With the constant deadline pressure of running a small business, it is all too easy to accumulate an abundance of fonts and to lose track of where they came from. This means you might either be overlicensing or overinstalling fonts. The former wastes your money; the latter exposes you legally to noncompliance.
Keeping track of the quantity and location of your font licenses will ensure that you are using legal fonts in a legal manner. This protects your company and your customers. It also gives you peace of mind should you receive an audit request either from a foundry or industry watchdog organization.
The good news is that all businesses can benefit significantly by respecting the role that font software plays by following the eight golden rules for font licensing:
1. Font software is licensed, not purchased. You license font software for limited use from the type designer or font software publisher that supplies it.
2. The license is granted in the form of an End User License Agreement (EULA) according to the number of computers the font software is installed on. Licensing terms vary depending on the font software publisher, so check carefully.
3. Most font software EULAs do not allow you to make copies of or distribute font software to another organization or individual who does not also have a license to use it. This, for example, includes service bureaus, design agencies, PR companies, advertising agencies, and printers. In summary, anyone using font software must have a license.
4. Most font publishers allow users to embed font software into documents, but only for previewing and printing.
5. Most font software publishers will allow users to create static images from font software (such as a GIF file used as a Web banner).
6. Most font software publishers will not allow their software to be modified in any way without permission from the publisher.
7. Your company will be liable if you lend or give font software to others to use without a license.
8. If you have any doubts about your company’s licensing position, contact your font supplier or publisher.
To quickly scan your computer to find out how many fonts you have, use our free font audit tool at www.fontwise.com/fontcheck.asp on the Business Software Alliance Web site.
Director of Words and Letters
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.