Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby drummyfish » 09 Jan 2019, 22:17

I've just noticed that basically any libre game actually contains non-free fonts. E.g. the DejaVu font, whose license states:

no copy of one or more of the Font Software typefaces may be sold by itself.

Which makes it non-free. Just some Game that are affected:


How did these toxic fonts make its way into free projects? Is there no free alternative?

I think there are basically no free games now, except for ones that don't use fonts.

EDIT:

Or is this considered a permissible restriction? Could anyone find a citation of some authority saying this is okay?
Last edited by drummyfish on 23 Mar 2019, 20:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby Huitsi » 09 Jan 2019, 23:12

Such restrictions are not considered non-free because they are trivially circumvented. For me they make a license fall into the category of "terrible licenses that should be discouraged but don't make the work non-free". It is really unfortunate that these bad licenses have become the standard of free font licensing.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby drummyfish » 10 Jan 2019, 04:54

@Huitsi thank you for that link. It really is unfortunate and sets a dangerous precedent for people to try to add asterisks to licenses, but there's basically no choice but to accept it for now. I'll try to find some better licensed fonts and will add it to my priorities to promote those as an alternative.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby acme_pjz » 10 Jan 2019, 08:42

You may use Droid Sans/Droid Serif which are under Apache License.

[EDIT] Also in the Wikipedis page of OFL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIL_Open_Font_License it said that
The license is considered free by the Free Software Foundation, which states that a simple hello world program is enough to satisfy the license's requirement that fonts using the license be distributed with computer software when selling them.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby drummyfish » 10 Jan 2019, 09:58

Thanks for the font recommendation, I'll take a look at it. I would personally prefer something public domain, to minimize the hassle and allow the game to put on any license, without adding any paragraphs, but am not sure how many such fonts I'll be able to find. Anyway, the very basic building blocks such as freaking letters to compose texts from should all be public domain if you ask me. Copyright law once again going a bit too far :)
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby lm » 27 Feb 2019, 15:26

I agree with the sentiment that it would be nice to find some good public domain fonts as building blocks. My personal preference would be for a TrueType font over a bitmap font and for one that could handle internationalization (good UTF-32 character support) if non-standard characters are needed. I've put together several lists on available FLOSS fonts (mostly oriented to monospace). My latest list is here: https://lmemsm.dreamwidth.org/3889.html Font Squirrel has a large collection of fonts and does a good job of listing the licenses. They do have some fonts listed as public domain. There are also some public domain fonts at http://www.publicdomainfiles.com/browse ... &a=all&m=1

Would love to hear if anyone's found a public domain or unlicense font (or fonts) that they particularly like. Would also be very interested to hear tips for how developers incorporate license information in their games if they use a FLOSS font that requires redistribution of license information. Do you include detailed licenses in the game itself for users to read? Do you just distribute the license files with the game. What if the game's for a platform like Android? Don't think adding a license file to an apk without giving a user some easy way to access it would be very helpful. Would be very interested to hear how others handle this type of situation. Thanks.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby Wuzzy » 01 Mar 2019, 16:16

Please change the thread title because it's obviously wrong. The license in question is generally regarded as libre.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby Lyberta » 02 Mar 2019, 14:17

Why noncommercial fonts are considered libre?
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby Wuzzy » 22 Mar 2019, 23:18

Did you read the thread?
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby Lyberta » 23 Mar 2019, 13:41

I've read the license.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby drummyfish » 23 Mar 2019, 20:17

The license says you can't just sell the font alone, so the FSF argues it is trivial to bypass this by simply distributing some dummy file along with the font if you want to sell it. This however seems weird to me and if sued, I bet you could very likely lose the case with this argument. Not to mention how dumb and anti-free-culture such openwashing licenses are. I'm never going to use such fonts just out of principle.

The only CC0 vector fonts I've found (and that I trust really are CC0) on the entire planet are these: http://dotcolon.net/ (watch out, some are actually under different licenses). Please use them in your games and try to push for their usage.

> Please change the thread title because it's obviously wrong. The license in question is generally regarded as libre.

Not sure if I can or how to do it, but I figure it out, I will.
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Re: Most libre games are non-free because of fonts

Postby Julius » 23 Mar 2019, 21:14

drummyfish {l Wrote}:> Please change the thread title because it's obviously wrong. The license in question is generally regarded as libre.

Not sure if I can or how to do it, but I figure it out, I will.


Edit your original post.
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby onpon4 » 24 Mar 2019, 16:59

This however seems weird to me and if sued, I bet you could very likely lose the case with this argument.

The FSF has lawyers that help them out with this stuff. Are you a lawyer?

I'm not a lawyer, but to me this seems like a clear-cut case. You didn't distribute the font by itself; you distributed it with a "Hello, world!" program. (You can make such a program in Python that's only 22 bytes: 「print("Hello, world!")」) The license even explicitly outlines that this is allowed:

Original or Modified Versions of the Font Software may be bundled, redistributed and/or sold with any software, provided that each copy contains the above copyright notice and this license.

