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NBC sued over fonts


officeglenn

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I actually saw this first on Weekend Update on SNL tonight, but I looked it up on Google News because it intrigued me, and I was curious what some of the people here -- professional designers or not -- thought of it.

Seems Font Bureau is suing NBC for not buying the proper licenses for fonts used in ad campaigns: The Business Insider

The story linked was one of the best I found; some of the others took a pretty condescending tone about the whole ordeal.

I figure fonts are intellectual property, just like logos or anything else, and should be protected the same. Too often, these are the sorts of things people think are free to take and impossible to enforce. Is $2 million too much to sue for? Maybe. But perhaps more important is the precedent this case would set.

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Damn, NBC really can't do anything right, can they?

Bootlegging a font and plastering it all over your network is on par with feeling like you don't have to pay ASCAP fees for that song you put on "Heroes", because you totally got it off Limewire anyway, so what's the big deal? Just dumb.

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Overuse? Interesting. How many people do we know who have illegal copies of "X" program? We all know someone who can get it for us with a crack to make it work. So the fact of the matter that the font maker has to know that when a company buys it, they will put it on multiple computers. I don't say that's right, I'm just saying that's what happens. If the font maker can prove this case and get whatever money they are asking for, I'm all for it. I just can't see how they are going to prove it. If they can, then how did they get the knowledge? Was there someone withing NBC that tipped them off? Do they have some sort of tracking code like Adobe does? I've never bought a font, and I tend to look for free fonts that might look similar. If I did buy a font, I'd use it on my computer only that's who I am.

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At my company, there are auditors who verify software licenses vs. installations, as well as things like licensed fonts vs. distribution / use of said fonts. Nobody (well, practically nobody) can install anything (software or font) on their machine - it's all tightly controlled, and there are ways of verifying exactly who has what installed at any given time. I'm pretty sure that the auditors are internal, but they may also bring in external firms to run some audits also, all in the name of preventing any kind of negative events like a law suit or the negative PR that would come out of any kind of story accusing us of "stealing".

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At the same time, $2 million isn't that big of a sum for a network like NBC. Just skip out on making one more episode of Trauma. They probably spend about three times that much on explosions and CGI helicopter crashes.

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