3.877 copyright, cont. (59)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Wed, 20 Dec 89 21:53:19 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 877. Wednesday, 20 Dec 1989.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 89 13:43:10 EST
From: Roland Hutchinson <R.RDH@Macbeth.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.847 left hand copyrights, right hand steals? (22)

David Bantz writes:

"...there seems to be a dichotomy in the attitudes
which some might take to express the attitudes of humanities computing
folk: OUR intellectual work must be protected, respected, and, if
possible profitable; commercial software theft on the other hand is to
be encouraged by broadcasting techniques for carrying it off."

Now wait just a minute! I think I am entitled to resent the
implication that those of us (myself included) who wrote in response
to the request for help in moving a Greek font from Mac to IBM-PC were
intending in any way to encourage software piracy. The question under
discussion was how to take a legitimately purchased copy of a font
that has been distributed ONLY for the Mac, and adapt the duely
licensed information therein contained for use on a single CPU with a
single printer, in (one presumes) complete compliance with the terms
of the software license.

If we were encouraging piracy by helping someone to do this, then
anyone who has ever explained to a colleague who to copy files from
one floppy disk to another was also encouraging piracy. Even granting
the font developers their controversial legal theories that (1)
"boxtop" licenses are legally binding and (2) an algorithmic
description of a font is copyrightable, the course of action that I
have described above is beyond reproach.

In connection with recent discussions about things that require
substantial effort to create yet are not protected by current
intellectual property laws, I might point out that typefaces are yet
another example. The design of a font--that is to say, the shapes of
the letters, as distinguished from the tangible expression of a
description of those shapes in a programming language such as
PostScript--is NOT copyrightable. In the pre-desktop-publishing world
"ownership" of font designs was traditionally enforced by registering
the font names as trademarks. This did not, of course, prevent the
marketing of "lookalike" fonts under similar names, and the practice
continues with desktop laser printer fonts. Hence, for example, the
Times Roman clones with names like TmsRmn or Dutch.

Roland Hutchinson
Department of Music
Montclair State College
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043

INTERNET: r.rdh@macbeth.stanford.edu
BITNET: r.rdh%macbeth.stanford.edu@stanford