Font Licensing Guide from the BSA - Extensis.com

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Font Licensing Guide from the BSA

Tuesday June 17th, 2008 by Jim Kidwell

Business Software Alliance - Font Licensing Guide

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is one of the main global entities that strives to educate people about software piracy. Most people know that copying a software program from a friend, or swapping serial numbers is basically piracy. But what about your fonts? Though fonts are also software, they don’t typically have their own installer, and may even be installed automatically along with another application. But, just because you don’t need to enter a serial number to use a font doesn’t mean that you can freely copy from machine to machine.

You may think that the risk is minimal for copying and using pirated fonts, but the risk is real. A recent search of a Dutch printing company found unlicensed fonts worth over $68,000 on their network. The damage to your company’s reputation and bottom line can be real. It’s best to check all of your software, including fonts, for licenses, and then track your usage for compliance. Of course, we’ve built in very robust license tracking features into Universal Type Server that can help you get compliant and stay that way.

To help software users better understand and educate others in about the importance of paying attention to the company’s font library, the BSA recently published a Font Licensing Guide ( no longer on BSA site) titled “From Arial to Zapf Dingbats, How font licensing is critical to your communications.” This guide gives a brief overview of typography, fonts, and their overall importance in your daily workflow.

If you’re in the position of educating your employers about the importance of licensing all of your company’s software assets, this document will surely help get the ball rolling. You may also find a white paper that we recently published helpful in making your case – Maintaining Control and Compliance in a Font-Intensive Workflow, The Case for Enterprise Font Management (PDF). Written by publishing technology guru Chuck Weger, this document can help you sell the idea of font management within your organization.

If you’re not totally burnt out on font licensing yet, for some additional information, take a moment to check out the the recent series of posts on this blog where we examine the importance and scope of font licenses. It’s a nebulous and changing world.