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Fonts website folds under legal threat

By Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Oct 2005, 19:53:55 | Permalink | Printable

Shadow of five figure fine forces popular resource offline

A motif of font designThe RISC OS forum and resources website, Iconbar has withdrawn its fonts sub-site following a legal threat. Harry Decker's Font Emporium contained thousands of RISC OS fonts and was available for free download in the form of a 300M archive from fonts.iconbar.com. However, the site's webmaster has claimed that a recent legal threat from Germany has demanded nearly £17000 (25000 Euros) in fines, as some of the fonts in the archive allegedly bear an uncanny resemblance to those found in the LinoType library.

NoughtPointOne supremo Richard Goodwin, who hosted the sub-site, said he was forced to remove it all following silence from Harry. He added, "It's had a good run, but I'm certainly not going to risk getting sued for such hefty damages. Everything else I've helped build up over the years would be put at risk."

The fonts sub-site was last updated in 2003, and we understand that it is unlikely to return.


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this is terrible news, The font website was an excellent resource and one that I have used several times :-( couldn't the so-called LinoType look-a-likes be removed and the rest be put back on-line ?

 is a RISC OS Userleeshep on 3/10/05 8:03PM
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if 'i'd know earlyer, i'd downloaded the most needed fonts. but i expected the fonts-library to be online. So now another source is gone :-(

seems we really have to move to win$ :-(

the only os wich still has open fonts

 is a RISC OS Usercrow on 3/10/05 9:24PM
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Thanks Harry for all your effort it has been much appreciated. Anychance it might have been convergent evolution? If it can happen in nature I'm sure it could happen to the humble font-designer!

 is a RISC OS Userlaunch on 3/10/05 9:40PM
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crow: This is nonsense. Where do you think all these open fonts on Harry's site came from? They were converted fonts from other platforms. Each open font available for Windows can be converted, so nothing has changed in this respect. Besides, there are font CDs for RISC OS with thousands of open fonts, for instance one published by EFF (not to be confused with their excellent Professional Typography CD). So, apart from having to use other sources for free low-quality fonts, I cannot see a significant problem here.

"Oh no, my favourite web site has changed its background colour. Now, it is all over. We will all have to switch to Windows!"

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 4/10/05 8:30AM
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It is a shame but not the end of the worl for me as I took the oppotunity to download the entire thing and burn it to CD a year ago or so.


 is a RISC OS Userjmason on 4/10/05 9:29AM
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didn't even know they were there otherwise would have downloaded them need to pay more attention to the web sites in future. double DOH!

 is a RISC OS Userpmcd on 4/10/05 10:38AM
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The complaints 'as stated' is nonsense - but that doesn't make the threat any less real for an individual without lawyers on the payroll. Having a source of fonts that could be used for practically any specialist purpose was very handy and - must be thrown at those cash-happy Germans (preferably wrapped around something solid like a half-brick!) - was the *only* source (for RISC OS) for many of the fonts there. But: For body (rather than specialist display) fonts those available as standard in RISC OS are better than the Windows equivalent and there are superb fonts available commercially from EFF - not to mention those bundled with some apdl products. Fonts are expensive to produce and it looks like more of us will have to pay. The best are very well worth the price.

EFF sell a selection of 805 fonts on a CD for 99 pounds - sometimes discounted at shows and that's ultra-cheap. You can purchase a much wider range of individual fonts and eg the four fonts that make up the beautiful EFF Bodoni would cost 20 pounds for the four. New world.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 4/10/05 10:47AM
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To the RISC OS, welcome to the real (patented) world!!

 is a RISC OS Userbernie on 4/10/05 3:25PM
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jc: Which complaints 'as stated'?

Anyway, I agree that the EFF professional typography CDs are fantastic value for money and are practically a required purchase for any Acorn user who wants to do something a bit diferent to the usual Trinity/Times New Roman, Homerton/Helvetica and Corpus/Courier trio. My only complaint is that it gives you so much choice that you can spend ages flicking through the available fonts in your chosen category (including four Bodoni fonts, if you choose) when you're only writing a shopping list!

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 4/10/05 9:44PM
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ninja: The bit about 'bear a resemblance'. If that were an acceptable reason there would need to be many more complaints! I do think that the presence of so many 'free' fonts does stop users properly appreciating good fonts - but the Harry Decker collection did enable you to find that one-off special. For that it's a great loss.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 5/10/05 12:57AM
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jc: The bit about "bear a resemblance" appears to actually include the word "uncanny" - so your slight misquote makes the complaint sound less than Drobe reports it as, but even Drobe lessens the scale. In the TIB article (Link: [link]) Rich does actually say "certain converted Windows fonts from the LinoType Library in Germany" - which is about as straight from the horse's mouth as you can get.

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 5/10/05 10:30AM
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VinceH: I must admit that I understood the HD collection to be converted Windws fonts that claimed to be freely available. I say 'claimed' as it is notoriously difficult to identify the provenance of many. I'm sure HD tried to cover himself by making it clear that any cpyright fonts that got to the site in error would be removed immediately - hence my reaction to the demand for money.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 5/10/05 1:27PM
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jc: your understanding of the status of the fonts may or may not be correct - I've never used the site. My comment was merely about your (slight) misquote of what the Drobe article says, which in turn differs from what Rich wrote on Iconbar - bearing in mind you were using that misquote to justify your claim that the "complaints as stated is nonsense".

As to whether or not HD covered himself by stating such things - that point becomes mooter than something incredibly moot to the point of eclipsing everything else that is moot when he is "nowhere to be found".

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 5/10/05 3:01PM
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Not nice to see potential software pirates comments.

If there were fonts on the site which were illegal then surely the people that downloaded them should go and delete them off their hard drive? Not brag here online on how they're glad that they've got a copy!

I presume that the author of the web site did actually check the evidence from LinoType and must have found it to be at leasy partly true? Otherwise the idea of a big company being able to close down web sites just by claiming some kind of theft doesn't bare thinking about...

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 7/10/05 2:45PM
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@quartermass: Welcome to the real world. What would you do, risc all your money in a trial or simply delete the fonts?

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 7/10/05 4:46PM
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Nice read: dutch: [link] balelfish english: [link]

 is a RISC OS Useregel on 7/10/05 4:47PM
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