|UPD: Embed / DMCA threats
(23 Apr 2002 at 00:57)
| My new foes Agfa Monotype and International Typeface Corporation are at it again. They've sent me several letters of varying vagueness and causticity about my program called embed, which lets font developers change fonts to make them embeddable in (for example) MS Word documents. Their argument, which they finally have spelled out in today's letter, is that my program is a circumvention device under that sleazy law we've all grown to hate, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. |
You can read our discourse at the new page I set up. The best quote (gotta love those scare quotes) is:
An embedding bit is a "technological measure" that "effectively controls access" to their copyrighted works under the DMCA.
Uber-Troublemaker Dave Touretzky has been a great help so far. Thanks Dave!
|Hmm, it's funny how, in that last letter, he spends pretty much the whole time going on about their embedding bit copy protection & details of what would be illegal about defeating that protection & distributing copy protection defeated versions of their fonts, eventually getting to the point & saying, "Use of 'embed' on a copyrighted font is a clear violation of the DMCA." But still, no claims about you doing anything that he's complaining about. And obviously they're not going to try to sue you for cracking & distributing their fonts, they they haven't attempted such ridiculous accusations yet, despite the claim that "statutory damages allow a recovery between $200 and $2,500 per act of circumvention," still with no mention of when you've ever circumvented their stupid fonts. Within all of that, they insert that you distributing embed clearly violates the digital millenium junks, but it's not very clear when they spend the whole rest of the letter talking about how naughty it is to crack & redistribute their own copyrighted fonts...
I also like how they put the word "bits" in quotes. I mean, there's nothing euphemistic about it, it really is just about lousy 1 bit.
|The threat from their lawyers is a bit on the false side. It looks like their complaint is centered on 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1) which has nothing to do with making a tool available. If you were posting hacked versions of their fonts or admitting to changing the "protection" bits on their fonts they would have the start of a case. Fortunatly, your tool doesn't even seem to fall into the "primarily designed" to circumvent a protection measure on a controlled work requirement of 1201(a)(2). If it goes to court, somebody needs a kick.
The anoying thing is that the lawyer who's name is on those letters, or at least his law firm, is in a building I walk past daily. I wish people like that didn't live in the same town as me.
|The 1201(a)(1) claims are certainly baseless, yes.
Claims that it's a "circumvention device" (1201(a)(2)) don't apply for several reasons. The two most important ones are that 1. Embedding bits are not "technological measures..." as defined, and Embed is exempt from being a circumvention device because it was not designed for circumvention, and does not have only "limited commercially significant purpose or use" other than circumvention.
I'll probably be posting my response later tonight, which makes these points and others.
|Hi: Have you discussed this with CPAN folks at all? Is there consensus on how these acts will be handled on their end? You won't be the singular "case" they will have to deal with. It might turn out to be a necessary step in preparing for legal issues that arise.
|*sigh* - people being silly again. If all you have to do is not read the bit, it doesn't seem very effective to me . . .
Good wishes from a Slashdot reader.
Huh? Are you talking about the perl CPAN? I don't have anything to do with them...
|Go Tom. Best of luck to you!|
|The vagueness of the DMCA and the courts' ignorance of technology puts every programmer, author, geek, etc in hot water. Programs like "embed" do not violate copy protection. If I want to copy the font, I just copy it. Those bits dont do jack. As every day goes by, I hate the DMCA more and more. Please do not give up the fight, some of us (if not most) support you.
|I laughed at the point about you ranking over them in google, even though they paid to be suggested by them.
I wonder which exec has the penis envy.
|For everyone who is reading this and wants to actually *DO* something about the DMCA rather than complain about it, go to http://eff.org and send in a contribution to help them actually fight it!|
|I think that the ones who should be held responsible for the "crime" are the ones who posted the description of truetype files, describing the arrangement of bits & bytes in the .ttf file, because reading such a description would make me aware of the position of the bit (flag) that has to be set to "0" in order to change the status of the font.
(following their logic , of course)
Also , if this "status" (protected or not) is enforced by a lousy flag, 1=protected, 0=free , with no encryption what-so-ever, is not a real "digital protection sheme", so it cannot be broken because it does not even exist...
That was my opinion - boltex
|I would tell them to bring it, and when they waste your time countersue for some obscene amount like a billion dollars for defamation of character or some such. Cause of course now everyone on the internet thinks yur an evil pirate :)
Which under one of those new fangled laws makes you a terrorist too, right?
|I will go to ProgrammersHeaven.com and read the TTF file header description and I will take 15 minutes to write a program in Quickbasic 4.5 that makes TTF files unprotected and post it on the web, I wont even open visual studio or anything bigger than qb45 to program this because it is SILLY FLAG SETTING !!!!!!
I urge all programmers to do the same !
|way to go tom|
|tom i would strongly suggest you submit your harassing letters from the lawyers to chillingeffects.org. its a clearning house for this kinda crap.|
|Keep up the fight. I'd say based on that last letter you've got them on the run. Good luck!|
|I did submit to chillingeffects.org, in February and last week, but they never posted it. Who knows...|
|Best of luck with you man.|
|Just like everyone else, wishing you luck...everyone who supports open software owes you beer for standing up to these jerks!
