We added three new licensing options to FontStruct today:
- The FontStruct License
- The FontStruct Non-Commercial License
- An All Rights Reserved “No Download” Option
The FontStruct Licenses: Control over distribution
We’re introducing two brand new licenses produced especially for FontStruct. Like the existing Creative Commons licenses these allow FontStructors to share their fonts as free downloads. Downloaders are free to use these fonts either commercially or non-commercially depending on which of the two is used. What’s new and different is that both FontStruct licenses prohibit redistribution of the downloads by anyone apart from the designing FontStructor. If you share your work using these licenses, people may not, for example, put your FontStruction on a CD of free fonts without your permission, or offer your FontStruction for download from their website without your permission.
Over the past five years, countless FontStructions have spread virally, appearing as downloads all over the web, especially as part of large font repositories such as dafont.com or fonts101.com. I know some users enjoy this viral spread and if you do, you should continue to use the appropriate Creative Commons licenses.
If however you want to exercise some control over how your designs are distributed, and if you want to ensure that people always come to your FontStruction page at FontStruct.com to get the latest version of your design, then you should try the new FontStruct licenses. There are at least three strong arguments for asking people to come to the original source here at FontStruct.com to download your designs:
- At FontStruct, they will always get the latest version rather than something outdated that somebody down- and uploaded 3 years ago.
- At FontStruct, they will have the opportunity to enter into dialog with you, the designer. They might tell you what they are using your font for, they might request some customization, or maybe just give you some feedback.
- It is always good for the FontStruct project to have more visitors coming to our site.
Note that the new FontStruct licenses do not prohibit other websites from offering FontStructions as downloads by linking back to the relevant FontStruct download page.
The new FontStruct licenses have been reviewed by a legal professional.
The All Rights Reserved “No Download” option
We know for some of you the two new FontStruct licenses don’t go far enough. You may enjoy showing your work and sharing it with the FontStruct community but you may not wish to share your FontStruction as a download. Maybe you sell a version of your work elsewhere, or plan to do so in the future, or perhaps you have made a FontStruction for a client who does not wish it to be shared as a download.
For this reason, we are also introducing a new “All Rights Reserved” licensing option which basically means others can look but can’t download.
I hope the majority of FontStructors will continue to share their work as downloads using the other licenses, but I also hope this new option will encourage some FontStructors to reveal some of their precious, hidden masterpieces by sharing them on the site. With almost 700,000 FontStructions in our database, only about 27,000 are shared. We’d like to see more of the iceberg.
I just want my font to be free for others to use
If you want to open-source your design, and make it free for all kinds of uses, you should choose one of the existing Creative Commons (CC) license options.
Choose one of the non-commercial licenses if you don’t want people using your designs for money-making projects without your permission. Choose one of the no-derivatives licenses to prevent other designers from cloning your work. Cloning is a wonderful way to share, teach and develop collaborative font designs, but occasionally people publish unaltered or minimally tweaked clones under new names. It’s difficult to stop this unethical practice, so think carefully before choosing a license which allows cloning.
Most FontStructors come here to have fun and create and share their designs, not to plough through pages of legalese. But when you reach a point where you see your designs maturing, your character sets growing, and you find your FontStructions being used in earnest by others, you may want to spend some time thinking about your choice of license.
I strongly encourage everyone to read the updated FAQ article on licensing.
Edit August 5th 2013: We’ve also since added support for the CC0 Public Domain Dedication “No Rights Reserved”.
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