Downloading Free Fonts is a Risk in Many Ways
How can using free fonts impact your organization?
Do you know if your creative or marketing teams are using free fonts?
Here is what you need to know:
Recently, free font site DaFont.com was hacked.
Hackers gained access to almost 700,000 usernames, passwords, forum posts and private messages.
The site hosts a very large collection of free fonts. While some of these are original creations, there are some fonts where an unscrupulous person has slightly modified, renamed, or outright pirated professional, paid fonts and uploaded as their own creation.
Using fonts that have unknown origins like the second case poses a real risk to any professional designer and organization as a whole. If discovered in use, the type foundry who created the original work can go after the designer or the organization for use of unlicensed fonts. This can cause embarrassment for you, your clients, and even lead to legal entanglements.
Extensis recommends only working with legitimate type foundries and retailers who are creating and distributing fonts for sale.
If your organization chooses to work with “free” fonts, be sure that your fonts are coming from a reputable distributor, such as Google Fonts, or directly download fonts from the type foundry itself. For example, many foundries like FontFabric give away some weights of their font collection for free use.
Of course, you will always want to consult the End User License Agreement (EULA) to ensure that the intended use is covered. For example, many “free” fonts are free for personal use only, and if the intended use is commercial, you will be required to purchase a separate license. If you’re in doubt about usage restrictions, contact the foundry to clarify.
When managing a font collection, we highly recommend that you track your purchases, and ensure that the right number of licenses are purchased for the intended use.
For more information on reducing the risk of a font related lawsuit, download our font compliance whitepaper written by legal expert, Frank Martinez.
Extensis font managers can help you track your collection, usage and ensure that fonts are properly distributed to your entire team. Take one of our font managers out for a spin and see for yourself with a free trial:
- Universal Type Server – for teams that want efficient font distribution, synchronization and complete font license management compliance and control, provided by an on-premise server.
- Suitcase TeamSync – for small teams that need fast font distribution through a cloud-based font server.
- Suitcase Fusion – font single users who want to manage fonts on up to two machines.