Something that I've thought about before but not gone to extensive efforts to deal with is the copyrights of fonts.

In the past I used to download quite a few fonts for a variety of purposes (mostly related to Napier Subculture) and saw quite a few things that placed restrictions on their use. More recently I've been working with a few other people to try to put together a finalised version of the Gorkamorka document template for tUGS.

I'm still not entirely satisfied with the box-out options but the headers and footers are mostly good now. The fonts look good too but the rights attached to them are a lot murkier. Recently I took the time to try to clear things up a bit and discovered something interesting:

In the UK and US typefaces cannot be copyrighted.

Well that makes things easier, doesn't it!

Except fonts aren't typefaces. They're ruled to be little software programmes that scale typefaces and as such are classified as literary works and therefore remain encumbered until the end of human history, or as close to thereabouts as to make no difference.

What is in fact not illegal is to print out the font and recreate it. Yep - if one prints out a letter per page, scans it in and traces it in a font program then it's all nice and legal. That doesn't seem bizarre, does it...

So aside from spending a day or three recreating fonts what are our options when it comes to text for Gorkamorka articles?

Well it depends. We have been using a rather costly font from Adobe called News Gothic that dates back to a typeface from 1908. It looks stylish and all that and whether people pirate it or not to run the template doesn't affect us but it's not exactly in the spirit of things if we don't throw in the fonts as well.

Of course we don't own the rights to it and so can't grant a software license for it, so we're out of luck there. A single license for each of the four weights of the font would set the user back £100. Not exactly worth it just for a scenario, unless you're a headcase like me. On the other hand there has to be something or we'll end up with documents floating around that look dreadful!

As it happens though there's been a recent development (relative to how long we've been using the font) - Adobe System Source Sans Pro:



Whether it's suitable is the next job. There's also the problem of whether we're trying to recreate the look of Da Uvver Book or articles published in things like Gubbinz?

The problem here is that Da Uvver Book uses a serif font and Gubbinz uses a sans serif font. Erk.

Da Uvver Book uses Palatino (based on the 1948 typeface) for its body text. This font was bundled with Mac computers from 1984 onwards (as far as I can tell) and (If the data on the PDF is right) the book was put together using QuarkXpress on a Mac.

So now instead of needing one free font we need two. Great. Well here we're in luck too as there is actually a free version called TeX Gyre Pagella that seems virtually indistinguishable from the Apple version. Sorted.

There's also the matter of Civic.ttf. It used to get passed around as an Orky font and it is actually relevant but that's not its name. Its name is actually, sigh, Honda. Well, sometimes it's ITC Honda. Other times it's Heidelberg Normal. Yeah, tracing its origin has been awkward and my best lead so far is Corel, 1992. Since then there have been various other varieties of it.

Ultimately it may be the font that has to receive the ol' scan and trace treatment. Perhaps while I'm at it I'll throw in some other glyphs, after all I drew most of them for use in Tagz.

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