contributing new font package for xorg

Jesse Barnes jbarnes at
Thu Aug 11 09:49:18 PDT 2005

On Thursday, August 11, 2005 7:19 am, Glynn Clements wrote:
> > 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:

It is not at all obvious.

> > 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.

Yes, if the commercial license you operate under requires royalty 

> > 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
> email.

I think you missed the point.  The original issue was about GPL fonts, 
which are all about "derivative works".  Clearly if I don't have a 
license to distribute Monospace, I'd be in violation of my license if I 
chose to do so, but that's not at issue.

The issue is whether it's ok to distribute a *non-modified* font which 
is licensed under the stock GPL as part of a document, without having 
that document be considered part of "the Program" as described by the 
GPL and thus not subject to its section 2 requirements.

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

Like what?


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