Can we have some clarification from Adobe on this?
The makers of Cufon are obviously not in a position to be able to definitively state what is and is not acceptable
I have been researching this for a while, to no avail. Adobe is probably freaking out about the possible, unforeseen implications of a blanket "Sure, go ahead" statement.
Legalese Mumbo Jumbo
Reading through their SLA, Section 14.7.4 states (emphasis added):
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.
Section 4.4 simply states that you can't transfer the "software" unless you forfeit your claims to it (ie. sharing).
- You can convert the font: The Cufón Generator converts your fonts to another format.
- You can put the converted font on your web server: it's just another "permitted" computer.
What's not so clear:
- What in the world does "customary internal" use mean? I'm convinced that this is superseded by Section 14.7.5 (see below)
- Just because you can put the font on your web server, doesn't mean you can make it available to the rest of the world. I'm convinced that the Cufón version, with it's attempts at domain-level restrictions and font subsetting, is not "distributing" the font. Bad people will always try to steal and always have some level of success. If they steal the font from my personal or business computer, am I guilty of "distributing"? So what is the difference between my web server and my laptop at Starbucks? They are both "permitted" computers, they are both accessible to the public, and neither of them are actively "handing over" Adobe's intellectual property.
Is "embedding" the key?
Section 14.7.5 states:
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.
A web page is an electronic document. It is intended for printing and viewing. If you don't allow your visitors to edit your page, it seems like you could ignore the "additional purpose of editing your electronic documents".
This isn't a formal legal opinion; Adobe are you listening?
Proceed at your own risk. Clearly, I'm not a lawyer or an official Adobe spokesperson. That being said, unless Adobe takes a stand on this issue, they are losing out on a potential revenue stream. Why? Because they either miss the opportunity to sell "web page embeddable" licenses OR their fonts get converted into clones and freely distributed all around the 'net. That last point includes the ability to produce print products in addition to web page rendering.
Adobe, sIRF is NOT the answer. It can be decompiled and the fonts extracted. Flash is NOT always an acceptable solution for the web. I have a ton of money invested in fonts, money I have willingly parted with. Just give us a sign that doesn't require lawyers and courts to interpret.
Push this issue!
Fonts on the web were one of the first complaints of early web designers. Now, we can do some amazing and previously unthinkable things, yet the crown jewel is missing.
Please understand that this is a User to User forum and it is not a vehicle to officially contact Adobe Technical Support, Adobe Customer Support, or any other aspect of Adobe Systems Incorporated.
If you want/need a legal opinion from Adobe, contact the Legal Department at Adobe Systems Incorporated in San Jose, CA.
If Adobe has an FAQ section for fonts, you may want consider adding this topic to it.