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Will W3C Accept DRM For Webfonts?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the magic-8-ball-time dept.

GUI 315

dotne writes "Microsoft has submitted Embedded OpenType (EOT) to W3C and a slimy campaign for EOT has been launched. EOT is a DRM layer on top of normal TrueType/Opentype files; EOT ties a font file to a certain web page or site and prevents reuse by other pages/sites. Microsoft's IE has supported EOT for years, but it has largely been ignored due to the clumsiness of having to regenerate font files when a page changes. Now that other browsers are moving to support normal TrueType and OpenType on the web (Safari, Opera, Mozilla, Prince), W3C is faced with a question: should they bless Microsoft's EOT for use on the web? Or, should they encourage normal font files on the web and help break Microsoft's forgotten monopoly?"

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315 comments

Loaded question (5, Funny)

celardore (844933) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783499)

"Or, should they encourage normal font files on the web and help break Microsoft's forgotten monopoly?"

Gee, I wonder what /. will think...

Re:Loaded question (0)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783545)

Because I won't override those anyways and use a standard font of my choosing.

Use font-family, do NOT specify a font for me. I, or my browser, will choose the font.

Re:Loaded question (4, Interesting)

Gyga (873992) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783795)

What if I want a fancy title without using an image that screws over scalability (fluid layouts FTW) and screen reading software? Sane font usage could be good for design purposes.

Of course we need options/extensions to over ride fonts when the Myspace-Unreadability-Guild (TM) figures out that black on black in weird grunge font looks good.

Re:Loaded question (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783973)

I don't want your fancy font! If my browser wants to use foo-font regular, point 10, I want it to be able to.

If you are more worried over presentation, HTML may not be the media for you.

Re:Loaded question (4, Insightful)

Gyga (873992) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784219)

So over ride it (within a week of any sort of font whatever being implemented in Firefox there will be an extension), designers still should be able to design something. Heck this way you would get text that can be adjusted by your browser instead of an image.

Re:Loaded question (5, Insightful)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784221)

While I agree with you in theory, I don't think you're considering the practicality here. Many web designers come from the print world where they _do_ have total control over presentation. Yes, they need to learn about separating structure and presentation. But, we should do everything we can to encourage them to design "correctly." I think the GPs point was that letting designer's pick a specific font is better than them deciding to use an image instead of text - he was offering up a compromise. Now, whether or not I agree is a whole other question ;-)

Re:Loaded question (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784235)

And web design may not be for you. Set your damn user style sheet and it'll override whatever attractive layout the designer provided for you with whatever ugly font you want.

I'm not a designer, but let's stop pretending it's 1995.

Re:Loaded question (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784011)

Use sIFR? Uses flash but has decent failover in the event the Flash doesn't show up/gets munged.

Re:Loaded question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784105)

But if you allow too much ability to override the designer's font/layout mandates, how will Autechre update their MySpace [myspace.com]?!

Re:Loaded question (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784387)

Use font-family, do NOT specify a font for me. I, or my browser, will choose the font.

My page, my design. But feel free to use a browser that does anything you want to the pages you want to display. But the vast majority of the rest of the world likes visiting well-designed pages.

Re:Loaded question (1, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784435)

A well designed page has no care for the specific font that is used, only the style of font and size.

Re:Loaded question (5, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783565)

60% will think "That depends on how much money Microsoft throws at the W3C.
35% will think "So what, I won't use it anyway."
4% will think "Microsoft should do whatever it pleases, nothing has stopped it from doing that anyway."

The remaining 1% will be various trolls and flamebait.

Re:Loaded question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24783599)

You seem a little bit confused. Here, let me help you.

1% will think "That depends on how much money Microsoft throws at the W3C.
4% will think "So what, I won't use it anyway."
35% will think "Microsoft should do whatever it pleases, nothing has stopped it from doing that anyway."
The remaining 60% will be various trolls and flamebait.

Re:Loaded question (0, Troll)

noctrl (452600) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783731)

hehe, exactly

but,.. why posting as "Anonymous Coward"
or can I say "American Coward" ??