I'm not aware that I can actually purchase 'beer tokens' over the internet, but if I find out how I will send you some...
|Congrats on the fight I know may places that are currently uploading your application to mirror it. BEAT THESE GUYS ! |
|Whether this is a DMCA "circumvention" or not is irrelevent. There's this nice legal concept in the US called Ex Post Facto. It is normally applied to criminal law, and means you can't be charged with a crime for an act that was not illegal when it was committed.
You could make a valid argument that the same thing applies here. If a judge were to decide it *was* a circumvention, you can argue that it was written for legitimate use, and was developed years before DMCA was passed. As long as there's been no substantial improvements or added capabilities since DMCA, you developed a perfectly legal tool, and have been distributing it legally for several years. You even have had a disclaimer for some time indicating the appropriate usage.
In short, they have no case.
|Tom -- please take this issue to court. You can beat them.
A precidence needs to be set that shows future Judges that the DMCA does not always apply.
WTG and good luck. I'm behind you 100%.
|Most of the Mac studios I admin use AGFA fonts. Up until today I was under the impression they were an honorable company. You can be assured that the graphic design folks I work with will hear about this ugly matter. We will be thinking twice and looking for alternatives before even considering another purchase of fonts from AGFA.
Nobody likes a bully.
|Look for $5 to you via PayPal as a token of appreciation. I like people who stand up to bullies. :-)|
Don't take any shit from those overbearing, good for nothing fuckheads. Tell them and their lawyer goons to shove it up their ass's!
This is obviously another case of big corporations using the DMCA to bully the smaller guys... But this time they fucked with the wrong guy.
Please don't budge on your beliefs.
Read the letters and they are utterly unbelievable. Your responses
on the other hand are cogent and in a legal sense (though IANAL)
seem indisputable. Thanks for fighting the good fight here - we all
benefit from this. <p>
What I think would be useful is if you could post the contact
details for a designated individual or office at Agfa Monotype
and/or the International Typeface Corporation, so that all of us
who have visited your page and been outraged by the behavior of
them/their attack lawyers can so inform them, in semi-unified
(and, I trust, courteous) fashion. <p>
After all these are businesses and their public officers have a
right to know that they are alienating their most dedicated
customers with these tactics. <p>
|Way to go Tom!
| | |
This beer from me
|It is pretty easy to find out their contact information from their names. But I do think it's irresponsible for me to publish their details, so I don't plan on doing that. (Please don't take this as encouragement to contact them!)
Thanks for all the messages, everyone. =)
(now check out the rest of my site! ;) embed is like, nothing...)
|Best of luck Tom|
|I'll gladly host a copy of embed on my site(s).
The shit you have to put up with in the US at the moment is ridiculous. It's unfortunate that it will probably filter through to the rest of the "allied" world.
you're making a very clear explanation why Monotype's complaint is stupid, I won't add to it any more. However I wanted to say that this kind of behaviour just drives me mad. They basically consider that :
- Embed is a circumvention device without even thinking that it's maybe no more than a tool
- Embed users are pirates without even noticing that they could be legitimate users
Why aren't we suing kitchen knives manufacturers ? Cause it's obviously a weapon and people purchase it to commit murders. This analogy would make a lawyer smile, but does make (emphasized) sense for 99,99% of the other people.
I consider that these lawyers are 'presuming guilt', which is a grave and unlawful offense here in France. And surely is in many other countries. They basically express their fears, rants and threats to you without or with false arguments. And nobody should have to prove his/her honesty. I call this the discrete and polite way of (corporate) fascism.
Many thanks to you from another developer out in the community... Standing up for what's good and right will illuminate the evil known as DMCA and eventually cast it back where it came from...
|Thanks for taking the time and effort do stand against corporate bullying that is so often manifest via the DMCA. If people don't stand up for their rights, then before long the corporations will control us all.|
|Here's sending you positive wishes Tom.
I really, really hope that they do sue you so you can challenge this part of the DMCA in court.
It's a no-brainer that your case is rock-solid, so this would really help start the ball rolling on invalidating this incredibly stifling and anti-American legislation.
|Good for you fighting the copyright facists. The DMCA is a peice of garbage that is being abused and misused. Copyright law is OUT OF CONTROL in this country and does little to stop actual pirating. It gernally is used to limit the right of otherwise legitimate uses of material. Fight the good fight because it's about time people started standing up to the facists.
|Another example of the DMCA runing amuk. I'm glad to see you take a stand. I'll be watching your page for updates. Good Luck, Best wishes....|
|AGFA is a piece of crap, dishonest group of thugs. They LIE about their rebates, and ripped me off, Their AGFA 1212p scanner is a piece of crap that won't run in Linux because it is propriatary, the software has errors in Windows as well in 95,98,NT4 (SCSI error contact manufactor) Yet when you contact the manufactor they SPAM your email, they take a bunch of personal marketing information about you. There is no REAL AGFA support contact, just automated spam.
Their tech support first say's one thing then another. e.g. Conflicting answers.
The FTC won't do anything about it because not enough folks have complained. I hope you burn this stinking dung group of thugs to the ground. Take every fucking last cent they have for this frivolous lawsuit's pain and suffering, and libel
Their lawyers ought to have their feet laid in cement and dropped to the bottom of the ocean for causing the trouble they have. I HATE AGFA . HATE THEM!!!!!
|The very first step that is part of any big corporation policy is LIE. 99% of the time it works; that's why they do it. These people have nothing. If I were you, I'd sue them over threats, stress and defamation of character.
|I wish you the best of luck. FWIW, I have downloaded a copy of embed to do my bit (npi) to spread it around the world. Let's hope it becomes as famous as DeCSS!
