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Licensing Question: Can I embed an Adobe font in a HTML Adobe AIR application?

Mar 26, 2013 11:23 AM

Tags: #licensing #type #eula

I am building a HTML Adobe AIR desktop application and I'm using an Adobe font in the design. The font is ITC Avant Garde Gothic and is licensed as Preview & Print. I'm assuming that embedding the font in an AIR app is no different then embedding it in a PDF (which is allowed) but just need to make sure. I emailed the type help e-mail address a week ago but I guess they're all on vacation because I've gotten no response.


Any help is very appreciated.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 27, 2013 10:36 AM   in reply to kossos007

    This is a thorny issue and the best way to avoid any legal obligations is to use web-fonts instead.

    Here's an article on how to embed web fonts:


    Here's Adobe's Font Permissions Guideline if you wish to read up more on the differences:


    It might also be a good idea to check with folks in the AIR form:

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 27, 2013 12:12 PM   in reply to kossos007

    Moving the thread to the Flash Pro forum. Hopefully folks there who have been into similar situations can provide a solid answer.


    You might also want to have the client's legal department to verify the facts.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 27, 2013 3:16 PM   in reply to kossos007

    Font usage is governed by the End User License Agreement (EULA) that came with the font when you purchased the font license. EULA's can vary from foundry to foundry, so it is important that you identify where you purchased the font. Adobe has a pretty lenient policy with respect to embedding, and provided you purchased the font from Adobe, then Adobe's EULA would allow you to embed the font in Flash content.  We always recommend subsetting the font, if possible, and there are restrictions as noted at the embedding permissions web page mentioned above.


    If you purchased the font from a vendor other than Adobe, then your rights are governed by their EULA - not Adobe's.  Some foundries may not allow Flash embedding, or may require that you purchase a license extension for that use case.  As far as the issue of embedding in AIR apps being no different than PDF embedding, once again, that is up to the foundry to decide.  For example: Adobe doesn't draw any licensing distinction between PDF embedding for "internal" use and font embedding for commercial use.  But some foundries do.  When in doubt, refer to the EULA that came with the font, or reach out to the foundry directly.  We at Adobe respect the rights and wishes of type designers, and we are happy to see that people like yourself are making sure they are legally compliant.


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    Mar 29, 2013 1:02 PM   in reply to Caleb Belohlavek

    I know there are some answers bouncing between two separate posts — this one and I hope I don't confuse things by replying to this one.


    I am confused about who to contact about app embedding licenses — who I purchased the fonts from (and is on the EULA), or the copyright holder?


    For example, I purchased Myriad Pro with my Adobe FontFolio 11 license. I inquired with you (Caleb) back in December via email about an iPad app embedding license for Myriad Pro. I was told I had come to the right place (Adobe), and got this response,


    "Adobe doesn't currently have a licensing program which allows the inclusion of our fonts in applications.  Most foundries (including us) see a distinction between  embedding fonts in documents and embedding fonts in applications.  We are working on a program for 2013, and will probably have it available in early Q2."


    Since I was under the impression that whoever I purchased the fonts from, in this case Adobe, was who I should reach out to for these licenses, I again contacted you about using Trade Gothic LT Std in an iPad app. This font is part of the FontFolio library, as well, and when you view the metadata for the font in Font Book, it says Adobe is the Copyright holder. However, when I contacted you in March about an iPad embedding license, you said the font was owned by Linotype/Monotype, so I should contact them instead. The Trademark for Trade Gothic indeed does list Linotype.


    So, I'm confused when responses say to read the EULA that came with your fonts and contact whoever you licensed the fonts from, because it seems that in the case of FontFolio at least, there's more to it than that, and maybe we should be looking specifically at the Trademark owner and contact them instead. If that's true, I am trying to determine where the EULA that came with my fonts starts and stops in determining what I can and cannot do with the fonts. Maybe the answer lies in the fact that my use is "outside" of the desktop EULA, so it doesn't matter any longer. If so, it would be nice to have some info on what to do next.


    I've been buying desktop licenses for a long time, but buying a desktop license and an embedding license are so different, I'm finding myself getting turned in all different directions as I try to figure it all out.


    Can you shed any light on this? I think a detailed response would help me and a lot of others in this same situation.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 4, 2013 11:50 AM   in reply to Tiki-Monger



    Welcome to the wonderful world of font licensing.  Sorry for the confusion - I know that it can be complex and frustrating.


    The simplest way to put this is to let you know that the copyright holder for any one font isn't necessarily the company that owns the font or controls how it can be used. Many font vendors sub-license fonts from other foundries.  In the case of Trade Gothic LT Std, Adobe sub-licenses that font (along with many others) from Monotype to include in Font Folio.  We have been doing so for many years, and Monotype sub-licenses fonts from Adobe as well.


    Font Folio is a desktop product, and the usage of fonts in Font Folio are governed by the EULA that came with Font Folio when you purchased it.  While the Font Folio EULA does give you many embedding rights for creation of print and electronic documents, we do not have the rights to allow you to embed 3rd Party fonts (fonts not owned and controlled by Adobe) in applications.  You can only get those rights from the owning foundry.  As such, you would need to contact Monotype to get a license to embed Trade Gothic LT in an application.


    In the case of Myriad, that is an Adobe Original (we own and control its usage) and we are the company that you would contact in order to embed that font in an application (those rights are not granted as part of Font Folio).  As mentioned, we don't currently have a program to offer that kind of license, but it is something we hope to offer in the future.


    Finally, you are exactly right that your use is "outside" of the desktop EULA.  Desktop fonts are licensed for use on a user's desktop machine, the font is meant to stay on a particul machine and the license only provides limited distribution rights. (for instance, you can provide your particular version of a font to a print service provider - provided the printer owns a copy of the font).  In the case of application embedding, you are distributing the font along with the software you created.  In most cases, this is not a use covered by a desktop product license.



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