Re:Loaded question (0, Redundant)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783785)

That has everything to do with nothing. Congratulations, you almost won the "most useless post" award! Unfortunately for you, I just won it, with this one.

Re:Loaded question (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784027)

Oh no, your post contains valid content discussing a matter at hand, as does mine. GP has... no basis in anything whatsoever related to... well, anything. You said it a lot better than I did.

Re:Loaded question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784299)

I am not American, you insensitive clod!

Re:Loaded question (4, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783777)

5% will think "That depends on how much money Microsoft spends to pack voting bodies with sock puppets."
10% will think "So what, I won't use it anyway."
50% will think "Microsoft will do whatever it wants anyway."
90% will be various trolls and flamebait.

Disclaimer: totals do not add to 100% because some contestants qualify for more than one category. Contents may have settled in shipping. 186,000 miles a second.... it's not just a good idea, it's the law. No animals were harmed in testing this product. Fnord.

Re:Loaded question (2, Informative)

MarkKB (845289) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784323)

"Or, should they encourage normal font files on the web and help break Microsoft's forgotten monopoly?" Gee, I wonder what /. will think...

It's interesting to note that the linked page [cnet.com] has absolutely nothing to do with EOT; rather, it refers to Microsoft's Core Fonts for the Web.

Besides, this is quite old news - I certainly knew about it several months ago, and the submission website [w3.org] says it was submitted in March, over five months ago.

Yay! (4, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783523)

If there's one thing that I wake up every morning with a deep desire to have, it's more random, cutesy, difficult to read fonts on websites.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24783703)

At least it will be text. Right now, when web designers want to make their crap unreadable, they use an image of their lame font. With embedded fonts, you can override and set the text to a sane font.

Re:Yay! (4, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783827)

If you thought Vista was slow now, wait until it has to check with a DRM server to display ANYTHING!

I worked in IT for a summer when I was in college. The company's art department always needed much more powerful computers than the others. As I was setting the machines up, I discovered why they needed such fancy hardware. It was all the damn fonts! Those things made the machines so slow, it was ridiculous.

Re:Yay! (2, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783867)

I'm pretty sure that the market of font designers interested in being able to protect their fonts isn't like that at all. There is a vast, on-going world of typographers who design completely normal, sane, and orderly-looking fonts for typesetting books and newspapers, all of which are respectable, legible, and very much concerned with readability. Because these typographers can't get everyone to buy licenses for their stuff, though, the Internet is reduced to a bare handful of typefaces, most of which aren't even really very good. There's still the obvious moral issue of DRM, but the proponents of the idea are much more serious than that.

Re:Yay! (4, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783951)

The thing is that font designs aren't actually copyrightable in the US. Microsoft etc get round that by copyrighting the "font software", ie they argue that the .ttf file is actually a computer program that displays the font, and that computer program as distinct from the font design it dispays is copyrightable.

Re:Yay! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784035)

That's very true. The net effect of fonts' uncopyrightableness is that type designers are very sore about their stuff getting ripped off and feel defenceless when it comes to protecting their content. That's why they're so eager to cling to DRM.

Re:Yay! (1, Insightful)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784073)

Blah blah blah ... I make something and therefore I demand you pay me for it!

Re:Yay! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784307)

In this case it's a little more like "I made something and therefore I demand that you pay me to use it." Operative word being "use," indicating that some transaction is occurring. If it makes you feel any better, in the olden days, department chairs and heads of state would commission fonts (I.e., people would be paid for their time in designing them), and then make their designs publicly available, such as with the Romain du Roi. Most transactions thereafter would involve physical copies of the fount and the labour involved in cutting them.

PDF (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784291)

If you want precise fonts, use PDF.

As far as I know, PDF has supported embedded fonts from the start. There are some people who obsess over fonts embedded in their PDF documents and using exactly the right font, and what's the impact?

Most people don't even notice.

Trying to turn HTML into PDF has never worked well.

If it doesn't even make a difference for PDF, why should we care?