I fear that the stupidity of the DMCA is not going to stop lawsuits such as this. Instead the idiots that file such charges will end up putting out the fire with gasoline. This just causes them to be despised and to suffer universal ridicule.
|I am a professional font designer (azalea.com). AGFA, Monotype, and ITC are resellers of my fonts. Their lame-ass efforts to intimidate and coerce you are a classic case of bullying. If would like, Azalea Software would be PROUD to host your embed program on our web sites to further the cause of free speech.
Shame on AGFA. Bad corporation. Bad.
Jerry Whiting, President/CEO
Azalea Software, Inc.
|I am a professional font designer (azalea.com). AGFA, Monotype, and ITC are resellers of my fonts. Their lame-ass efforts to intimidate and coerce you are a classic case of bullying. If would like, Azalea Software would be PROUD to host your embed program on our web sites to further the cause of free speech.
Shame on AGFA. Bad corporation. Bad.
Jerry Whiting, President/CEO
Azalea Software, Inc.
|Do not forget to keep the providers of your site up to date with this stuff, and get their view before AGFA contact them directly over your head and start threatening them. If not they may act first then worry about you later.
Get their support.
|This is the sad truth about the DMCA--companies can make all the
ridiculous claims they want about circumvention, knowing that most
people are unwilling to fight them (for obvious reasons). It takes
guts to stand up to corporate America, espically when the courts seem
so willing to always take their side. I admire you. Hopefully, if
we get a few more people like you willing to stand up to corporate
intimidation, we can stop corporations from using the DMCA to bully
|Sigh ... Corporate America at its most arrogant (and the Repubs would no doubt call you "unpatriotic")!
Hang in there! Two things the rest of us can do is to call this to the attention of EFF, and to boycott AGFA-Monotype in our own professional work (and let AGFA-Monotype know what we're doing, and why). If enough of us do this ... !
All the best --
|Good Work Tom.
I'm not an american, but I can still see this corporate bullying has got to be stopped. Corporations need to be told that there's more to the Law than deep pockets and scare tactics.
As a graphic designer I'll also be dropping all purchase of AGFA-Monotype products. I'm not going to support this kind of behaviour.
|Good Luck Tom,
Your utility (embed) appears to me to be simply a useful aide written by you and for you that you where kind enough to release as freeware.
It would appear to me Agfa Monotype and International Typeface Corporation are incorrect in their assertions. The tone of the letters seems to me to be intentionally coercive and threatening.
This tactic has backfired. The facts as presented by you convinced
me to offer any help I can. You are not alone.
Statements above are my own and soley based on opinion. Lawyers
Just wanted to say that I greatly appreciate your effort. As a slashdot reader from Europe, you are the kind of person one needs to remember that there is Hope for the U.S. and therefore for Europe as well.
Because sooner or later, we (EU) will start emulating the legislative sillyness in a quest for Mo' Money for Icky Big Corporations and Ze Stripping Of Ze Power From Ze People.
I just zipped off an email to AGFA, saying that I and my clients won't do business w/ them until they stop hounding you. Nevermind, that I haven't purchased new fonts in 5 years, but what the heck, I might buy some... it just won't be from them!
|Why not just modify embed.c to detect when the font is a product of Agfa/ITC, and refuse to change the bits? That ought to make them happy . Of course, if anyone then takes that version of embed.c and hacks it to remove the detection, *you* could sue *them* via the DMCA.|
|Tom, that was very brave of you not to submit to the
threats of AGFA and the likes. I feel scared of the
tendency that shows in the USA. When the corporate
ambitions and the greed for money can produce such
ridiculous laws as the DMCA (or slated to be born the
CBDTPA). And the question of the source code to be
a form speech is not relevant any more. Because laws
state that if your speech poses a risk to their profits
(be it disclose of their trade secrets or some other
junk like their thought-to-be control on the embedding
of the fonts) then they can stifle anyone. And the sad
example of DeCSS shows that a tool that can be used
inappropriately casts a great danger to its creator. And
the arguments of legal use of such a tool have no reasoning
power on judges. The thing that strikes me to death is
absolute ignorance of the rights granted by the
First Amendment. What one can say if a person gets sued
for the comments he posted to the message board where he
expressed his own _opinion_ about lousy way of doing
business with customers.
As for your particular case, I was shocked (as I always am
when I hear similar stories)! They demand you to remove
the program from your web-site although they provide
no evidence of your infringing their copyrights. And the
thing that makes me really baffled is that your tool
is needed for font creator to set embedding bits
(hey! he is _creator_). So how one will set level of
embedding? Use the Micro$oft's "Font properties extension"
tool? Well, its possible but people have a right to use an
alternative if they want! And the fact that specification
of TrueType fonts is available freely makes the whole
I do hope that you will be a winner in this situation
and you will set a precedent for future so that human
rights won't be oppressed in favor of someone's folly greed.
|Last I heard FONTS ARE NOT COPYRIGHTABLE. I don't know if something has changed in the last few years, but there was a court case on the particular issue if the bitmaps or splines or whatever could be copyrighted, and it was found that the mathematical description or shapes could not be copyrighted. The only IP protection for a font is a trademark on the typeface name, e.g. Helvetica or New Century Schoolbook, or even Times (remember Swiss and Dutch typefaces in some packages from long ago?).
