7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 8, 2009 10:02 AM by PrepressPro1

    Font licensing question

    David Lingard Level 1

      I use Illustrator CS2 only if I can't get what I want in Indesign or Lightroom/Photoshop, so please forgive me if this is a basic question. Sometimes, when I go to print to a pdf file I see a message to the effect of "Only fonts with no licensing restrictions will be used" and sure, enough a font in my original is substituted with Tekton Pro.


      The font it's griping about was one of a set bundled with an HP printer many years ago and I was under the clear impression that my use of this font is licensed.


      As it happens apparently randomly I'm thinking there must be a setting somewhere where I can set a preference - can anyone point me in the right direction please?



        • 1. Re: Font licensing question
          Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

          David Lingard wrote


          As it happens apparently randomly I'm thinking there must be a setting somewhere where I can set a preference - can anyone point me in the right direction please?



          Sure you can't! the HP gave you a license to use that font on the computer you are using and the idea was that you will print to their printer.


          sending it elsewhere is probably restricted by the author and or foundry.


          The message can't be disabled as it is invoke by code in in the font.


          The work around is to purchase the fonts and do away with the problem.


          By the way it is not random but rather specific to a particular font(s) that have this restriction.


          It is best to purchase your fonts if you are using it for anything other than the web and by which you are going to raster the text.


          The other work around would be to outline the font which is a legal approach as you are not sharing the font with another party that way.

          • 2. Re: Font licensing question
            David Lingard Level 1

            Thanks, Wade, I follow your comments but I still don't understand why two almost identical documents using the same font are treated differently - one is OK and the other has the error and substitution, any further thoughts please?

            • 3. Re: Font licensing question
              Alan Sargent Level 1

              Regarding the technical restriction, see http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/twm/embed/ which explains the issue and a solution for TTF fonts.


              As for the legal issue: I think it silly to say that a font embedded in a PDF is the same as a font file. While it is technically possible to extract part of the font (but not all) from a PDF, in practice, no one will bother, especially as most fonts bundled with HP printers can be freely downloaded along with drivers from HP's site.


              If you're nervous, convert the font to curves before exporting it. Keep a backup with the text though.

              • 4. Re: Font licensing question
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                under the clear impression that my use of this font is licensed.


                Yes - to you and you only (single user personal license). Even if the font is otherwise free and can even be downloaded from HP, you have no secondary or tertiary rights to distribute it. Only "derived" work is fee from this limitation, but even then still from a mere technical POV the font as such may have the "no embedding" bit enabled. I doubt the error is realyl random. More likely what makes the difference is that you sometimes try to embed the font without any special treatments, so the copy protection will be correctly recognized and it will try top convert to PDF text, other times you have applied an effect to it and it would then be converted to a graphical object with non-editable text.



                • 5. Re: Font licensing question
                  David Lingard Level 1

                  Thanks for this input, it just highlights my ignorance, not about licensing (Ok, I am a bit fuzzy here as well) but about what goes into a pdf file. I thought the lack of a choice of "Embed fonts" (or similar) menat just that - that the font wasn't being copied and, therefore not breaching the terms of the licence.

                  Changing type to shapes is clearly the best way forward and I'll just adopt that as a standard in future I think.

                  • 6. Re: Font licensing question
                    Skullmaker Level 3

                    Hello David,


                    If a software gives you a font, it comes with a license. However, sometimes when saving a file from Ai (illustrator) to PDF can create problems with the fonts (not always).

                    That is why when you are using the same font in two different documents, you end up with two different outcomes.


                    Problems with fonts can be created by many factors. Company who is providing the font, format of the font (PostScript, Open, TrueType), etc.


                    The best way to solve this problem (I think) is to convert to outline the font that is causing the problem. Then save the file as PDF and you wont have to worry about printing the document.


                    I hope this helps!

                    • 7. Re: Font licensing question
                      PrepressPro1 Adobe Community Professional

                      If you have two very similar documents and one is flagged to not embed fonts because of license restrictions you might want to double check where exactly the offending characters are occurring. I have seen on more then one occasion where blank spaces or blank text blocks are left  in a file and the font is not actually in the visible text. These are known as Phantom fonts. You might want to double check your document for these types of elements.