Re:PDF (2, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784485)

It's not exactly revolutionary to say that most people don't care about art or design. But fonts can do a lot of things nonetheless: they might contain drop-caps that don't turn into a nasty pixelated mess when printed, or they might contain other ornaments, or an alien script for a sci-fi novel. The main advantage here is that they're in a vector format with a lower overhead than SVG.

On top of that, this can sort of be correlated to the holocaust of the GNOME stupidity debate. Why should the people who do want nice features and customization be forced to suffer because the majority simply doesn't care or won't notice? Body fonts can do a great many things with apparently subtle changes, from making a page look very antiquated to expressing emotions. Maybe not everyone notices it, but it still provides an important element of the experience tot hose who do.

Also, this could mean fewer flash banners made in the name of interesting fonts. (I can't think of any, but I'm sure it's been done.)

DRM on FONTS?! (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783543)

What...the...fuck?

Next they'll have DRM on colors.

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (2, Funny)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783685)

I call #FFFFFF, #000000 and everything inbetween!

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784223)

You might want to be carefull about claiming ownership of that second one...

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24783753)

And to cover up the analog hole, they will display such DRM'd colors after randomly selecting a new color, and displaying that instead.

That should put a stop to those damned color pirates once and for all!

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (5, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783913)

This may come as a shock, but professionally-designed fonts can actually take a year or two to perfect. In terms of effort involved in creating them, DRM on music is probably more absurd.

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (5, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784257)

Copyright on fonts makes a lot of sense, just as for music, novels, films and a lot of other stuff.

DRM, on the other hand, sounds like a thoroughly nasty idea; in jurisdictions with crazy laws like the DMCA, it could even make free software web browsers (that come with source code so you can modify them) illegal, just as free programs to play DVDs have been made illegal.

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784391)

I wholeheartedly agree that DRM is a dumb idea. I only meant to indicate that, in terms of effort, fonts are probably more deserving of protection than music.

Only in an ideal world... (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784499)

Copyright on fonts makes a lot of sense

In an ideal world I'd agree. However the way things seem to be going I'd be dead against it because some corporate lawyer would find away to make me pay to use my own handwriting.

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (2, Insightful)

Radhruin (875377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784079)

Have you tried to sit down and create a font before? Making a font that is suitable for a certain purpose, be it attractive headings and titles or body copy or whatever, takes a very long time, a lot of hard work, a lot of know how, and yes, artistic talent. DRM on a font is no less absurd than DRM on software, music, movies, photos, or the like.

Now, that's not to say that DRM has a place in web fonts, and that's certainly not to say that EOT is the way to implement it. Comparing a font to a color, though, is the utmost of absurdity.

Re:DRM on FONTS?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784403)

DRM on a font is no less absurd than DRM on software, music, movies, photos, or the like.

I don't think anyone is arguing that it is less absurd.

Home Depot claimed a color was copyrighted (1)

Geof (153857) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784413)

Chose a Ralph Lauren color chip. Went to Home Depot to have it mixed in their brand of paint. They refused. Said the color was copyrighted. Asked a different staff member on a different day - same response. This is in Canada, where despite stronger copyright law in many areas this kind of silliness seems to be rarer.

IANAL, but I don't believe the law supports the copyright of a color (a collection of colors might be a different matter). That's in theory. Practice, unless you have buckets of cash for lawyers, is another matter.

Doesn't matter (2, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783597)

The spec for W3C can say whatever it wants. If the standards body makes a mistake, like blessing useless DRM where it doesn't belong, the rest of the web will kindly ignore the stupid standard. Seriously, IE isn't standards compliant, what would keep Mozilla, Safari, any of the other browsers from simply ignoring this?

Re:Doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

Westech (710854) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783721)

The spec for W3C can say whatever it wants. If the standards body makes a mistake, like blessing useless DRM where it doesn't belong, the rest of the web will kindly ignore the stupid standard. Seriously, IE isn't standards compliant, what would keep Mozilla, Safari, any of the other browsers from simply ignoring this?