That said, the programs are, and if you buy fonts or such a program, there might be a license that prohibits flipping bits, or might prohibit the use of programs like embed, but that is a different issue.
First, thanks for having the balls to stand up to these
idiots. It goes without saying that you're absolutely
right and that they have no case at all. I noticed your
reply, above, discouraging people from contacting the
parties involved to complain about their tactics; I'm
assuming you meant the law firm itself. If you meant
Agfa, I respectfully disagree -- unless people (specifically
their customers) let them know that what they are doing
is objectionable, there's no reason to think they will
ever understand the errors of their ways. I, for one,
submitted a comment on AGFA's website saying in no uncertain
terms that I found their conduct in this matter to be
arrogant, asinine, and incredibly short-sighted -- and that
I would never do any further business with them again.
|Good page. Good fight. Stand up to 'em.|
|All I have to say is "BRAVO!!" I must say that your arguments are laid out beautifully to attack the allegations in the C&D letter. I wish you the best of luck! -Bob|
|I'm impressed, Tom. Truly brilliant.|
|You might also ask them if their own designers have tools which can modify these bits, and whether, if so, they believe these tools to be legal.
|Great job, Tom! Another good piece of evidence on how the DMCA is used to bully legitimate expression.|
Thank you for the simple act of standing up to a bully. Hope and inspiration for the common person sometimes spring from the smallest act.
|Hi Tom, why don't you make publicly accessible the visitor statistics for your legal letter page.
This way silly corporations can see how much bad PR is being generated from their scare tactics.
Keep up the good work. Oh by the way, I'm never buying an Agfa font ever again!
|As someone who works with a number of design firms, and always pays the licensing fees for fonts, let me tell you:
1. Thank you, for standing up to these bullies who have misguided lawyers and are contributing to the nonsense created by the DMCA.
2. I will be specifying, from this point forward, than none of my projects, nor any of my clients projects, use typefaces from Agfa Monotype.
To the designers of the world: stop purchasing their products, and let them know this type of action is why... maybe in the future companies will think twice about frivolous legal action against legitimate tools and users.
|Agfa - this is great PR.
I'll switch my camera film too!!
|Good luck with this, tom. I've been a big fan of your fonts (and other works) for many years now... If this does (somehow) go to court, and you setup a paypal account to help with court fees, i'll gladly contribute.
Oh, and I still wear my tombats shirt occasionally. :D
..And TZ, only bitmap fonts are non-copyrightable, i believe...
I'm 100% behind you. I think these lawyers actually look for potential issues to justify their existence.
I read about this story today on cnet.com. I immediately searched for your site and downloaded embed. Not because I intend to use it, but because I want to have a copy in case the legal bastards force you to remove it. I did the same with deCSS.
Ironically, by threatening this legal action, this legal idiots will ensure that your program lives on.
If you ever need donations for legal fees, I'll be glad to contribute.
|I had not heard of the "Embed" program before this brouhaha. Now I think there is a storng possibility that millions are aware of it, thanks to the legal threats to keep it quiet. Let's hear it for the lawyers.|
|Yes I did say "storng" and not "strong". It's a catchy little technique I picked up somewhere to demonstrate how much attention to detail I give to what I write, or sign.|
|Sleep tight, they don't have jack against you.
How I hate this DMCA stuff, it hasn't do anything good besides being used by the big guys to bully the small guys.
|Good luck, and thanks for posting your travails. |
|you go Tom, that was a very gratifying read. glad you got the legal understanding to push back on those dolts. at least their earning their retainer looking up your citations. keep us posted! adelante!|
|Congratulations on standing up to bullying lawyers!
FWIW there was a similar problem with Apple trying to stop someone having a page of 'deep links' to their ftp site.
Because his ISP got scared, and demanded he take down the page, he simply got someone in the Netherlands to host his page of links.
If you get problems with whoever actually hosts your site, just invite people to mirror it. I'll happily offer space in the UK, where 'DMCA' is just four meaningless letters.
All strength to you
(stuarts macs at dsl dot pipex dot com)
|Dear Mr. Murphy:
Keep up the good work, I hope that chillingeffects.org can help you resist this disgraceful attempt to use the DMCA to give corporations a veto over software development. I suggest that you countersue the legal firm involved for malicious and vexatious prosecution, as their suit is utterly without merit.
I will paraphrase a comment I made in an e-mail I sent to some of my friends, today:
These (font) companies are saying, in effect, "if you write a program that's meant to do 'X', and somebody uses it to do 'Y', you're guilty of violating this law"... exactly the same logic as in, "if you build a car that's meant to be driven legally, and a crook uses it to speed down a highway, then we come after you rather than the crook".
So much for the Magna Carta.
What if I have come across a font that can't be embedded due to having its copyright bits set, and I undertake an exhaustive search to find its creator to pay him / her for the right to use it or embed it, but the originator of the font can't be found?
A strict reading of the legal harassment you have been subjected to would seem to suggest that a person's only recourse under such conditions would be simply to give up and, in effect, say "I mustn't use that font because somebody, somewhere, MIGHT want me to pay for the privilege of doing so... even though my using the font could not possibly cause that person a monetary loss, given that there is no way for me to pay for the privilege in any event."
If carried to its logical conclusion this line of reasoning could be used to prevent the use of any kind of digitally reproduceable content under any circumstances. (The background pattern that I use on my Web pages MIGHT be patented or copyrighted by someone. I guess I can't use any background pattern, then. But who knows, maybe someone has copyrighted the idea of coloured backgrounds of any type, even "red" or "green". Do you see where this is heading?)
