someone to include them in an ePub. What the word "embedding" suggests to someone who understands the technical details doesn't seem like the important thing, but rather what it would suggest to any arbitrary customer. It's false advertising otherwise.

Including in an ePub may be technically more like distributing, but it's conceptually more like embedding, and I think, without further clarification or detailed wording, that's what would be more important legally.

... I don't know. What they do say is clear enough for professionals who are generally the ones to have to worry about such things, and it's clear enough also what would qualify as corner cases (the ePub "embedding"... maybe).

You are right. The wording is prone to be misunderstood by the "average person"--but ignorance of the law is no excuse, it's well known that certain words have more narrow meanings in technical/professional fields, and so on and so forth. I'd be shocked if this was perceived by any judge to be a case of false advertising.

- Ahi

frabjous
09-17-2009, 10:50 AM
We're not talking about ignorance of the law, as with a criminal case. We're talking about how a certain clause in a license, a kind of civil contract I suppose, would naturally be read. I'd be shocked if a judge didn't take pointing to this clause (and the lack of further explanation) as granting permission for any form of "embedding", so long as using that font in that document alone is the intention of the action. Ignorance of the law may not be excuse, but being misled by a poorly written contract certainly might be grounds for dismissing a civil case.

Of course, unless we have a case of the most litigious bastards in the world, a company like this should certainly simply ask someone to remove their font from a file before threatening legal action -- after all, we're talking about non-commercial, non-for-profit epubs here... almost none of which are going to be made by professionals. The clause already prohibits commercial use.

ahi
09-17-2009, 11:00 AM
We're not talking about ignorance of the law, as with a criminal case. We're talking about how a certain clause in a license, a kind of civil contract I suppose, would naturally be read. I'd be shocked if a judge didn't take pointing to this clause (and the lack of further explanation) as granting permission for any form of "embedding", so long as using that font in that document alone is the intention of the action. Ignorance of the law may not be excuse, but being misled by a poorly written contract certainly might be grounds for dismissing a civil case.

Of course, unless we have a case of the most litigious bastards in the world, a company like this should certainly simply ask someone to remove their font from a file before threatening legal action -- after all, we're talking about non-commercial, non-for-profit epubs here... almost none of which are going to be made by professionals. The clause already prohibits commercial use.

Despite your making a reasonable argument... I remain of the opinion that if there is anything wrong at all in this whole thing, it's the calling of any way of font inclusion in ePub "embedding". It's about as accurate as the unceasing professions of it being "the industry standard".

- Ahi

frabjous
09-17-2009, 11:02 AM
I agree that it shouldn't be called that. I just wouldn't blame a non-technically minded non-professional who thought that's what it was!

Jellby
09-17-2009, 11:19 AM
I agree that it shouldn't be called that. I just wouldn't blame a non-technically minded non-professional who thought that's what it was!

Especially since the ePUB spec (http://www.idpf.org/2007/ops/OPS_2.0_final_spec.html#Section3.4) calls them "Embedded Fonts".

pdurrant
09-18-2009, 12:16 PM
Just a quick comment to update the thread on progress.

I've been in contact with Bill Davis of fontmarketplace.com, who was kind enough to check the output from his copy of Indesign CS4, which it turns out does encrypt the fonts it embeds, although not using the IDPF encryption.

I haven't found any tools that I can easily use to just encrypt the fonts in an ePub, so I'm writing my own python script to do it. Goodness - python's fun! I'm currently to the stage where I have my encryption key and a list of fonts in the ePub, and now 'all' I have to do is write out the ePub with the amended fonts and an added encryption.xml file...

I hope to hear from Mr Davis 'soon' as to whether their licence is intended to cover fonts embedded in ePubs with encryption, but he may be waiting to see some samples with actual IDPF encryption.

And now I'm off back to the splendid IDLE python development environment.

Ankh
09-18-2009, 11:58 PM
I've been in contact with Bill Davis of fontmarketplace.com, who was kind enough to check the output from his copy of Indesign CS4, which it turns out does encrypt the fonts it embeds, although not using the IDPF encryption.