How about the fact that being standards compliant is one of the main advantages that Mozilla, Safari, and other browsers currently have over IE? IE ignoring W3C standards has significantly weakened the usefulness of the standards. If other browsers are forced to also begin ignoring the standards due to BS like this being adopted then the existence of the standards will become pointless.

Your browser doesn't support ANSI X3.64! (4, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783895)

Just because a standard exists ^[1mdoesn't^[0m mean it has to be supported.

Re:Your browser doesn't support ANSI X3.64! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784131)

No, when it comes to something as major as the web, all major standards (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) need to be adhered to by the standards. For example, Canvas has a lot of potential, unfortunately MS seems determined not to include that in IE.

Re:Your browser doesn't support ANSI X3.64! (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784505)

No, when it comes to something as major as the web, all major standards (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) need to be adhered to by the standards.

Assuming you mean what I think you were trying to say (...by the standard browsers? Something like that?), where do you get the idea that this embedded font scheme is a "major standard"?

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784455)

Really? Mozilla (Gecko) and Safari (Webkit) support -all- standards? Why don't they always render things identically, then? Why do most fancy JavaScript (AJAX - yuck) need browser detection to actually work?

Seriously, there's no browser that supports every standard. They just break them in less ways.

Re:Doesn't matter (2, Interesting)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783787)

Indeed - support for @font-face [webkit.org] is already here in Safari and is being considered for Firefox.

font-face (not this MS EOT font stuff) is a real boon for web typography - I just wish the W3C had asked some designers/typographers their opinions earlier in the standards process, as currently type on the web is really poor. As for EOT - they tried that years ago, and it didn't take off because of.... DRM. I don't see what they think will be different this time round.

Here's hoping other browser manufacturers simply ignore Microsoft.

Monopoly (0)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783635)

[S]hould they bless Microsoft's EOT for use on the web? Or, should they encourage normal font files on the web and help break Microsoft's forgotten monopoly?"

Am I missing something? It seems to me that the very thing Microsoft is proposing - a standard for enforcing font file copy rights - is the thing the linked article suggests is necessary to break Microsoft's "monopoly" on web fonts. After all, high quality fonts are not something that can be cranked out in a couple of nights of coding. Non-MS font labs are probably not inclined to give them away for free if they have no protection from people ripping them off.

The fonts that the supposed "monopoly" centers around don't need this standard.

Re:Monopoly (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783949)

Well, this article isn't talking about Microsoft's stranglehold on typefaces as much as it is about their stranglehold on standards. If you want to be nitpicky, Adobe and Linotype set the standard typefaces and Microsoft requisitioned Monotype to rip them off; we're more in the shadow of Adobe's decisions than we are those of Microsoft.

Re:Monopoly (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784531)

[S]hould they bless Microsoft's EOT for use on the web? Or, should they encourage normal font files on the web and help break Microsoft's forgotten monopoly?"

Am I missing something? It seems to me that the very thing Microsoft is proposing - a standard for enforcing font file copy rights - is the thing the linked article suggests is necessary to break Microsoft's "monopoly" on web fonts.

I believe the monopoly referenced is MS's monopoly influence on the Web browser and, hence, Web technologies markets.

what is the point? (1, Redundant)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783651)

I can't believe that today people think DRM actually works. You make it part of some standard, it is cracked 2 days later, then for decades we still have to deal with it.

Why not just assume that it will get cracked, then not implement DRM in the first place?

Point isn't DRM, but the leverage provided (4, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784059)

The DRM itself isn't the point. The point is the leverage that DRM provides, when combined with dubious things like the DMCA and the BSA. The point is that this gives MS one more club with which to beat people. "Our unannounced raid on your offices shows that you've used our fonts without authorization. Under the provisions of the DMCA, you are now liable for criminal charges ... or we could instead graciously *license* those fonts to you for the mere sum of US$200K, and forget this ever happened."

The DRM itself is not the point. It is merely the means to another end.