Notice, furthermore, given that (just to name two), the "Arial" and "Times New Roman" TrueType fonts are close copies of Mergentaler's "Helvetica" and "Times" typefaces (which would have had to have been created by reverse-engineering the latter, something that is clearly illegal under the DMCA), why shouldn't the DMCA be used to prosecute Apple and Microsoft for patent and copyright infringement?
Oh, I forgot. They're big corporations, with legions of lawyers, and they have more rights than ordinary citizens.
Best of Luck To You
An Anonymous Security Analyst
|First of all, let me say this... I have been aware of your fonts for several years! Tom's New Roman and Tombats are some of my most favorite toys and tools.
As for the bully font foundries... who overcharge for their products to start with... I must say this much... I have yet to find a single one of their fonts that necessitates a purchase. There are 1000's of quality freeware fonts which are at least as good as ITC, Monotype, Agfa fonts and often times better.
I certainly won't be rewarding their infantile tactics with my hard earned money.
Go get 'em Tom!!!
|I'm glad that you are standing up for yourself, Tom. I despise bullies. Those people make me want to vomit. I can't believe I live in the same country as them.
I truly hope there really is a Heaven and Hell; I'm convinced that people like that will BURN for what they are doing to normal people. There is absolutely no way that God isn't taking notice...
I've been a senior developer in the printing and publishing industry for the last 15 years, now, and I carry some clout in my organization. One thing is for sure, we won't be buying anything from their organization, not if I have anything to say about it. They are effectively blacklisted here.
I just finished reading the article on Slashdot concerning the Content Protection Status Report recently submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee recommending, among other things, requiring all analog to digital converters to be equipped to detect copyright watermarks in analog media. I propose the formation (under the official auspecies of the ACM or otherwise) of a nationwide ACM Student Digital Freedom Initiative to mobilize grassroots awareness and support against such actions by the media companies and Congress. I have sent the following message to Dr. Rob Kling, faculty advisor to the Indiana University Bloomington Student Chapter of the ACM:
"I have just finished reading a very disturbing article by the EFF
concerning the "Content Protection Status Report" which the MPAA filed
last month with the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for legal
regulation of analog to digital converters - specifically suggesting
that "in order to help plug the hole, watermark detectors would be
required in all devices that perform analog to digital conversions. In
such devices (e.g., PC video capture cards), the role of the watermark
detector would be to detect the watermark and ensure that the device
responds appropriately." This is a quote from the Status Report, which
can be found at
http://judiciary.senate.gov/special/content_protection.pdf . This
report comes on the heels of Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings' Draconian
"Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act", a renamed
version of his SSSCA bill requiring copyright protection mechanisms be
built into practically all digital technology.
As many people on Slashdot pointed out, this is a totally impractical
"solution" as ADC's are components in so many technologies we take for
granted today, from cell phones to hearing aids to fuel-injection
systems. It could quite possibly dramatically drive up the cost of any
number of digital devices, as well as severly endangering such pursuits
as building your own PC from parts or studying electrical engineering
(it's true that the law would probably have a statutory requirement for
a "fair use" exception, but this did not stop Edward Felten and Tom
Murphy from being threatened under the DMCA. Felton is a Princeton
professor who was threatened regarding his academic work for his
academic work regarding the Secure Digital Music Initiative. Tom Murphy
is a Carnegie Mellon University student who wrote a program to flip the
embedding bit of TrueType fonts and si currently being legally
threatened by Agfa Monotype - see
for a discussion and http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~twm/embed/dmca.html for
details of his correspondence with Agfa's lawyers.
The Content Protection Status Report calls for the Broadcast
Protection Discussion Group to be able to ban the production of digital
television devices that had not been approved by three Hollywood
studios. The ACM has publicly stated that it is opposed to the CBDTPA
(http://www.acm.org/membernet/stories/cbdtpa.html) I would like the
Indiana University ACM chapter to begin a movement to mobilize
grassroots university opposition the continuing efforts of the content
industries to unduly restrict digital freedoms, efforts which could be
seriously questioned on Consitutional grounds, and possible on
anti-trust grounds as well. For this purpose, I am proposing a first
meeting of the ACM Student Digital Freedom Initiative. Please respond
to me with your throughts on such a meeting. I will also be contacting
Tom Murphy concerning this proposal, to try to raise support at CMU."
I would like your feedback about arranging a similar meeting at CMU.
|<i>Notice, furthermore, given that (just to name two), the "Arial" and "Times New Roman" TrueType fonts are close copies of Mergentaler's "Helvetica" and "Times" typefaces (which would have had to have been created by reverse-engineering the latter, something that is clearly illegal under the DMCA), why shouldn't the DMCA be used to prosecute Apple and Microsoft for patent and copyright infringement? </i><br><br>
The odd thing is, that <b>both</b> Times and Times New Roman are included in the standard system software for Macintosh, which I assume means that Apple has paid a distribution license. So are Arial and Helvetica. I'm not familiar with the "politics" of how/why TNR and Arial were created, but if it was to try to get around copyright, it seems a bit silly for Apple to include both them and their "inspirations" as well (unless people just <i>liked</i> them..)
|Certain lawyers could do with bits embedded in them. Sharp, pointy ones. See how they like it...|
|This is ridiculous.
