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Old 29 April 2016, 12:39   #1
Marcuz
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Ancient OS fonts licenses

I'm having a difficult time understanding how font licenses works in general and what's the status of the old System bitmap fonts, like Topaz for Workbench, the Cbm64 etc.

Maybe someone can address these questions:

- who is the designer of a given font: the one who 'invented' the font's look and therefore created the first copy of it, and that's it? Or also the one who created from scratch a font that look exactly like the first one, with negligible differences, but with no passage of actual data if not by human eye judgement?

- Consequently, if someone recreates Topaz, for instance, by eye with a service like, Fontstruct, who's the designer?

- Regardless the above, what's the status of those old fonts? Are they tied to the OS license or each of them property of the original designers?

Thanks!
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Old 29 April 2016, 14:14   #2
wizard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcuz View Post
- Consequently, if someone recreates Topaz, for instance, by eye with a service like, Fontstruct, who's the designer?
If it's a 1:1 copy - or really close to - of a commercial font then it's most likely copyright infringement.

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Originally Posted by Marcuz View Post
- Regardless the above, what's the status of those old fonts? Are they tied to the OS license or each of them property of the original designers?
I would say that depends on the deal between the company behind the OS and the designer. If they were solely paid for by the company then most likely the company owns the copyright. If they instead were licensed then the original designer holds the copyright.
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Old 29 April 2016, 15:00   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard View Post
If it's a 1:1 copy - or really close to - of a commercial font then it's most likely copyright infringement.
This is what I only partly understand: there's fonts / fonts families that are almost identical from foundry to foundry, where it's clearly stated that one is derivative of the other, and in case of pixel fonts, Topaz again, for instance, there's this page:
https://trueschool.se/html/fonts.html
where the site owner assigns the copyright of the derivative font to himself, only for FON format.

Is this a matter of how the glyph curves are made, where an invisible difference to the eye in the pixel format is instead there in the actual cuves that create the font?

Or another one, Apple's Chicago as confronted with ingoFonts Chiq, the font face is pretty much the same, only two letters are different that I can see.
I'm sure that the glyphs will vary much, but for pixelfonts, at small sizes, how do you set the bar for those differences to be of import?
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Old 29 April 2016, 17:20   #4
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Like many retro computing related legal questions, this is something that probably can't be answered without a precedent, and even that would only really apply to one country.

Until such time, the answer is essentially that nobody cares
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Old 29 April 2016, 17:54   #5
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Wasn't there an American precedent about the copyrightable nature of 8 pixel fonts?

I vaguely remember something about a verdict of them not being copyrightable due to the reasonably small amount of possible ways to represent a readable alphabet in that space.
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Old 29 April 2016, 17:56   #6
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Ahh, short pointer to start reading here: https://www.renpy.org/wiki/renpy/mis..._and_Copyright
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Old 29 April 2016, 18:20   #7
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Thanks for your answers; I understand more the diference between font and typeface, at least, by reading the articles linked in the document pointed to in the previous post.

I'm not yet clear as to where a manual reproduction of a rastered typeface of larger (my issue is with 12px pixelfont) sits in the context, specifically if the new result is a ttf font, though.
I've addressed the question to the Fontstruct support, I'll let you know what they reply.
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Old 29 April 2016, 21:30   #8
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One thing you didn't mention: The Topaz font in 1.3 is different from 2.x (did 3.x use the same font?)

It would be nice to know who designed Topaz though!
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Old 08 May 2016, 09:42   #9
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I smell a spammer. See also the only other post.
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