I haven't found any tools that I can easily use to just encrypt the fonts in an ePub, so I'm writing my own python script to do it. Goodness - python's fun! I'm currently to the stage where I have my encryption key and a list of fonts in the ePub, and now 'all' I have to do is write out the ePub with the amended fonts and an added encryption.xml file...

I wonder if InDesign's encryption is any different than what is described in this technical note (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/digitalpublishing/pdfs/content_protection.pdf).

pdurrant
09-19-2009, 02:59 AM
Yes, looking at the output from Indsign CS4, that's the algorithm used.. I see it's different to the IDPF one, which takes the UUID but then performs a SHA1 on it to get a 20 byte key (instead of just taking the first 16 bytes), and XORs the first 1040 bytes (not the first 1024 bytes).

I suppose the question is whether ADE can read the IDPF encyption or not. If not, I'll be able to switch my font mangler to the Adobe version easily.

The IDPF way is neater, but I'm not sure it was worth changing Adobe's suggestion.

I wonder if InDesign's encryption is any different than what is described in this technical note (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/digitalpublishing/pdfs/content_protection.pdf).

pdurrant
09-22-2009, 03:28 AM
I've now heard back from Font Marketplace. They say that if the font is embedded in the ePub using font obfuscation, that's good enough for them. They'll have some official wording on the subject, which I will post here when it's available.

Be careful with this. The licence permits fonts to be embedded. Fonts in ePub files are not embedded, as they are with the PDF file, but are simply contained in the ePub ZIP file, from where they can simply be copied by the user and installed on their own system. The point about an embedded font is that it becomes a part of the document, and cannot be "unpacked" and re-used by the document viewer.

I honestly don't think the licence you've quoted is valid for ePub usage.

darkpoet
09-24-2009, 12:30 AM
LOL at this whole thread. The conclusion is simply to use freeware fonts that leave no ambiguity... redistributable, embeddable.

[link removed] I use a bunch of Manfred Klein (http://manfred-klein.ina-mar.com/)'s which I believe are the same...

Peter Sorotokin
09-24-2009, 02:49 AM
I've been in contact with Bill Davis of fontmarketplace.com, who was kind enough to check the output from his copy of Indesign CS4, which it turns out does encrypt the fonts it embeds, although not using the IDPF encryption.

Yes, InDesign is using Adobe algorithm which predates IDPF. It is described here: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/digitalpublishing/pdfs/content_protection.pdf

I haven't found any tools that I can easily use to just encrypt the fonts in an ePub, so I'm writing my own python script to do it. Goodness - python's fun! I'm currently to the stage where I have my encryption key and a list of fonts in the ePub, and now 'all' I have to do is write out the ePub with the amended fonts and an added encryption.xml file....

EPubGen (http://code.google.com/p/epub-tools/wiki/EPUBGen, written in Java) can subset and encrypt/obfuscate most OpenType and TrueType fonts using both IDPF and Adobe algorithms. Only Adobe algorithm is supported in the field as far as I know, IDPF algorithm will be implemented as well.

I think doing both subsetting and obfuscation puts it quite firmly on the embedding side of the fence.

pdurrant
09-24-2009, 05:29 AM
LOL at this whole thread. The conclusion is simply to use freeware fonts that leave no ambiguity

That only works if the font you want is available as a freeware and redistributable font (NOT the same thing).

If you can find me a free/redistributable Baskerville Italic that matches the Monotype Baskerville Italic here:

http://www.fonts.com/FindFonts/Detail.htm?pid=205240

(Note especially the uppercase J, K, N, T, Y and Z and lowercase p, w)

I'd be very pleased indeed!

darkpoet
03-02-2010, 10:50 PM
I'm almost sorry to bump a dead thread but I think it's important to note that Larabie doesn't allow embedded fonts - he specifically says that his license disallows linking/embedding via the HTML/CSS @fontface when it involves an unencrypted TTF file... which is exactly what ePub does... unless you've DRM'd the file.

