Re. Copying wingdings

Subject: Re. Copying wingdings
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 16:40:33 LCL

Maria Hunt asked if it would be legitimate to copy selected
characters from the Wingdings font into a font editing
program, modify them, and distribute them as their own
creation, embedded within a document.

Fonts pose interesting copyright problems, because some
"obvious forgeries" have been legitimized in recent court
cases, despite what seems to the font designers (and me) to
be a clear copyright violation. You'd probably be safe
doing this, but I wouldn't recommend it on ethical grounds.
Three suggestions:

- Write to the font foundry for permission; for such a
limited use (i.e., a few characters), they might feel
charitably disposed to you and grant permission. This would
satisfy both your legal and ethical sides.

- If you import the characters into the font software for
modification, modify them significantly. "Based on" designs
are legally acceptable provided that they involve
significant intellectual effort on your part, since only
the exact letterforms in the original font are copyrighted
(e.g., no one holds copyright on the letter S, only on its
unique appearance in a font). Ethically, since many current
fonts are exact scanned replicas of traditional metal type,
recast for the new medium (laser printers and monitors),
some without the original designer's permission, I'd say
your effort would be every bit as defensible as the efforts
of those who digitize "classic type" and copyright it.

- Last option: Try a portable document technology such as
Adobe Acrobat, WordPerfect Envoy, or No Hands Software's
Common Ground. These programs produce distributable online
files that use your existing fonts (or create convincing
simulacra) without any of the copyright problems you've
noted. Note, however, that each program works differently
and some may not handle dingbats and other ornamental fonts

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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