It reminds me, when I was around thirteen years old I was making free designs for people (their personal and fan sites) called "rak design" (since well, rak is my nickname) and this company: http://rakdesign.com emailed me saying that the name was copyrighted by them, and that they were loosing buisness by me having my thing, and if I didn't remove my site they would take legal action against me. First of all, I was on a FREE SERVER, second, I sucked and if they were worrying about competitivness with a thirteen year old they must really suck, third, I wasn't doing anything for money or corperate sites. In all, I got around 20 requests or so, but I only did 2 designs, both were fan sites. Hell, I think one was for an Nsync website.
I don't know why people like to bully when they have no reason to. It's quite sad actually. But when people fight back it makes me happy. I almost wish I would have fought with the rakdesign guy, but for awhile I just named it... rakdesign2000 rotf. Then I closed it because I didn't have time to make people free crap.
I love the points people have made here. You guys kick ass.
|You should be aware that lawyers in most jurisdictions are bound by the ABA's Model Code of Professional Responsibility or something similar. Among those ethics rules is a prohibition on threatening criminal action to gain advantage in a civil matter. For example, the California Rules of Professional Conduct (2002 edition), Rule 5-100 provides:
(A) A member [lawyer] shall not threaten to present criminal, administrative, or disciplinary charges to obtain an advantage in a civil dispute.
It would seem that to the extent your Mr. Stack is threatening you with the criminal aspects of the DMCA to gain an advantage in what is
essentially a dispute at civil law between you and his clients, Mr. Stack may be acting unethically, and this could form the basis of an ethics complaint against him to the state bar of which he is a memeber.
|I've looked into barratry and similar things that lawyers aren't allowed to do, and decided that Stack (and other lawyers) have figured out sneaky ways to essentially do those things without actually running afoul of the law. For instance, instead of saying that they'll take legal action, or that they intend to sue, he'll just say, "take whatever action we deem necessary." Coming from a lawyer, of course, this is essentially a threat to sue, but literally it's just a general empty threat. (Advice: be careful to read what they *actually say* in a threatening letter.)
Anyway, should they ever make an actual claim against me, I'll be on the lookout for this kind of stuff... If the sloppiness of his complaints so far are any indication, maybe there would be errors of this sort.
|Good going Tom! Never give in to tie-choked pin-stripped judge lap dogs!
Are they just stupid or are they totaly avoiding the fact that your program doesn't explicitly subvert their fonts? Let's sue Microsoft for producing the Dev Studio software which provides a binary editor, which we could use to clear said bit!
|Hey now.. lawyers are good people. They have a job to do. IF you wish to lather your ire upon someone, lampoon those that hired said layer(s).|
|Lawyers who make deliberately misleading and/or wrong claims in order to intimidate people are NOT good. It is dishonest, period.|
|I have created a short Perl version of Tom's embed program. It
weighs in a 99 bytes. Here it is --
| I've made a few more optimizations to the above. It's now
down to 88 bytes.
| Okay, last update (no really), the Perl script is now down to
76 characters. It's now shorter than a standard 80-character
width terminal line (does this qualify it as a Perl "one-liner"?).
You could even fit it on an old IBM punchcard (http://www.facade.com/legacy/punchcard/?val=%24%2F%3D%5C4%3Bmap%7B
(well, ignoring character-set limitations).
I've decided it's safe to remove the table directory position
check when searching for the "OS/2" string as it's extremely unlikely
for there to be a collision with the offset, length, or checksum
values. A TrueType file would need to be greater than 1GB in order
for a offset/length collision, and the 1 in 4 Billion chance of
matching a 32-bit checksum seems probabilistically remote enough
to be ignored.
I was just thinking about your site today. Could you give us an update on what is going on? Are they still bugging you?
|I haven't heard anything from them since like last summer. Maybe all the bad publicity actually worked?|
|Can you consider this a success? It would seem almost disappointing if there were no articles in the mags and on the sites that said "Harmless developer wins argument against bullying Agfa Lawyers. Bullies wrong." I mean, no closure and all...
Anyway.... Your site has entertained me for well over two hours now, and your fonts are awesome. I plan to download them next. I have no use for the tool you wrote to modify that bit, but if I made fonts, you can bet that I'd have to use it, considering the tools default the bit to disable embedding. It would piss me off to have to open them all again to make such a stupid change after I had forgotten to change it myself on each one.
Want me to compile the code for BeOS and upload it to BeBits.com? ;-)
DMCA and UCITA should go down in history as illegal laws that were created for the sole benefit of corporations; such laws make what would otherwise already be illegal activities for the computer industry companies into legal, defendable activities. As such, giving them power to abuse the people they are supposed to provide for (their customers and consumers). In America, the customer is now an undesirable and unavoidable side-effect to acquiring money. If corporate leaders could leave out the step where you actually purchase goods or services from them and just enact a law that taxes everyone 50% of their income directly, they'd do it.
Something needs to stop the pendulum from swinging any further in this direction. The USA is very quickly becoming the land of corporate rule. Wait, it already is. We have a CEO, not a President. Government for the corporations, by the corporations.
We have to fight for our rights or we all lose them. The problem is, people like you and I don't have millions of dollars with which to fight for our rights.
I'm a developer myself, and got really pissed off when I realised that Fontographer made the fonts "un-embedable" by default. Your program was a complete life-saver when I had to process a pile of military map marking symbol fonts at short notice...
