[Scribus] Re: GPLed fonts

Louis Desjardins louisdesjardins
Mon Apr 18 03:49:04 CEST 2005

>On Sunday 17 April 2005 06:34 pm, Deb and Peter Zweck wrote:
>>  I think we need to make a distinction between font software and the font
>>  character on the page.
>Using fonts in a document (With the exception of a text documents like
>mydoc.txt) embeds symbols that are inhereted from the font that composes the
>characters. In turn the font that composes the characters inherit the exact
>same symbols from the source code that compose the font when the source is
>compiled.  There is no way to disassociate font source code from font
>software from font characters unless the font is not embedded into the
>document, but is referenced.
>>  The character on the page(or screen) is a product of the font software,
>>  and is not software in itself, and is no more a derivitive work than a
>>  Scribus document is a derivitive work of the Scribus software.
>Technically, that is not how it works.
>>  Even if a
>>  font is embedded in a PDF it is still simply part of the software
>>  responsible for rendering a document.
>Not true. It is part of the source that composes the document that is
>processed by whatever interpeter (In this case, Scribus) produces the visual
>and/or printed document.
>>  Surely the GPL would apply to the
>>  font software itself not the font character as it appears on a page. If
>>  you created a new font (as in the software) from the GPL font, then that
>>  new font would be subject to the GPL.
>That right.
>>  If you do consider a document using a GPL font is a derivitive work of
>>  that font then I believe you would have to look at all documents
>>  produced by Scribus or any other GPLed word/text processor, or any image
>>  produced with Gimp or Inkscape etc being a derivitive work. Wouldn't you?
>That correct if a GPL font is involved. In the case of graphics, unless a font
>is involved, the image is a private work (That is, if it's not derived from a
>GPL'ed graphic image).
>People need to understand the implications of the licenses that govern the
>software they chose to use.

Understand. But as a whole, it has to make sense. From what I read 
since the begining of this thread GPL is not the best licence for 

One question (among others) was left unanswered: are there that many 
GPL fonts out there? Are the fonts included in Linux distros under 
GPL? If not, under what licence are they released?

I still find very difficult to understand the idea of a content being 
"contamined" by its container.

I think it has been made very clear that unless someone wants to 
simply play games with words, a font, no matter whether it is 
embedded, has not much to do with the licence under which a document 
comprised as a whole (content/container) can be released. The 
"content" of the document will hardly be proved to fall under any 
other licence than the one used by the original author of the work 
itself, no matter how it is typeset, layed out or put together by any 
mean. It could be copyrighted and certainly will be. It could be 
released under the FDL (Free Document Licence). As such, claims that 
parts (or whole) of this content will also fall into the GPL garden 
because a GPLed font was used for it to become accessible to human 
eyes will have a hard time making sense imvho.

Again, is this a theoretical issue or does it have any perspective of 
being ever raised and enforced by anybody or any organisation? 
Considering where open source stands at the moment, I guess it would 
be at least strange someone would start an argument in court in such 
quicksands. Just my half pence.

To me, the fact that the GPL licence addition about fonts exists 
(even as an experimental licence exception) is an avowal. It does not 
mean I don't think it's a serious issue. Only, I have a hard time 
figuring out real-life arguments that would hold in place in a 
real-case scenario.

I would welcome inputs from anyone giving at least a hint on just how 
many fonts - and which are they - are falling into that category.

Tomorrow is Monday.


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