Cheers,

Re:what is the point? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784183)

Well, the DRM protecting Blu-Ray discs hasn't been cracked yet. Also, in the case of fonts, their primary vulnerability isn't large-scale commercial IP infringement, or hardcore piracy, but casual downloaders. If you type "free fonts" into Google, most of the stuff on the first page has quietly filtered out of corporations via bored secretaries and wage-slaves armed with floppies. DRM as a hurdle is perceived as being able to drastically reduce casual piracy, which is what typographers and font foundries get bitten the hardest by. Since fonts are perceived as totally valueless by the average person (as rather evidenced by some of the comments in this discussion), there's a lot of sharing that goes on, and that has more of an effect than cracking groups dedicated to the business--so DRM looks like the right tool for the right job.

EOT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24783683)

Should have called it Closed OpenType (COT)

Linux users install MS fonts??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24783695)

From the article:

Even Linux and Mac users, who often have fled Windows to avoid dependence on Microsoft, read most of their content using Microsoft fonts.

I have only once in my life even tried those fonts, back when they were freely available. Truetype support sucked on linux back then, so it was a very short lived exercise. Does anyone here regularly install those fonts on any linux computer they use? I know I haven't.

Just the mere suggestion everyone does is FUD. But this is cnet, after all.

Re:Linux users install MS fonts??? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784411)

I always found truetype fonts sucked period, and the adobe type1 fonts seemed to render better, especially when printed.

Most web sites use Windows standard fonts anyway (3, Insightful)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783737)

If you design a web site, you want it to show up looking roughly the same on most browsers. For simplicity's sake, most people use the standard fonts (and Mac equivalents).

http://www.ampsoft.net/webdesign-l/WindowsMacFonts.html [ampsoft.net]

If we're going to be embedding fonts, obviously we want as few boring, cumbersome procedures as possible. Forcing us to regenerate pages to approve font use counts as one of these.

Microsoft is barking up the wrong tree on this one.

Re:Most web sites use Windows standard fonts anywa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784209)

Microsoft might be barking up the wrong tree now, but trees change.

Much the same was said when Flash was in its upsetting little infancy, but it didn't stop clients insisting on 'immersive' experiences and sites that looked like telly. That was annoying, because the web world was suddenly over-run with tiny brainless scribblers who could only understand pictures and didn't know what RGB stood for. But in the end, it all worked out for the best. The more pointlessly obstructive dross you could load on a site's front end, the fewer visitors would get annoyed by the tawdry, transparent, mendacious, fatuous and trite marketing drivel that lurked behind it.

The same will happen with fonts. It'll be awkward and irritating and slow and offensive, but as long as the world gives sustenance to the sort of muppet that says they can do it all in Frutiger, we will just have to suck our teeth, put another line on the estimates and get back to waiting for our lives to finish.

Re:Most web sites use Windows standard fonts anywa (2, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784465)

If you design a web site, you want it to show up looking roughly the same on most browsers. For simplicity's sake, most people use the standard fonts (and Mac equivalents).

That's deeply foolish, you know. Users can (and do) set their own style sheets, and they are even more likely to change the size of the fonts in use. Expecting a page to look exactly as someone designed it to be is silly; "web designers" need to get used to the fact (and I've been going on about this on and off since before such a job description existed).

Simple (-1, Troll)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783773)

If you want "special" fonts on your web pages, you're going to have to accept some form of DRM. Font designers are not going to allow their creations to be installed and used for free on a million PCs. That, regardless of whether a font can be considered a form of IP or not, etc.

The question here is whether or not we want the special fonts. To me personally, the answer is no. Some people might feel differently, and so this might be a good option for them. Choice is important, as I am constantly told by the same people who think DRM is evil. As long a I can opt out of installing the font, just as I can opt out of installing an add-on I don't want, then fine. It's up to me to decide whether the degradation (if any) is acceptable.

As to how this is "slimy", I leave it to the "badvista" and "defectivebydesign" champions to create another series of cute FSF-sponsored attack blogs to explain in minute detail and clever creating spelling the why of it to everyone, whether we are interested or not.

And BTW, that "monopoly" was greatly aided by the early Linux desktop adopters. You sleep in the bed you make.

