contributing new font package for xorg

Glynn Clements glynn at
Thu Aug 11 07:19:03 PDT 2005

Jesse Barnes wrote:

> > GPLing fonts means that every document that puts the fonts inside it
> > would be GPLed as well (certain pdfs some level of ps and other kind
> > of docs do that). that can cause major legal issues with articals or
> > books someone decide to sell in pdf format.
> > Ironicly enough it also mean that GFDL licensed doc using GPL fonts
> > would break both GPL and GFDL (fun no?:)
> This could easily turn into a licensing war, but do you have any 
> precedent or strong legal basis for that statement?

It should be obvious. However, some comments from the FSF:

> Just because a document uses a certain font doesn't mean it's a 
> "derivative work" of that font, since the font is easily changeable 
> without affecting the content of the document (in my very unlawyerly 
> opinion).

Ely was referring to the case where the font is embedded in the
document. If you distribute such a document, you're distributing the
font. As with any original work, any such distribution requires the
consent of the copyright holder, and would have to comply with any
restrictions which they imposed.

E.g. if the font was commercially licensed, requiring a royalty for
each copy, you would have to pay the royalty regardless of whether you
distribute the font as a TTF file, embedded in a ZIP file, or embedded
in a PDF document.

> I definitely don't consider this email to be a derivative 
> work of the Monospace font that came with my Fedora installation, even 
> if I attach it to the mail so you can see it as I composed it.

Whether or not the email as a whole is a "derivate work" is largely
irrelevant. If you didn't have permission to distribute the Monospace
font, you may be violating copyright law by attaching it to your

[I say "may" because US case law places some limitations on the
ability to copyright fonts.]

Glynn Clements <glynn at>

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