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Understanding Font and Image Licenses

I’ve noticed recently that a lot of people seem not to entirely understand the idea of purchasing fonts or images with a license, and I suspect they find the idea intimidating. It’s not surprising, since it’s a bit different from purchasing a toaster or a book, and not something most people do every day.

To help clear up this confusion we’ve rewritten our full EULA (end user license agreement) to include not only the legalistic text of the license itself, but also colored sections which clarify and explain in some detail typical acceptable and unacceptable uses under the license to answer user questions in advance.

The basic idea of a license ought to be easy to understand. While we retain copyright and ownership of our fonts and images, when you buy them we give you a license which includes permission to use those images and fonts within certain parameters defined in the license. Some users get confused because of a superficial similarity with renting something and conclude that this means that there are additional secondary fees, but our licenses are based on a one-time payment and as long as you remain within the terms of the license there are no additional charges. So you pay for the license and as long as you have it you can use the item you bought in the ways it allows.

For example, with a font you CAN:

    Create text and titles in a publication.
    Design logos or business stationery.
    Use in posters or merchandise packaging.
    Make on-screen titles in movie, video or game production.
    Design graphics for publication, online viewing or display in a program interface

But you CANNOT:

    Embed a font in a computer or console game or other software.
    Resell or redistribut the font to secondary users.
    Use the font in the creation of a secondary form of reproduction like rubber stamps, letter stickers or transfer media.

And with an image you CAN:

    Use for illustrations in a publication or media presentation.
    Use for designing logos or business stationery.
    Inclusion as part of an original work of art like a collage.
    Use for personal reference or display by the end user.

But you CANNOT:

    Resell the image in digital format.
    Use the image in publishing prints, postcards or calendars.
    Use ithe image to create a secondary form of reproduction like rubber stamps, stickers or transfer media.

The idea of all of this is to make our products useful to you, while also retaining their value to us and to other users. The license protects our rights, but also protects you by clearly defining what you can do with our products and including in those terms the vast majority of typical uses. If the license doesn’t cover the use you have in mind, we may have a special license to cover that use (embedding, ebooks, stamps, etc) and you should contact us to discuss it.

And also be aware of this important provision in the EULA which exists to protect us and you: “Because this is a software purchase and the product is available for immediate download, the merchandise is non-returnable and we cannot provide a refund, credit or exchange. We will make every effort to make sure you receive your purchase in a timely manner and will provide a reasonable number of replacement attempts if there are delivery problems.”

So when you’re placing an order and the screen asks you to sign off on the license, I hope that the new version of the license, with the explanatory sections will help remove any ambiguity and answer any questions.

Dave

comments

2 Responses to “Understanding Font and Image Licenses”

  1. Mark Wukas on January 19th, 2009

    Thanks for this clarification. Please make it a link from your home page.

  2. Dave on February 3rd, 2009

    It’s linked from the About tab at the top of the page.

    Dave

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