10% will be "Who cares, I won't use it..." (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783835)

Font designers are not going to allow their creations to be installed and used for free on a million PCs.

Who cares...

The question here is whether or not we want the special fonts.

I won't use it anyway.

And BTW, that "monopoly" was greatly aided by the early Linux desktop adopters.

What in the name of Turing's Sainted Mother are you talking about?

Re:10% will be "Who cares, I won't use it..." (0)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783899)

So you don't care and you're not going to use this. Good for you. You've enhanced the conversation enormously.

What in the name of Turing's Sainted Mother are you talking about?

Look up msttcorefonts, and if you're old enough, remember what what Linux desktops used to look like before 2003.

Re:10% will be "Who cares, I won't use it..." (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784055)

Actually, I care, because it's already too damned hard to specify that you want your pages rendered in a san-serif font as it is. What kind of sick weirdo decided that Times Roman was a sane default? If I was god of the Internet BODY { font-style: san-serif; } would DTRT. But no, you have to maintain an ever-growing font-family list...

if you're old enough, remember what what Linux desktops used to look like before 2003.

I'm old enough to remember what UNIX desktops looked like before 1973, kid, but my free UNIX of choice is FreeBSD and my window manager of choice is Windowmaker, so I have no idea what happened in 2003. Was it fierce?

Re:10% will be "Who cares, I won't use it..." (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784133)

What kind of sick weirdo decided that Times Roman was a sane default?

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Microsoft. That's besides the point though, whether you think this is useful for you is irrelevant. There are people who want everyone to browse the web with Lynx. That doesn't mean we listen to them.

but my free UNIX of choice is FreeBSD

Right, so I fail to see the reason for your faux outrage over this. Again, you don't care either way about all this, so why are you even discussing it?

Re:10% will be "Who cares, I won't use it..." (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784459)

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Microsoft.

What does that have to do with anything?

Again, you don't care either way about all this

Where did I say that? My point was that the OP was in that group, not that I was.

Re:Simple (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783993)

Who cares what font designers say. US copyright law says they have no choice in the matter. Font designs are not copyrightable.

Re:Simple (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784097)

Who cares what font designers say. US copyright law says they have no choice in the matter. Font designs are not copyrightable.

Perhaps not, but the data files that store the font are copyrightable and are copyrighted. Which means if you embed those font files in your website (maybe you'd like a nice title like Slashdot in something other than Arial), then you're violating copyright law.

Re:Simple (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784165)

Depends what kind of files you use. Linking to a series of .svg files is most likely fine. .ttf files with all the hinting information could be a problem. You can make your own though with some font creation software and the existing font, and there is nothing they can do about it.

Re:Simple (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784289)

All right: load the font (not a violation of copyright, as per USC 17.101). Examine its outlines and re-encode them separately. For bonus points, use a different outline format (say, Type 1).

You'll end up with a file that shares none of its bytes with the original file, but that still describes the same font. (Sans hinting, but who needs that these days?) I don't think the new "font program" would qualify as a derivative work because the only commonality between it and the old file is the geometry of the font itself, which cannot be copyrighted.

Re:Simple (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784409)

An anomalous decision based on a doctrine of utility and an ancient case fearing the locking-up of communication. The concern is rooted in the pre-digital age when typefaces were far more limited in number. Subsequent case law has been treading deeper into protection of the creative aspects of typeface design, particularly in light of counterexamples in Europe--copyright protection there has increased the competitive marketplace for typefaces and has resulted in no such "lockdown" on information, as the preexisting set of typefaces remains free and open to use, and all works produced on validly licensed fonts are free to use. Further, any infringement is incumbent on the producer, and avoidance is simply the use of one of the public domain, free, or purchased fonts the producer has lawful use of.

Not all typefaces would be copyrightable under the Merger Doctrine anyway, even ignoring the hundreds of typefaces ineligible for protection from the outset. Commercial typefaces can be improved through copyright protection, giving US artists an ability to compete on the international stage.