Manfred Klein (http://manfred-klein.ina-mar.com/) rocks. Just donate some money to Doctors Without Borders. Typooasis (http://moorstation.org/typoasis/) hosts many of his free fonts and has a huge archive of other free fonts. Dieter Steffmann is interesting.

pdurrant: the likelihood of finding a "free" font that so closely resembles MT Baskerville is small. I wish you luck but when I searched for a free version of Parchment MF, I discovered they are all plagiarized ripoffs with minor changes. I couldn't (in good conscience) use them. This is one reason I've gone dormant. I was creating a 20-font ePub and ended-up having to replace most of my choices (twice in some cases) due to possible violation of terms of use. I ended up with 3/4 being MK fonts. God bless the man.

frabjous
03-02-2010, 11:59 PM
As long as this thread is being resurrected, it might be worth putting a plug in for the wonderful fontsquirrel (http://www.fontsquirrel.com/) -- which lists hundreds of fonts which are free to use and embed, even for commerical use.

(A similar site, but less easy to download from, is kernest (http://www.kernest.com).)

bobcdy
03-03-2010, 04:37 PM
Another free font site is
www.fonts101.com

I don't know anything about its legality, but it advertises hundreds of free fonts that I believe must be ok for epub 'embedding' if the site is legally distributing the fonts.

There is another source of many non-copyrighted fonts, Southern Software, Inc.

Can anyone clarify the legality of using fonts for epubs from these two sites?

frabjous
03-03-2010, 05:20 PM
Another free font site is
www.fonts101.com

I don't know anything about its legality, but it advertises hundreds of free fonts that I believe must be ok for epub 'embedding' if the site is legally distributing the fonts.

I'm very wary of this site. True, in its "disclaimer" it reads:


All fonts found on this site are copyrighted by their respective authors. Detailed copyright information to each individual font may be included in the corresponding downloadable font-files, otherwise the selected font license that comes along with the font details is applicable. All of the fonts offered on this website are in the public domain and either demoware, freeware, postcardware or shareware.
Shareware and demoware shouldn't be embedded anyway, but I tried a few, and what they say about copyright info inside the downloaded files doesn't ring true. Normally, there was no explciit license in the .zip file, and looking at the metadata inside a few examples, most claimed that all rights of the copyright were still reserved.

What I like about Font Squirrel is that you can actually see the license. (I also like the number of usually-higher-quality .otf fonts vs. ttf fonts and that you can separate them.)

Note, these are all pretty much under copyright, but with a generous license that allows for free distribution and use.

There is another source of many non-copyrighted fonts, Southern Software, Inc.


There's a discussion of that one at typophile here (http://typophile.com/node/64258) -- sounds a bit unclear, but I gather the complany went bankrupt and so there's no one to enforce the copyright, even if, in some legal sense, if the company were to somehow resurface, there might be an issue. And one person questions their legality in the first place in that thread I linked to (though the arguments seem dubious to me). In any case, their site no longer exists so you'd have to acquire their fonts from some other site anyway.

darkpoet
03-03-2010, 11:01 PM
Fontsquirrel and fonts101.com both look like most "free fonts" sites... questionable content ripped-off from various sources. At the very least these two sites both list some Larabie Fonts... which are NOT allowed to be embedded using @font-face (as I've already stated). Go ahead and search their databases but go to the source when it comes to license issues. There are hundreds of font sites out there and most of their content is questionable since there are only a few major font foundries. There are, of course, many fonts that exist not made by a foundry... and these questionable sites are good repositories of these fonts made by the "guy-next-door" but again, I stress, go to the source and research the license carefully. Many of these fonts are distributed legally, sure but...

Commercial use is not the same as embedding. Commercial use itself has several meanings... it usually means you can make printouts using the font and distribute it (using it as a trademark or directly profiting from it are different matters)... as a side-note, it's interesting to note that most fonts included with Microsoft Windows or Office are in a gray area. They are not explicitly permitted for commercial use and indeed are only licensed for one-computer use... indeed, most are property of Monotype, a corporation that would love to sue you if you tried to use their fonts in an unauthorized way...