Emphasis mine. "Any software" obviously includes a simple "Hello, world!" program, as the FSF states.

Ergo, as the FSF states, the condition is harmless.
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Lyberta » 24 Mar 2019, 19:23

Ok, but that speaks of the character of those fonts creators. I wouldn't use those fonts in principle because dicks deserve no recognition.

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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby onpon4 » 25 Mar 2019, 06:00

Well, I think that RMS is an antisocial and out-of-touch hippie, and I think that Linus Torvalds is a stubborn and narcissistic jerk. I still use the software they wrote. If I refused to use software based on what I think of its authors, I'd have very little to choose from.
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Lyberta » 25 Mar 2019, 15:19

At least Linux does something usable, you know.
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby onpon4 » 25 Mar 2019, 17:38

You're welcome to refuse to use fonts based on who wrote them. I'm just saying, I ain't doing that. So what kind of person designed the font you're using now, out of curiosity?
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby drummyfish » 25 Mar 2019, 18:35

IANAL, that's true. If the license explicitly allows to bypass it this way, I admit I was wrong. Now it's just a plain stupid license that says "you can't do X, and here is how you can easily bypass this". I really fail to see what's the point of this "gotcha" trolling kind of condition when they're able to sue a person who forgets to add a meaningless file to an archive. It's like they're kind of making fun of the users.

So from the legal and practical point of view it is okay to use these fonts, but I really despise the spirit of it. It sends at best a very mixed and immature message about free culture by reserving unnecessary rights, just in case, planting doubt and distrust in the license, discouraging reuse, leading a very wrong example.

A very nice thing about free culture is that the author of a work should not matter, they can never take your freedom away and so you don't have to care about who they are. However, if presented with a choice, I can enjoy the luxury of choosing based on further aspects, such as who I want to support. For example, I generally refuse to use products by Microsoft, even if they are free software -- as I usually have a choice, I use it to support a project that's not connected to an unethical corporation. This is the same case -- if I have a choice of using a font that genuinely, clearly and simply encourages reuse, without any asterisks, giving me the trust, I am going to chose it over a shady font whose license makes me very unsure about their motivations.
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Lyberta » 26 Mar 2019, 16:28

onpon4 {l Wrote}:You're welcome to refuse to use fonts based on who wrote them. I'm just saying, I ain't doing that. So what kind of person designed the font you're using now, out of curiosity?


Half-decent ones..
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby onpon4 » 26 Mar 2019, 16:32

But that's just a license statement. Do you judge someone's entire character on that?
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Lyberta » 27 Mar 2019, 23:02

onpon4 {l Wrote}:But that's just a license statement. Do you judge someone's entire character on that?


I don't stalk people but when the person is obviously evil such as those who write shit licenses or that homophobe Brendan Eich who donated to Proposition 8, you should never touch anything they've created unless there is a very strong case for it. So, you should never use/write JavaScript/JSON unless it is absolutely necessary.

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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Julius » 28 Mar 2019, 00:13

Come one... and there I was hoping this discussion would have a reasonable conclusion :(

@Lyberta: consider this a warning to keep the language civil and not drag in completely unrelated stuff.

(I added some spoiler overlays to this thread due to inappropriate language that another user complained about).
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Wuzzy » 29 Mar 2019, 22:05

I agree the license is poorly written but I'm pragmatic. The license technically qualifies as free because in practical terms, it doesn't take away the four freedoms.
And that's what should count. It's really unfortunate that the DejaVu fonts have that license but I'm afraid it will be hard to change that now.

You could still try to convince people to move away from the SIL license. Good luck. But personally I would not boycot things only because of the SIL license.

The claim that you still could be sued with the Hello World strategy is without evidence. So I dismiss this claim as baseless.

Off topic:
I don't stalk people but when the person is obviously evil such as those who write shit licenses or that homophobe Brendan Eich who donated to Proposition 8, you should never touch anything they've created unless there is a very strong case for it. So, you should never use/write JavaScript/JSON unless it is absolutely necessary.

I strongly disagree. Please reconsider your fallacious position.
http://www.fallacyfiles.org/guiltbya.html
Long story short: Neither JavaScript nor JSON magically become evil just because the creator is (supposedly) evil.
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Lyberta » 30 Mar 2019, 22:54

Wuzzy {l Wrote}:I strongly disagree. Please reconsider your fallacious position.
http://www.fallacyfiles.org/guiltbya.html
Long story short: Neither JavaScript nor JSON magically become evil just because the creator is (supposedly) evil.


Argh, you destroy my mentally disabled brain with your logic. OK. Sure. I wanted then to link to JS truth table but this is getting very offtopic.
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Re: Font licenses in most libre games are questionable

Postby Julius » 31 Mar 2019, 00:09

Lyberta {l Wrote}:OK. Sure. I wanted then to link to JS truth table but this is getting very offtopic.


Thanks :heart:
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