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Erik Spiekermann's statements re Berthold

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Be wary about citing anything on Luc's pages (e.g. http://www-cgrl.cs.mcgill.ca/~luc/berthold.html) as evidence. In my reading of his "information" on Berthold I saw several statements that were simply untrue. I can't really comment on the Berthold-specific stuff, but one side example on the same pages: it says that Adobe makes clone fonts with published "compatibility lists." This is simply an outrageous lie.

I am neither defending nor commenting on the Hunt's actions, just saying that it can be hard to get the facts straight when one uses fanatics as sources of information.

T

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Everybody has imperfect insight and information - and yes, Luc maybe more than average. But you could see that as a result of his warm heart and copious output. "Fanatic" is certainly way off - he simply cares a lot, and that's high on my list of Good Things.

hhp

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Here Mr. Phinney represents his employer and therefore cannot speak as freely for himself as the rest of us because that might be construed as coming from Adobe. I don't blame him for that and I appreciate truth coming from anyone and everyone since I have no way of knowing who the honest ones are. I don't know about the Adobe "compatability lists" and have never heard of them prior to today.
There does seem to be a great deal of at least sentiment, if not evidence, that the once proud name of Berthold has now fallen to the level of vicious predator. It would seem that Berthold should be forthcoming and lay ALL of the truth on the table very soon if it wants to have any chance to redeem itself in the eyes of the community which not only buys but specs and recomends type faces to the world. Typographers, type designers, art directors, graphic designers, and publishers are the gatekeepers of type purchase. If many of them boycott any single foundry, it can have a large impact on their profits. We have many alternative suppliers to choose from and are within our rights for any reason to use and recomend (or not recomend) any typeface or vendor. Berthold may have legal means of preventing others from naming fonts to their liking and not paying designers for their work but there is no law that says we MUST use their products if we choose not to. No company can survive abusing their own clients.

ChrisL

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I just can't believe that Berthold spends millions promoting its fonts. Protecting, perhaps, but if it spent millions on promotion, I think that we would be aware of it.

A typographer boycott could make a difference. I don't think that your average computer user is a Berthold customer (I don't think that the average computer user buys any fonts directly).

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>I don't think that your average computer user is a Berthold customer (I don't think that the average computer user buys any fonts directly).<
That's seems true Dan. The average computer user only uses the fonts that come bundled free with other software or operating system. The concept of buying type is pretty much tied to the design and publishing industry. Corporations use what their design/branding consultants recomend. If you look at advertising by type houses, you can see it is tailored to the same crowd. Ads are placed in the design trade mags with lots of sponsorship of organization events like AIGA or TDC. You don't see type ads placed with broad market strategies in Newsweek or Fortune. Adobe most likely places ads for their products with broader market appeal, like Acrobat, in many more venues than its type collection. Type houses are smart buniness men/women for the most part. They know who the gatekeepers are and would not waste money placing ads in unproductive markets.

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Chris, this is exactly my point. I don't think that Berthold actually does advertise. And (Thomas/Simon?) I don't think that they license their fonts for font bundling anymore, either.

To me, this seems like two unwise business decisions.

I think that Berthold's sales probably come through AG, and its fame and reputation. All of the trouble recently on Typophile came about because some posters recommended not buying AG from Berthold. This must have been seen as threat enough by Mr. Hunt; in any event it seemed to have ruffled his feathers enough to pay his lawyer and translator to write a stupid letter to Erik Spiekermann. We all know how much lawywers charge by the hour.

Well, what if we just didn't buy AG from Berthold anymore. It isn't like the world isn't full enough with similar and/or better typefaces anyway... we could just recommend to all of our clients that they should use (insert your favorite Helvetica/Grotesk style here) instead, because, quite frankly, they should not give their money to a man like Mr. Hunt.

Most media buyers/clients won't care one way or another, I suspect. But designers can make a (small) difference. This would, in the grand scheme of things, be a small difference, but it would improve our little sector of the market.

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>Please stop reflexively invoking the Holocaust and Civil Rights Movement and just address the issue at hand. Can we do that, please?<

John,
I am sorry that you personally find the mention of certain topics troublesome. I did not mean to offend you or anyone else. I respect your right to an opinion and to freedom of speech.
I personally feel that the "issue at hand" IS bullyism and feel that historical references to painful events as analogies to this typographic fair treatment situation is valid and to the point.