I didn't look at Kernest... the memory it started to take up nearly crashed my poor work notebook. What in the heck do they need to load hundreds of fonts on their top page for..?!?

darkpoet
03-03-2010, 11:07 PM
Oh, and even if you do find a good font that seems free... beware that it may be a ripoff of a commercial font. In my quest for a Papyrus clone, I discovered a thread in which the typographer himself comments that no clone that exists is legal. A close look at the various clones reveals the plagiarism. If you want to play typesetter, remember your moral obligation to the typographer...

frabjous
03-04-2010, 01:30 AM
The typographer was either lying or misinformed. (Unless he just meant of Papyrus in particular.) Lots of clones are legal so long as they are made independently, and the original design of the fonts are in the public domain. (As most of the classics are.)

Otherwise, how could it be that each of the major foundries has its own (slightly different) version of Garamond, or Baskerville, or Times?

Others were donated into the public domain, such as Bitstream Charter, which is cloned in unequestionably free and legit fonts like Charis SIL. Same goes with Knuth's Computer Modern and clones/derivatives like GUST's Latin Modern.

Font Squirrel is definitely on the up and up, and the Larabie fonts are free to add with the Font Face tag. They just ask you to obscure their names so they're not easy to guess. details here (http://www.typodermic.com/embedding.html) -- Font Squirrel has a @font-face generator that actually changes the names of the fonts during the process.

I can't imagine that doing that would even be necessary for ePub embedding, since it'd be a hassle to get them that way anyway.

Still, I agree with your advice to try to track down and visit the actual foundry or designer's website -- sometimes you learn a little about the font and its vision that way too, which is interesting. I particularly like The League of Moveable Type (http://www.theleagueofmoveabletype.com/), which has a number of high-quality generous license fonts (listed on Font Squirrell).

bobcdy
03-04-2010, 03:09 PM
Frabjous,
Thanks for the info about the sites I mentioned and about fontsquirrel. Many years ago I purchased the Southern Software, Inc. cd

"Southern Software, Inc. gives you the BEST font package on the planet! The price is only $29.95 (plus shipping and handling) for "Just My Type" - 3320 professional quality fonts on one CD."

and often have wondered about the legality of using these fonts. When I purchased them, the company's copyrights had not been disputed, and I had learned about the company in a Wall Street Journal article about it. I never did use them, but now with embedded fonts in epub I have started thinking about it again. I did a web search about this but never found any definite answer (the only one that seemed sort of pertinent was the one you listed, but there was no conclusion about legality). There are a number of sites discussing SSI copyright problems, but nothing about current use of the out-of-business's fonts. SSI fonts are now widely available individually on the internet and are used in various places, but there's still questions in my mind about using them for ebooks. The advantage to using them is that there are a lot of these fonts available, many look pretty good although sometimes kerning is not so good, and of course anyone with an inexpensive font-making program like Font-Creator can take an SSI font (or any other font) and obscure its origin. Also, when used in an epub and opened in Sigil, the font name is replaced by 'font001.ttf, font002.ttf... I actually used an internet distributed SSI font in two of my recent epubs, and wondered whether it's legal to continue with this practice.

Bob

bobcdy
03-04-2010, 03:34 PM
I did another search and found this article:

http://www.naavi.org/cl_editorial_04/copyright_font_case.pdf

According to the conclusions, pt. V of this document, the Southern Software, Inc. case was legally binding only in Northern California as of 1978. I was unable to find any extension of it to the entire US, so it looks as though it's probably ok to use SSI fonts in epubs. I'm very interested in other viewpoints and urls about legality of using SSI fonts!
Bob

frabjous
03-04-2010, 06:33 PM
Legality? No clue.

Morally, I think it's OK so long as you don't have any direct evidence that the particular font in question is a rip off of a real font still under copyright and still being sold by a legitimate foundry.

I'm not really that familiar with their fonts, but I would think that soon this would be a moot issue, since they're not updating their fonts, and even if you like the aesthetics, surely having a Unicode-rich .otf font is going to be preferable in most cases.

darkpoet
03-05-2010, 12:06 AM
Here (http://typophile.com/node/51142) is the thread regarding the Papyrus clones... take a look at the location of the notches and scuffs of each letter, and that's where the ripoff artists really give themselves away. It's not just the font itself ripped off... digitizing a font takes many hundreds of hours and the ripoff artists couldn't even be bothered to reverse-engineer the font (ie, printing it, tracing it, and re-coding it); they just made some minor adjustments to the file and stuck their name on it...


