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.

Jason Woolman
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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