ChrisL

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> just address the issue at hand.

Yes, why don't you, John? All you've been doing lately is metadiscuss.

> It isn't like the world isn't full enough with similar and/or better typefaces anyway

It's just a damn shame about Poppl's stuff.

hhp

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Well, since you're asking...

Because I personally have nothing valuable to offer this discussion. I have never done any business with the Hunts, never bought any fonts from them. The last Berthold fonts I bought were through Adobe before the final Berthold liquidation. (Poppl-Laudatio, Poppl-Laudatio Condensed, Berthold Bodoni Old Face, still my favorite Bodoni.) The Berthold Library is one of the finest in the world. I wish I could in good conscience buy more. I've wanted to buy Post-Mediaeval for years now.

I prefer to hear from people like Prof. Spiekermann, Boton, Jaeger et al, who have been dealing with this aftermath for the past several years and have some personal stake in this. Very personal. I find I don't always have to talk, Hrant. Sometimes it's more useful simply to stay out of the way and listen.

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Chris,

Adobe used to license and re-sell about 50 Berthold typefaces, but stopped doing so about five years ago (more or less).

In all our licensing arrangements, we pay royalties to one party. If they in turn owe royalties to somebody else, that is between those two parties.

Regards,

T

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Bitstreams clones are not illegal! In the 1980s, Bitstream licensed the entire Linotype library for sale. However, their agreement with Linotype only allowed them to sell the designs, not the names themselves. So, Bitstream had to come up with its own naming system. Swiss and Helvetica were therefore the same design, just with different names. This was not illegal or immoral at all. Linotype, and its designers, got paid. Since then, Bitstream has gotten a different license, which also allows them to name the Linotype fonts correctly. (I think that this is all true)

Hrant could perhaps make legal Poppl revivals. As most of us know, only Typeface names (and their digital outlines) are trademarkable, except in Germany. In Germany, the DESIGN of a font is also protected by a patent, as long as that patent has been officially registered in Germany. These design patents expire after 25 year, and can never be renewed. The names and the outlines can be renewed, though.

So, if Hrant makes new drawings based off of a Poppl design that is over 25 years old, doesn't reference Berthold's actual files, and names it something totally different, he could legally sell that font as a revival. He could also patent the font and its design in Germany, and have the legal protection of thh German courts behind him when Berthold eventually would sue.

But that would be a suit that Berthold would lose, in any court, anywhere. That would be a fun day.

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It seems all of my Poppl fonts were TOC but here is an example of floppies. The top 2 (Imago & Formata) are Berthold fonts under the "Exclusiv" label but in the Adobe collection. The Walbaum does not have the "Exclusiv" designation, only Adobe (it may be that it is just older). I include the Adobe Caslon as an example of typical Adobe labeling as a comparison. I also have Baskerville, AG, and BE Garamond on TOC but have purchased nothing else of Berthold since. But that is only because they had nothing else that I wanted and that may still be the case.
ChrisL

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>In all our licensing arrangements, we pay royalties to one party. If they in turn owe royalties to somebody else, that is between those two parties. <

Thank you Thomas. I guess you would have no way of overseeing any supplier's outside dealings anyway.

Sorry to have pryed you away from that wonderful new baby of yours! Please give her a squeeze from my wife, daughter, and me :-)

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> Not going anywhere.

The point is they apparently don't agree with you, since they started this thread! Get it? Unless the truth is even worse.

> Bitstream

Bitstream isn't in Berthold league, not by a long shot. Not to those of us who care about decency.

--

> Because I personally have nothing valuable to offer this discussion.

I wasn't talking about this thread, but your overall participation. Lurkers are one thing, people whose only participation is to complain about the participation of others are quite another.

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> that would be a suit that Berthold would lose

But the point is it wouldn't get to a court: the lawdogs would intimidate the individual - sort of like at Abu Ghraib.

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> I haven't seen anyone claim they broke any laws.

Because that's not the friggin' point.

hhp

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Your history is selective, and in places revisionist. And this isn't about companies stealing fonts from each other, it's about corporations intimidating individuals. You're just using Bitstream as an excuse to justify [other] bad behavior, to distract*. And speaking of "relative ethics", when William Garth of Compugraphic was asked how the newly formed company would build a font library, he replied "in the usual manner"**, which basically meant swiping - but the point is that so many companies did that (including ATF, Enschede, and so many more), people -unfortunately- mind it less. What people are complaining about in this thread is bullying, and to many of us that's a greater violation of the social fabric. Focus, please.

