It's sort of true.....
Most font licenses do indeed state you are not permitted to share fonts. However, they also generally state that you may pass on fonts to service providers in the process of reproducing a job. Providing fonts to service bureaus and print providers is understood by font vendors and permitted by 99% of the licenses I've read.
It sounds as if your company is taking the licenses to an extreme without fully reading them.
...the localization vendor needs to buy all the fonts required, as it's not legal to "pass on" the font files. Is this true?
Technically, yes. Fonts are intellectual property, just like any other piece of software. Would you consider including an installable copy of your Illustrator program so that the recipient could open your Illustrator files?
As a practical matter, all sorts of practices occur under the radar, and there is a huge grey area when it comes to output service providers.
Font producers generally permit read-only distribution, such as embedding in a PDF.
Well, that was QUICK! Thank you very much -- could you also tell me how to find the license agreement for fonts? For instance, how do I read the license agreement for Helvetica Neue?
depends on the foundry, if it is true type or the mircosoft version of open type then it is pretty much usable by anyone, a surprising thing coming from Microsoft but since everyone has some kind of microsoft software well it is also expected.
If it is a licensee like Linotype or Adobe or from My fonts or from where ever then look to the file info to find the foundry.
You can however legally out line the fonts and that might be a more plausible remedy but if you fir is large and does a high volume of printing I agree with them let the vendor follow their instructions and initiative and purchase the fonts and don't worry about it is not your problem.
For instance, how do I read the license agreement for Helvetica Neue?
Font licenses are specific to a vendor, not usually tied to a given font. A big type foundrty such as Linotype acts as a representative for all its artists, so the stuff is generalised. Licenses are often tied to a given number of users, so yes, if whoever you are working for now is a bit nosy about the matter, buying your own licenses is inevitable. It's not even uncommon for specific corporate fonts. Along the lines of "Wanna work for us? Buy our fonts form our design agency in appreciation of how good we are." and similar nonsense.
Hi all, thanks for the helpful input --
I found the following section in the license agreement on Adobe.com. This makes sense to me. I will also recommend my creative department for the editable embedding, described in 14.7.5.
14.7. Font Software. If the Software includes font software --
14.7.1 You may use the font software with the Software on Computers as described in Section 2 and output the font software to any output device(s) connected to such Computer(s).
14.7.2 If the Permitted Number of Computers is five or fewer, you may download the font software to the memory (hard disk or RAM) of one output device connected to at least one of such Computers for the purpose of having the font software remain resident in such output device, and of one additional such output device for every multiple of five represented by the Permitted Number of Computers.
14.7.3 You may take a copy of the font(s) you have used for a particular file to a commercial printer or other service bureau, and such service bureau may use the font(s) to process your file, provided such service bureau has a valid license to use that particular font software.
14.7.4 You may convert and install the font software into another format for use in other environments, subject to the following conditions: A computer on which the converted font software is used or installed will be considered as one of your Permitted Number of Computers. Use of the font software you have converted will be pursuant to all the terms and conditions of this agreement. Such converted font software may be used only for your own customary internal business or personal use and may not be distributed or transferred for any purpose, except in accordance with Section 4.4 of this agreement.
14.7.5 You may embed copies of the font software into your electronic documents for the purpose of printing and viewing the document. If the font software you are embedding is identified as "licensed for editable embedding" on Adobe’s website at http://www.adobe.com/type/browser/legal/embeddingeula.html, you may also embed copies of that font software for the additional purpose of editing your electronic documents. No other embedding rights are implied or permitted under this license.