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San Francisco: “Whose Font Is It, Anyway?” ...Exploring the Business & Licensing of Type

Type licensing is a nearly invisible concept to most type users. What most people think of as “buying a font” is almost always “licensing font software” – but what’s the difference, and why should anyone care?

Once upon a time, type was used almost exclusively by trained craftspeople, using specialized equipment – but now type is something anyone can get and use, with scant awareness of a typeface as intellectual property, protected by laws and licensing agreements. The average type user is left wondering what they are really allowed to do with it, usually at their own legal peril.

Christopher Slye will take a tour through the business of type and its licensing practices, past and present, explaining its mysteries and its relevance for businesses, users, and type designers alike – with a focus on modern media like desktop publishing, the web, and mobile apps.


Free admission, please RSVP.