* And/or maybe vent (see below).

** See the Romano article in issue #46 of APHA.

Again, to re-focus:
> I haven't seen anyone claim they broke any laws.

What you have to get is that this is not about legality, but ethics. Sometimes you seem to get that important distinction, but when it's convenient you squirm around it. Which of course is typical of anonymous participants, since they have nothing to loose. On the other hand, as long as somebody like me is around, they still won't get away with the spin, so the best way to describe your participation here is "venting". But don't worry, you're not alone.

hhp

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> I thought the whole point of the thread was ....

To be fair I guess the point could be different for each of us. But to me -and I think to many others- the main point here isn't about stealing, it is about bullying. Most of the complaints above have nothing to do with stealing anything, except of course if you count human dignity.

That said, in fact I do make a huge distinction between stealing from individuals versus companies. One of the worst things about capitalism is that it treats companies as entities deserving more respect than individuals.

> they are all going to do their best to protect their work from others

Bull. Decent people draw the line this side of decency, the rest don't. Which isn't to say that line is set in stone, not at all. But some cases most everybody can agree on, and it is those that need to be addressed first, obviously. You're simply clouding the issue. And since we don't know who you are, we have every reason to believe you're just a spin doctor.



> Exactly my point with Bitstream.

Don't distract with more Bitstream stories. What they did was a (sad) norm of sorts. This is not. Furthermore, in the past few years Bitstream has done more good things (like recanting on their disregard of embedding permissions) than most anybody else. While this is an ongoing issue, not a historical one.

It seems you have a pet vendetta against Bitstream (which makes you smell just like another chronic anonyrat Typophile experiences now and again), in which case I'd suggest using a separate thread for venting.

hhp

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From a practical perspective, it makes sense for the small business to avoid litigation.

So the best strategy for a foundry is to give its fonts made-up names, or really obscure names (eg Mrs Eaves -- although that is kinda like Mr Stinky). I'm surprised we don't see more typefaces with Autechre/AphexTwin music-title kind of names.

One doesn't have to be bullied to be intimidated. To my mind, Apple and Adobe's font bundling practice is no different than what the EU recently fined Microsoft for, and an absolutely massive suppression of the market for fonts, both prosumer and professional. But it's unlikely that any government is going to go after a company for dumping fonts. I mean, it's only fonts, duh. And I'm certainly not going to sue them!

As for Bitstream's marketing clout, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
I know from personal experience that big CD collections of legacy and back catalogue fonts reduce the need for companies to buy fresh fonts. Many times I've had art directors say "Sorry Nick, I recommended your typeface, used it in a comp, even, but they have the Adobe/Bitstream collection, and want to use something similar from that".

So I'm 100% behind Bitstream's initiative of including a "sampler" of fonts from a variety of independent foundries, as part of the Type Odyssey CD, and glad to be represented.

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Bitstream is certainly worthy of discussion - but in a thread of it's own. This thread is generally about Berthold Types tactics that some have serious issues with. If it's kept on task and civil, then we can reasonably continue to expect input from all sides from the Hunt's to the Boton's and the Spiekerman's. When the discussion is kept civil, I strongly believe that a broader scope of participants will engage. And that will make a thread like this much more educational as opposed to polarizing.

It's tricky to keep it on the subject for sure, but vitally important for the value of a reasonably objective overview of the full story.

As one example, I for one would still like to know (from either the Hunt's or a first-hand source) if Gertrude Poppl made an agreement for the Poppl types that Berthold now distributes - including Nero.

As another example, I would like to know why the Hunt's registered the trademark for the name "Renner" having to do with typefaces (and subsequently let the trademark lapse a few years later).

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> So what's the point in focusing on Berthold?

Ask the guy who started the thread.

Discussions need focus - this is this one's.

> *everyone* in the type business is doing similar "bullying"

No. If they were, we wouldn't be seeing this singling out.

> Then write a letter to Berthold in Illinois.

That would be an ever greater waste of time than replying to your rants.
And everybody knows that public dirty laundry gets washed faster.

> Because they are no longer paying attention.

I don't believe that.

> Because it

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