Checking fonts licensing

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A page of the Fonts Special Interest Group

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(22:34:36) mether: nim-nim: ping
(22:34:52) nim-nim: mether: pong
(22:35:15) mether: nim-nim: how do you verify a font's license?
(22:35:29) mether: nim-nim: I ran strings on it but can font forge be used?
(22:35:32) nim-nim: mether: in what sense?
(22:35:44) LyosNorezel: mether: check upstream?
(22:36:01) mether: LyosNorezel: upstream website sometimes lies about the actual license
(22:36:11) nim-nim: mether: you can access most fields in fontforge
(22:36:27) nim-nim: however many font authors don't fill them
(22:36:36) nim-nim: or copy info from some other font
(22:36:36) mether: nim-nim: ah ok
(22:36:42) LyosNorezel: now why would the author lie about what license he choses?
(22:36:55) nim-nim: or change idea on licensing and forget to update metadata
(22:36:58) ***LyosNorezel is confused
(22:37:10) nim-nim: so in-font info is unreliable at best
(22:37:38) mether: LyosNorezel: various reasons. sometimes it is deceptive. sometimes they are simply unaware of changes
(22:38:51) LyosNorezel: mether: in this case "upstream" is the actual *AUTHOR* of the font
(22:38:58) nim-nim: mether: in practical terms in-font info are hints, detached license files are stronger hints, and usually the author is the most reliable source
(22:39:15) nim-nim: with google that may tell you if the author has an history of fabrication
(22:39:16) LyosNorezel: er... *fonts
(22:39:34) mether: LyosNorezel: yes, authors lie about font licenses too. We have a long history of that
(22:39:40) LyosNorezel: o.0
(22:40:01) mether: LyosNorezel: a recent example would be
(22:40:01) nim-nim: mether: what font are you worried about?
(22:40:07) LyosNorezel: wait... author claims *IN PUBLIC* to be using one license...
(22:40:20) LyosNorezel: but deceptively uses another?
(22:40:30) mether: LyosNorezel: yep. check that ticket
(22:40:47) nim-nim: LyosNorezel: the author claims author rights on something someone else did
(22:40:48) LyosNorezel: seems to me like the author would merely be setting a trap for himself...
(22:41:30) mether: LyosNorezel: copying glyphs from other fonts with incompatible licenses is not uncommon unfortunately
(22:41:41) LyosNorezel: interesting
(22:41:53) nim-nim: LyosNorezel: this is why we are very careful about crosschecking lincensing of the fonts we get in
(22:42:08) mether: LyosNorezel: fonts are quite notorious for that in fact
(22:42:16) nim-nim: LyosNorezel: but even then, it's not always possible to be 100% sure
(22:42:33) LyosNorezel: interesting
(22:42:46) nim-nim: once a font is in major distributions you have a clear licensing trail
(22:42:54) nim-nim: but before, can be murky
(22:43:08) nim-nim: mether: what font are you worried about?
(22:44:02) mether: nim-nim: I am reviewing 454128 but I am not particularly suspicious of that. Just wondering whats the common procedure used to verify the license
(22:44:43) buggbot: Bug medium, low, ---, Rahul Sundaram, ASSIGNED , Review Request: Thibault-fonts - Collection of fonts from
(22:44:59) nim-nim: mether: the common procedure is ask
(22:45:01) nim-nim: and ask
(22:45:03) nim-nim: and ask
(22:45:11) nim-nim: as many sources you can
(22:45:23) nim-nim: till you can be reasonably sure it's ok
(22:46:08) nim-nim: and use common sense
(22:46:17) LyosNorezel: well... on all 4 of the fonts packaged in the src.rpm under 454128... COPYING.LIB is the license file(s)
(22:46:37) LyosNorezel: but other than that...
(22:46:43) nim-nim: as in "the gfs fonts have been used in Athen's games, so they've probably been cross-checked to death"
(22:47:20) nim-nim: or "SIL has been making a lot of noise about font licensing so someone would have complained if they were not clean"
(22:47:54) nim-nim: or "the home page describes how the font was created, nobody but the author could have written this"
(22:47:56) nim-nim: etc
(22:48:39) mether: right, I am doing the most common things to check
(22:48:56) nim-nim: when in doubt ask on ##fonts, there are people who know the history of most legit fonts out there
(22:49:08) nim-nim: this is how X was caught
(22:49:50) mether: nim-nim: might write up these info in the fonts legal page
(22:50:11) nim-nim: that's one reason to use a chan dedicated to floss fonts and not a distro-specific one
(22:50:17) LyosNorezel: nim-nim: mether: <<-- author's page
(22:50:20) nim-nim: mether: it's a wiki
(22:50:27) nim-nim: mether: new articles welcome
(22:50:29) mether: LyosNorezel: yep. checked that
(22:51:12) nim-nim: mether: I've asked Docs team support a long time ago, but they don't seem very interested
(22:51:37) nim-nim: mether: there is a ton of stuff that should be written down properly
(22:51:41) LyosNorezel: mether: did you see the description on the Isabella font? he goes pretty indepth... not sure what's required for the "nobody but the author could have written this" title... but...
(22:52:28) mether: LyosNorezel: I am aware of the fonts to a good extend, like i said. I am just extra careful about fonts
(22:52:33) nim-nim: LyosNorezel: the danger of course is someone lifting the explanation with the fonts
(22:52:52) nim-nim: which is why checking in google there is not another page with the smae stuff on is good
(22:53:09) LyosNorezel: nim-nim: true... though like I said above... a simple google search usually turns up such things
(22:53:46) LyosNorezel: nim-nim: I did that long before I even started this... verifiable by searching yourself
(22:54:28) nim-nim: LyosNorezel: the fonts on the wishlist have all been pre-checked
(22:54:41) LyosNorezel: mether: I understand the caution... merely point out what's written on the authors site... and my own searches
(22:54:46) nim-nim: not that the checks are perfect but I'm reasonably sure none of them is a risk
(22:54:49) LyosNorezel: nim-nim: really?
(22:54:55) LyosNorezel: I did not know that
(22:55:53) nim-nim: there may be some fonts in there whith a licensing mess
(22:56:26) nim-nim: but none of them "stolen" that I know of. ONly licensing messes created by the original authors
(22:56:49) LyosNorezel: the only one I know may have a licensing issue... was the Engadget font... which I have removed (for now)
(22:57:01) LyosNorezel: still waiting to hear back from engadget
(22:57:25) nim-nim: LyosNorezel: when the SIG was created, and the wishlist started,
(22:57:40) nim-nim: Fedora font situation had regressed to a pityful stage
(22:58:16) nim-nim: so the people who filled the initial wishlist usually only added well-known fonts on it
(22:58:26) nim-nim: and skipped the others
(22:58:41) LyosNorezel: good to know
(22:58:47) nim-nim: since just adding fonts we were reasonably certain of
(22:59:09) nim-nim: already represented more font packages than what was in Fedora at the time
(22:59:47) nim-nim: however if we manage to package those
(22:59:58) nim-nim: the next stage is going to be more dangerous
(23:02:58) LyosNorezel: nim-nim: "more dangerous" how?
(23:03:56) nim-nim: LyosNorezel: more dangerous is that most of the fonts on the wishlist have a distro history or something like that
(23:04:22) nim-nim: when we start looking at fonts without a known history
(23:04:32) nim-nim: we'll need to be a lot more careful
(23:04:50) LyosNorezel: hmmm... makes sense

2008-07-18 IRC logs

Fonts in Fedora
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