css2-font-face

Nate Duval

Font Squirrel appears to be a great font generator that will create the various formats needed for the cross-browser use of @font-face. Some colleagues and I have recently been waxing poetically on the legality of using purchased fonts using this CSS2 based method of font embedding. Especially when deployed for clients, in a commercial environment. While @font-face is a bit overdue to go mainstream (A List Apart was touting it as the next big thing in 2007), now that the browsers are coming of age, the tipping point is near. It will dominate other options that are currently bridging the gap, like http://typekit.com. However, we have come to the conclusion that now is the time to pay more attention to a fonts use policy. Some will explicitly forbid the designer/developer from exposing the font file online. Some will encourage it, and I assume,many more will not mention it. This means web shops should start gathering and using libraries filled with the fonts that encourage the use of @font-face. Here’s where I’m starting. As linked in the previous ALA article: Dieter Steffmann offers up a slew of freely usable fonts and I’m sure several more lists like this, @font-face and 15 Free Fonts You Can Use Today, exist.

Here’s a great explanation of the licensing issue we’re facing with @font-face:

…foundries don’t actually claim copyright in the typefaces themselves. Instead they claim copyright on the .ttf file (or whatever) as a piece of software. Then, when you buy the right to use the software, they make you click “Agree” to an EULA which prohibits you from uploading the file to your website. If you want your users to see your font over the web, then you need to send them that file, and the EULA says you can’t.