This of course, brings us to the greater point: the United States is obliged to honor the European copyrights on typefaces as a signatory to the Berne Convention. Thus, many fonts are afforded copyright protection. It's simply that due to a quirk in our Copyright Act (which we are technically obliged to change to harmonize with Europe due to international IP agreements) and an old SCOTUS decision, the typeface itself is not copyrightable here. Other means of economic protection are, however, available independent of copyright, and are used for some of the high-end typefaces and packages.

Copyright on typefaces would actually stir competition and make more fonts available freely (as in money), while continuing to permit the design and copyright-free release of typefaces to those who wish to do so. It would also eliminate a US-only oddity.

The concern about copyright on typefaces is intuitively appealing, but in practice is not a true concern. In fact, the scope of protection is so narrow that any form of independent creation without direct reproduction counts as a new typeface, so there can never be an impenetrable thicket.

standards are the way to go (1)

houbou (1097327) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783917)

Hey, Microsoft can keep their DRM scheme, I care about cross browser performance and compatibility, so I want all my sites to look similar or the same, that being said, obviously, I don't see anyone who is a developer wanting to support DRM'ed fonts. Heck DRM is clearly not working with audio/video formats, why the heck should it work with fonts?

Add it (0)

darrenkopp (981266) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783919)

the ability to embed fonts is a fantastic feature when it comes to extending your companies brand to your website.

Bogus (5, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 5 years ago | (#24783979)

Bogus argument. You could make the same claims for images; but the lack of drm in .jpg, .gif, and .png didn't stop anyone from putting images online. Hell, TEXT enjoys copyright protection, and there's all kinds of that, plain as day for anyone to "steal", embeded in every .html file!

W3C should decline, forcefully. And tell those font designers to deal with the protections on their fonts the same way everyone else deals with protections on their copyright-protected works: when you notice it, sue.

This isn't a problem anymore (3, Interesting)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784001)

Simply put, Firefox now has enough audience that web designers can't ignore it. Either EOT can be implemented with open-source code in firefox, which means its decryption scheme will be right out there in the open (and firefox can even simply fail to implement the DRM portions) - or it will only work in IE, which means it's unlikely to be used anywhere it matters.

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784095)

Support this!

Finally, a way to detect when a website is using a crappy font so I can substitute my own regular font.
If studios can protect their fonts, then I won't have to view any more sites where all of the text is embedded in an image, pdf, or rendered in a flash plugin.
I'll be able to copy and paste actual text again. I'll be able to change the font when I can't read it. And the page will only take a couple seconds to load instead of 45 minutes.

The Problems With Internet Typography... (0)

PipianJ (574459) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784107)

The problem with typography on the Internet is the desire of font creators to limit distribution of their work (as the font files themselves are copyrighted in the US, and the font designs elsewhere). Thus, DRM is most likely inevitable in some form or other. This is why PDF obeys the 'no-embedding' bit in TTF, and has the option (if not the requirement) to embed only parts of fonts.

But why stick with a proprietary format? I always wondered what the problem would be with establishing some sort of private/public key signature/encryption method of DRM.

In this way, one would use a signature on the font to ensure that the font can only be used on one domain/rooted-URL and to also 'affix' some sort of source on the file (so that taking the raw font-file won't work elsewhere, and if the decrypted data is redistributed, the source domain/site is plainly visible) and would, furthermore, only be able to be decrypted with a one-time key unique to the session (transferred with SSL?). The end user is ALWAYS going to be able to theoretically pull out the decrypted TTF or rewrite the 'tag' on the decrypted TTF marking its original source, but you're never going to get around that problem in open-source implementations, as black boxes aren't going to be kosher either. At the very least though, you could build on the idea to make it difficult enough for others to crack without trying, and prosecute with the DMCA when they do...

I don't agree with this in the long term, but it's a better solution than a proprietary black box, and is perhaps a reasonable compromise for open-source implementation as well as meeting the rather restrictive demands of the font foundries...