Many thanks, and don't let the bastards grind you down...
Major Tom Mouat MBE
|Jace: Well, sure, I consider it success inasmuch as I managed to stave off the lawyers (AFAIK) without incurring any monetary loss, managed to get them a lot of bad publicity without basically doing anything except writing them a few letters and talking to some reporters, and never took down or modified my software. I think it also raised some awareness about the DMCA in the font community (which is good--it shouldn't just be slashdot kids that hate that law, since it affects many of us in many ways), and maybe even taught some folks about font embedding.
Hopefully, the most important thing is that others who are threatened with similar letters realize that a cogent and rational response goes a long way towards maintaining our freedom. I don't believe the DMCA applies in my case, but even if it did, making it costly (in terms of lawyer money and bad publicity) to try to enforce could make corporations think twice about whipping it out in these trivial circumstances.
Major Tom: Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful!
|Thank you for your nice little program and the good fight!|
|The type industry was quick to react to the news. Brian Willson of
Three Island Press (www.3ip.com) said to the ITFI "I'm thrilled with
Judge Whyte's ruling. Sure, it only pertains to "font software
programs" -- but the fact that the ruling confirms the "creativity in
designing" these programs is, I hope, just a step away from
acknowledging the creativity that's intrinsic in the font designs
themselves." - http://www.allcompu.com/typejudg/judge.htm
"As the publishing industry well knows, font designs are not protected
in the U.S. The 1976 Copyright Act specifically excluded "mere
lettering" from its coverage, and an attempt to gain industrial-design
protection for fonts failed in the late 1980s. In January 1990,
Bitstream and Adobe did manage to convince the Registrar of Copyrights
that PostScript fonts should be treated as computer programs. They
demonstrated that despite the close similarity of letterforms, the
PostScript program that created the lettering was different—in other
words, that the font code could be a unique expression of a
font-design idea. More recently, however, the Copyright Office has
declined to register fonts created with Fontographer, apparently
because the program automates too much of the creation process, such
as hinting and kerning." -
|Keep up the good fight... don't let big-brother and 'his' constituents win.... I will, of course, be telling everyone I know to go to your URL and download 'embed.' It's been a great help to me.|
|Amazing that the resources of the global community internet have been pitted against the traditional corporation plus lawyers paradigm and have far outweighed their resources.
I was convinced that at the bottom of your mail I would read the standard conciliatory: "I reluctantly agreed to remove the software under threat of legal action". Your example makes other developers of free or open materials look weak, unprincipled and lacking integrity when they collapse in this manner.
|August 19, 2004
Hello to all,
I visited your website and noticed the information on the
DMCA - Digital Millennium Copyright Act Law information.
I do have a question to ask and I hope that you have
an asnwer for a simple question.
I woudld lke to know who signed the DMCA bill to become as
law? Was it the president of the U.S.? And at what year
that the DMCA law was signed by who?
|According to my understanding, the president does sign everything that becomes law, unless he vetoes it and it passes in congress by a greater majority. I think the DMCA became law around 2000. But I'm not really a good reference for this kind of thing!|
|Tom, DO NOT let these ratbags run you down, our country has far, far too much of this going on. You wrote a legitimate free resource for a legitimate purpose, and after (gratefully) discovering it in 1999, I've used it countless times for just that legitimate purpose.
Don't back down mon -- keep them where they belong.
Oh yeah ... nice code!
|Man I came across this site ... because of a similar problem! WoW, this is amazing how you stayed strong and gave them a battle. Thank you to you and all those that supported you.
I read everything on your site except that last letter, the one you said was long and boring blabla etc etc. By that point, I was wondering did you still offer the program, did "They" win..?????
!!!And to my surprise - !BAM! The link to go get it. LOL.
Thank you. Thank you.
|Thanks. I would be very happy to know that my story is inspirational for those facing similar threats.|
|(So, details of your problem would be interesting..)|
|I work for a large font company, and I just stumbled across your story while searching for other font info. I must say that I am greatly troubled by the belligerent tone that Agfa Monotype (through lawyers) took with you. The decision to target you was a case of straight-up bullying, stemming from a dangerous mix of arrogance and ignorance. It is reassuring to see that your refusal to back down, along with your clear thinking and articulate arguments, seemed to have made them back off. I was never aware of this situation as it was happening, but you have my gratitude and admiration for standing up to such unfounded charges and threats. Ironically, in defending the position of independent developers, you have helped protect the very community that larger font companies depend on for creative content and technical innovation. While companies do have a legitimate interest in aggressively defending their intellectual property, hopefully this case will serve as a cautionary tale that they need to use more discretion when throwing their weight around, and that misguided bullying will have repercussions in the form of negative publicity and even boycotts of products. Thank you for your brave and principled work that has benefited us all.|
|Embed violates DMCA.
Even renaming a copyrighted picture from .jpg to .gif, that is an copy protection. Making a tool that renames these files from .gif to .jpg it is an violation of DMCA.
No matter how simply the copy protection is to break. The copy protection has a legally power since it is an authorization flag.
And no matter how small a program is. It can be one character, and if it is able to circumvent the EASIEST copy protection, its illegal against DMCA.
But descrambling/decrypting/changing flags is not illegal if you do it manually. Because of that, Windows is not that type of tool, like the FontGrapher is not a violation of DMCA.
But embed is able to do it on hundreds of files in no time. Its serves an automatic tool to circumvent a copy protection, even if the copy protection is a "silly flag".