...if you're a writer, imagine how angry you would feel if some took your ebook, renamed a few characters, edited a few plot points, changed the title, then took credit for your work. We're not talking about inspiration, here...

Which is exactly why I stress that if you like a font, be sure it is the genuine article... and then give credit where it's due.

brewt
03-05-2010, 01:27 AM
Many free fonts include this in the license agreement, or something like it:

"You may not provide the font or make it accessible to any other third parties."

Straight inclusion of the font, without encryption, violates this, as an epub is but a zip file. If the user can pull the font out of the epub and install it and use it, the epub is violating the license.

Word to the wise.

-bjc

darkpoet
03-05-2010, 01:57 AM
Also, when used in an epub and opened in Sigil, the font name is replaced by 'font001.ttf, font002.ttf...

I just wanted to comment on your font-naming scheme... I discovered recently while trimming my TTFs for embedding that my Sony Reader appears to use some of its internal memory as a font cache... In one epub, I had deleted all non-numbers from a font... A few days later, I scratched my head wondering why that font was not functioning in my second epub... when I realized that the numbers were displaying just fine. I did a hard-reset of the Reader and the second epub displayed that font just fine... I didn't experiment to see if the font cache works on the file name or the proper font name inside the TTF file but I wonder... (and I can guarantee the cache doesn't work based on your CSS naming).

bobcdy
03-05-2010, 02:11 PM
Darkpoet,
The font001.ttf, etc. is not MY naming - it automatically seems to occur whenever an epub is open with Sigil 0.1.9. I tried experimenting - after creating an epub with the original font name, I unzipped it and looked at the font name and it was still the original. However, after I opened it in Sigil, saved, and unzipped, the font name had been changed in the font subdirectory to font.001.ttf.

bobcdy
03-05-2010, 03:01 PM
frabjous,

Although I think it probably is legally ok to use Southern Software, Inc. fonts in epubs, I really haven't fully thought out the morality of using them but here are a few of my current thoughts:
I'm not sure that morality is violated when a rip-off font is used in a free epub created with no goal of selling it for the following reason: the original font creator company declines to let its font be used as an ebedded epub font so that use of the rip-off does not damage sales of the original font in any way because it can't be used in the epub. Further, if the epub was the ONLY way that someone could obtain the rip-off, then sales of the original font might be damaged because a source of the rip-off appears where none was available before the epub became available online. Then, it would be clearly immoral to use it in an epub, but this is not the situation that prevails because the rip-off is freely available on the internet at many different sites.

I may stop using the Southern Software, Inc. fonts in epubs because the morality is questionable, and if enough MobilRead readers object to my using them.

darkpoet:
Thanks for the info about the Papyrus font. I would agree with you about the analogy of using a rip-off font to using a rip-off e-novel except for the difference in how the copyrights/patents are treated for novels and fonts. Novels are clearly protected, but fonts are not - only in how a look-alike font is created. The courts in the US have concluded that using a computer program to slightly modify the control points of a font is illegal (Adobe vs Southern Software, Inc.), but that printing high-resolution characters of the font, scanning them, and then using the scans to create the font is not illegal. Thus to know about whether a look-alike font is actually an illegal font, one has to know how it was created. There are many look-alike fonts from reputable companies that presumably are legal. If the e-novel analogy were followed, these look-alike fonts all would be illegal and their use immoral except for the original one.

Bob

Valloric
03-05-2010, 05:55 PM
Darkpoet,
The font001.ttf, etc. is not MY naming - it automatically seems to occur whenever an epub is open with Sigil 0.1.9. I tried experimenting - after creating an epub with the original font name, I unzipped it and looked at the font name and it was still the original. However, after I opened it in Sigil, saved, and unzipped, the font name had been changed in the font subdirectory to font.001.ttf.

That doesn't happen anymore from Sigil 0.2.0beta1 onwards.