The 'DRM hole' (2, Informative)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784277)

Any DRM system for 'public distribution' is destined for failure. Why? Because, ultimately, you have to give the end-user some way to decrypt the raw font/music/video/whatever. If the user can decrypt it, there is NOTHING that can technically stop them from extracting the unencrypted data (as long as someone, somewhere, can write an app which pretends to be the 'legitimate app', but in reality does something the 'legitimate app' does not, like offering to save the font data to a file for you).

Encryption works to protect data between 1 part and 1 other party, where those two parties agree to not share the data with anyone else. Trying to use encryption to protect 'mass-market' distribution is a logical impossibility. Either I can or cannot decrypt the data, and if I can, I've got it, and can potentially give it to others.

Open source DRM for the win! (0)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784371)

I always wondered what the problem would be with establishing some sort of private/public key signature/encryption method of DRM.

Yes, open source DRM! Nobody would ever take advantage of the fact that if you're using DRM you're giving the recipient the encrypted data, the algorithm to decrypt it, and the key, to write a little tool that just strips the DRM off and web content you point it at! Even those commie open source people are that heartless!

Bad idea (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784135)

If we allow people to use custom fonts, they'll just start using weird fonts for internationalization instead of unicode. They'll lie and claim to be 8859-1, and in the end, we'll just return a web of babel.

Completely ineffectual DRM (1)

ThreeDayMonk (673466) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784187)

I've read the EOT spec [w3.org]. The DRM is trivally, hilariously bad:

This flag indicates that the FontData array and EUDCFotData array (if present) has been encrypted using an XOR algorithm using an XOR key of 0x50 on each byte of the font data. This happens on final data, after compression and subsetting. The font must be decrypted using the XOR key to accesses the font data.

In addition, whilst it is possible to embed only those glyphs needed, anyone who's using a CMS is realistically going to be embedding all the glyphs needed for the language anyway.

So why bother?

Embedded OpenType (EOT) (1)

loconet (415875) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784231)

OpenType.

Hey Microsoft, "Open", you keep using that word but I don't think it means what you think it means.

DRM doesn't make sense for any standard (5, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784331)

W3C shouldn't do it, but not merely because DRM is harmful to everyone. There's a deeper reason. They shouldn't do, because it doesn't make sense.

The whole point of standards is to have a spec that anyone can implement, such that differing implementations of different parts, will interoperate.

The whole point of DRM is to PREVENT interoperable implementations!

It's not just dumb to put DRM in a standard; it's a contradiction to put DRM in a standard. If the DRM works, then it's not a standard, and if it's a standard, then the DRM doesn't work.

SIFR (1)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784335)

If this helps get rid of the complete abomination that is SIFR [wikipedia.org], I'm all for it.

You've got to appreciate the fact that it actually works, but it is such a giant hack...

DRM SUCKS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24784347)

And is sucks worse for type fonts.

Microsoft is trying, once again, to monopolize the web. Someone should consider filing a class-action suit in federal trade court.

Again.

You will get my fonts when you pry them out of my cold, dead keyboard!

Brimming Over with Wrongability (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784359)

HTML is a semantic markup language, not a presentation markup language. Stylesheets allow presentation specification, but the stylesheets were separated from HTML expressly to attempt to preserve HTML's semantic nature.

Thus, we don't even need to get to the copy protection issue -- the mere idea of binding fonts to an HTML page at all is utterly laughable on its face. It belies a fundamental misunderstanding of what HTML is and the set of problems it's intended to address.

If image is more important to you than content, then go play with PDF -- that's what it's for -- and leave HTML alone.

Schwab

Talk to Monotype (0)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24784497)

W3C is faced with a question: should they bless Microsoft's EOT for use on the web? Or, should they encourage normal font files on the web and help break Microsoft's forgotten monopoly
.

There are thousands of "free" fonts to be found on the web.

But the truth of it is that type design and typography on the professional level is as a ratified a skill as you will find anywhere:

Times New Roman dates from 1931. Baskerville from 1757. Bruce Rogers and His Centaur [harvardmagazine.com]

Expecting the first-tier foundries like Monotype to make a free gift of their most artful and significant designs is simply not realistic.

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