I work for a Native American (First Nation) group in Canada. We are looking for
font with a character set the includes the IPA extensions utilized by our
writing system. We are interested in the GNU FreeFont and would like to make
some additions/amendments to the font. During this process questions about
licensing and copyright were brought up.
A designer we were working with states the GNU fonts looked like three known
fonts to her, and as such, their listing by GNU would raise intellectual
property issues. She brought up the following arguments:
cons: Quality of fonts may be an issue (e.g., poor shaping of letters, missing
characters, spacing and other functional problems) and there is no one to
appeal to for correction. (It takes time, technical expertise and artistry to
get all these things right in a typeface. People who invest their time and
experience in that kind of activity usually need to be compensated. There are
some exceptions, which I describe below.)
cons: Intellectual property (IP) issues arise if the basis for the free font
was a design someone else owned the copyright to, i.e., the party offering the
font built on someone else's work. In a survey of thousands of fonts on one
free-font site, Ascender Corporation found this to be one of the biggest
Can you tell me how licensing was dealt with?
We would love to work with the FreeFont and rerelease any changes/additions but
want to make sure we are legally covered.
Senior Archivist/RM Specialist
Musqueam First Nation
6735 Salish Drive
Vancouver, BC V6N 4C4
Phone: (604) 269-3346
Fax: (604) 263-4212
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