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Important question regarding ethics

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"I actually think that this thread started as an interesting discussion of legality versus ethics, and where each one comes into play here."

DrDoc, this is the one point I disagree on - I think this thread accidentally became an interesting discussion of legality vs. ethics! That discussion is, of course, an abstract, generalised one - at the start of the thread it seemed like the OP was asking for practical advice on a specific instance. The practical advice that several people gave was to find the font and read the EULA - in a single instance, there's no point debating what the EULA may say. It may have been draconian, or it may have said 'do what the hell you like with this font'. Without knowing what the EULA says, how can we question whether it's too restrictive?

Of course, the later question is much more interesting! And your analogy is a nice clean one, so no worries there. The more you change a typeface from its original roots, the more of a grey area it becomes. One question would be: why didn't you start it from scratch in the first place? But of course that's a question that only gets asked with hindsight.

In your analogy, I think that paper 'tracing' over Gill and ending up with Caslon would be some extremely creative tracing! But of course, digitally there is the issue of 'the file'. How much remains left of the original kerning, proportion, etc? There's obviously a scale here, which goes from unethical, to mildly unprofessional, to... Well, unlucky, I suppose, if you release an original font which is later shown to have been drawn over another font (as in the example that was posted earlier). This could be a legal problem, but not really an ethical one. When presented as a specific instance, of course it's easy to say 'check the EULA'. But I still think it's easy because it's the only real answer, aside from redrawing your face from a printout.

I really hope the atmosphere in this thread clears up. These aren't the thoughts of a type designer (end-user all the way), and I would be interested to see what some other folks think. At the moment though, I can't see that happening. Curious, you really need to calm down. If you react to troll-feeding, then I'm sorry mate, but you're probably a troll.

Cheers, Andi


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