(Its like you are walking in to the door saying "staff only", even if the door is unlocked, you do something illegal when entering the staff room without authorization)
Its enough with an SIGN to have legal power in the real world.
But not in computer world. Its too many newbies out there that can break the law by a mistake. So the DMCA has stated that it must be some sort of protection. An "embed flag" is an protection, since the windows and MS-word is reading that flag like it was an sign, and prohibits automatic copying preformed when saving a .doc file.
(the copy flag is like an sign: "COPYING FORBIDDEN?" YES/NO)
If the sign says "YES" (an one) its illegal to make a tool that is able to change the sign's text to "NO".)
|i have an suggestion:
Do an block in the embed tool that dont allow embed changing on fonts you dont have created.
Then have some sort of an "authorization list", where people submits screenshots of their fonts when they are open in the font list, and if you admit that fonts with that tag is created by the person submitting, he is added to the authorization list. This authorization list is updated every month via internet.
This will make embed an legal tool, since it CANNOT then be used to violate copyrights.
|Sebastian, I don't think you understand the DMCA or my argument that embed does not violate it. I suggest reading the law (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/17usc1201.htm) and making your argument in terms of that. For example, you say that manually changing these flags would be legal, but the very act of circumvention is in fact illegal, just as trafficking in circumvention devices is. The DMCA is a dumb law, but spreading misinformation about it makes the situation even worse.
My best argument that embed is not a circumvention device (other than the ones about embedding bits not being real "technological measures", which I think are pretty strong) is that circumvention only occurs when it is done without the authority of the copyright holder. Since embed was primarily designed for the purpose of changing MY OWN fonts, that is clearly done with the authority of the copyright owner, and since this problem is more widespread than merely my own fonts (due in part to a bug in some versions of Fontographer), there exists a substantial non-infringing use. Such devices are not circumvention devices under the DMCA.
|Tom you are a true champion.
|Awesome! I'm glad you were able to read through their threats and make a solid legal argument.
My only concern is that most people to not have nearly this level of legal savvy and yet, laws as hard to understand as this are being applied to them. It's a truly unfair system that leaves the average person at the mercy of legalese.
Thanks Tom for at least giving us an example of how one should defend themselves.
|Hello there Everybody, I am not brand-new to the site but I thought today was as great as time as any to say whats up, so.. well greetings :)
If anyone wants to see, this is My weblog
|I greatly admire your resolve in refusing to be bullied by corporate moneygrabbers for a genuine service you are trying to provide to the community. A heartfelt well done to you.|
|What a great read... from the original story through to the comments. I understand the need for copyright and privacy, but there are just to many situations where it is a grey area. There is never a problem with creating a key cutter, a blow torch or a gun, the legality comes in how it is used. The program you created is a tool, how it is used is not a question of copyright. Technically deadbolt should have been able to sue the creators of a key copying machine because it infringed on their security should anyone use said machine for dubious intentions. Thank you for fighting this, I almost laughed as he mentioned the DCMA with an effect date of 1998 when your program came our in 1997, even at worst, you would have been covered under grandfather law with your product being constructed and distributed prior to the act going into effect.
Keep up the good work and thanks for your effort.
|Wow, I'm designing some fonts and was looking for a tool JUST like yours and just when I thought it was a godsend that could save me time and energy after stumbling on your page, I read this gestapo crap. Unbelievable!
This is the simplest of matters ever! These our OUR fonts, we are not violating anyone's copyright. "Embed" is a font developer's tool just like any other. It is no different in its ability to change font embeddability flags than ANY other normal font creating programs, where someone has the ability to set the flag!
In short: this guy from Agfa might as well sue every single font designing program, such as Fontographer, because they too allow you to manipulate embeddability flags of your OWN font, to which you OWN copyrights, before releasing them to the public! This is insane!
Fearing that someone might use your program to steal HIS fonts, is like saying that all houses that have steak knives for cutting steak during dinner should be punished for the possibility of using them against his family! It's crazy! Having this tool is a very useful tool for any professional font developer or hobbyist like me, and clearly it does not imply that it can, nor that it should, be used for copyright infringement. What is more, most of us who are graphic designers know better than going around embedding fonts which we don't own and, most importantly, that our clients do not own the copyrights to, for the simple reason that sooner or later we would be caught. If someone wants to "steal" a font, they can merely zip it, copy it and send it to someone, they don't need to go roundabout the process and "allow embedding" in PDFs! For crying out loud! What an absurd situation you're dealing with having to put up with this bully!
Thank you for making the issue known and informing the public of such madness. I will make sure NEVER to use Agfa monotype fonts ever again in my designs and will tell all my graphic designer friends. And I think this is the right response.
|The irony of this scare campaign by these font companies, is that for decades they have been stealing fonts from other companies, and then selling them off as their own. One should read the incredible research at the site "The Font Forging Industry" site by Ulrich Stiehl which exposes in detail the "Forgery, Cloning, Piracy, Plagiarism of Fonts" by big-name font companies including Monotype, ITC and others. For example the font "Frutiger" was forged by Monotype as "Segoe" (installed on Windows) and forged by Bitstream as "Humanist 777". (I can't post a web link here, but you can easily do a web search for it).|
|So what was your reply to their pointless final email or did you just forget about them after that?|
|I never responded to their final mail, and they seem to have abandoned the complaint.|