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View Full Version : Font usage for Freebie Commerical Use



DigiLover
02-25-2008, 07:28 PM
Does anyone know the rules on using a free font downloaded from the internet to create either wordart or an alpha that you wish to giveaway as a freebie especially if the font you downloaded does not have a TOU attached to it's zip file. The font was listed as 'freeware'.

any help, advice, knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

HollyS
02-26-2008, 07:13 AM
Great question, I wish I knew the answer..maybe some designers can chime in if they know. I would think it's free to use because it doesn't have a TOU associated with it. If it came from a site, perhaps you need to check the site TOU for more clarity.

tborntreger
02-26-2008, 08:39 AM
I wish i knew the answer too.... I know at some of the font sites I download from like dafont.com just above or to the side of the download button it normally says for personal use only or freeware/shareware. I normally try to DL the freeware ones. I really wish I knew the answer to this one!

DigiLover
02-26-2008, 01:34 PM
thank you Holly and Therese for replying. yes it does seem like a really grey issue.

I downloaded a 'freeware' one (dingbat actually) that had no TOU attached to it and thought it was quite ok to create an alpha from it and post it for free on my blog - I only do freebies.

I was creating the alpha 3 letters at a time because it being a dingbat it was a bit fiddly as I was colouring it. I had done letters A-C then D-F and posted them a day apart on my blog when someone came on 'anonomously' and posted a comment in 4shared saying I could be breaching copyright. Obviously alarm bells went off and I took the links down and have for the last 2 days been trying to have it all clarified. I've sent about a dozen emails to font sites trying to track down the creator of the font as their email on the font download is no longer valid. No-one can clarify what exactly 'freeware' means. On the font site I downloaded from it lists the dingbat in questions license as just 'freeware' no other annotation.

I've noticed other fonts have the following descriptions for their licenses which some are quite obvious as to their usage but others are totally confusing:

'freeware' personal use
'freeware' commercial use
'freeware' postcardware
'freeware' non-commercial
'shareware'
'public domain'
'open font license'

(to name a few descriptions). As mentioned the one I downloaded just had the license as 'freeware' no other notations plus no TOU attached.

I've seen fonts filled in with patterns, styles etc - how are designers able to use fonts/dingbats as a basis to start creating their alphas from without creating copyright issues???

Sorry for all my Q's I'm just so totally confused by the definition of 'freeware' etc.

twirlyjoy
03-01-2008, 10:51 AM
Have just seen this as I have been away on holiday, so that's why it has taken me this long to reply!

My advice is to be very careful! I used to be a designer and so have gone through this issue a lot when creating alphas myself. Freeware doesn't mean that it is ok to use commercially, or for a freebie which you make! It just means that it is free for you to use - personally!

I would also be very careful about commercial use fonts. Some people's definition of commercial use of a font means that you are allowed to use it for a commercial website, but NOT to use as something which you will share - either for sale or as a freebie.

Also, just because something doesn't have a TOU with it, it doesn't mean it is ok to use it - have you looked at the info using a programme such as The Font Thing - sometimes the font may not include a separate TOU, but may have the copyright info attached to the font itself.

Seeing as you have been unable to contact the creator of the font which would clear the question up, my advice would be not to use it, just in case.

digimom
03-01-2008, 11:19 AM
I second being very careful. I had used a font I loved for my blog header, then just kinda thought about it the other day, I probably can't do that! I found the font creator...and her website basically had her terms on it and that particular font was in her DO NOT USE FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES section. Lovely! I was terrified I was going to have to change everything I already done with it. I emailed her and asked if I could use it on my blog header and logo and she came right back within a few minutes and said sure, go ahead. I think most of the time they say yes if you ask.

DigiLover
03-01-2008, 11:24 PM
Have just seen this as I have been away on holiday, so that's why it has taken me this long to reply!

My advice is to be very careful! I used to be a designer and so have gone through this issue a lot when creating alphas myself. Freeware doesn't mean that it is ok to use commercially, or for a freebie which you make! It just means that it is free for you to use - personally!

I would also be very careful about commercial use fonts. Some people's definition of commercial use of a font means that you are allowed to use it for a commercial website, but NOT to use as something which you will share - either for sale or as a freebie.

Also, just because something doesn't have a TOU with it, it doesn't mean it is ok to use it - have you looked at the info using a programme such as The Font Thing - sometimes the font may not include a separate TOU, but may have the copyright info attached to the font itself.

Seeing as you have been unable to contact the creator of the font which would clear the question up, my advice would be not to use it, just in case.thank you TwirlyJoy for replying.

I finally tracked down the designer and she advised she created over 100 dingbats back in the late '90's and at the time knew nothing about copyright/licenses etc so therefore she did not stipulate any TOUs.

Also (unfortunately for me as I really loved the dingbat) she advised that the dingbats she created were all created using clipart she downloaded from the net (some of which were ok for CU and others weren't) and stuff she copied out of children's colouring in books. Lots of her stuff I found out via googling was also created from children's tv shows ie. blu's clues, rugrats, mickey mouse etc. She advised she obviously had copyrighted stuff and as she hasn't continued with her creations for years thought they were no longer in circulation and advised me not to use them. I've since obviously discontinued use.

I had run the dingbat via Font Properties Editor and there was no TOU/license details available - boxes were empty that should have had that info in it.


I second being very careful. I had used a font I loved for my blog header, then just kinda thought about it the other day, I probably can't do that! I found the font creator...and her website basically had her terms on it and that particular font was in her DO NOT USE FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES section. Lovely! I was terrified I was going to have to change everything I already done with it. I emailed her and asked if I could use it on my blog header and logo and she came right back within a few minutes and said sure, go ahead. I think most of the time they say yes if you ask.

thank you for your reply digimom as well!!

yes it's such a grey area and unfortunately as I'm finding out alot of the font (typeface) designers don't seem to add TOUs especially the older fonts which makes it very difficult especially if you want to create something as a freebie which I do as I'm not good enough to sell anything as yet - maybe one of these days!!!