Font Wars

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

SapereAude

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Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

Without giving away my exact age, I started using a PC in 1981 or 1982, when someone's idea of a "powerful" PC was an IBM PC with TWO 360k floppy drives and 256k of RAM. From there, I have gone through MS-DOS from version 2.1 through 6.0, and then Windows from Windows 95 to 98 to XT to Windows 7 and now Windows 10. Each version of Windows came with different standard fonts. Various versions of Microsoft Office added more fonts. And, over the years, I have purchased font collections as well as downloaded fonts from "free" font web sites. And all that was fine, as long as I was using the fonts for personal correspondence and report writing.

Now that I'm looking at trying to publish books, the font monster is lurking under the surface. Most (or all) of the fonts from Microsoft are okay to use, and even embed, in books (printed and digital) and PDFs, but not to use on "merch" (such as coffee mugs, tee shirts, etc.) Some of the fonts I have downloaded over the years likewise are okay to use for commercial projects -- but others are not. My dilemma: how to know which are licensed for commercial use?

The license information for TrueType and OpenType fonts is supposed to be included in the metadata. I have downloaded a font manager that, as far as I can tell, doesn't do diddly squat to "manage" my fonts, but it does allow me to view the metadata for each font. And many of them are blank in the license area.

If I want to use a particular font that I have on my computer, but don't remember from where I got it, how can I determine whether or not I can use it legally?
 

Brightdreamer

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My guess: the best ways would either be to search for the font again, or to ask on a font site - like DaFont or Font Squirrel or such - for more information.

I'd probably err on the "better safe than sorry" side and look for fonts that you know, now, are good for commercial use. (Font Squirrel specializes in this, and you can see usage info before you download at DaFont and most legitimate font sites.)

Good luck!
 

AW Admin

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Google the font. Find out who made it, where it retails, etc.

And there's a high probability that if the font isn't from one of the major houses (Adobe, Linotype, etc.) that it is a knockoff of a known font and someone at a font site will recognize it or its original.
 

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