Web font licensing: the basic idea
This font licensing stuff makes my brain hurt. Maybe writing will help. If you don’t write, you don’t know what you think.
Typekit and .webfont
I was reading Christopher Murphy’s summary of the .webfont proposal and this paragraph made me pause:
What’s appealing about this proposal is its reliance on an existing standard – @fontface – that removes the need for workarounds and hosted solutions (one of the key criticisms of the Typekit proposal).
As I understand it, the real difference between Typekit and the .webfont proposal is that .webfont, while it seems a very good and open solution, will need browser maker support in order to work. Typekit could theoretically work right now.
Typekit will obscure fonts so they’re difficult to steal; .webfont requires that “illegal use” conditions be built into future versions of web browsers.
Another important difference is that .webfont would free designers from having to subscribe to a service. But that won’t negate Typekit.
Typekit will provide more than fonts for use with
@font-face. It will offer a single, well-designed interface for font management, plus other goodies like hands-off fallback methods for displaying your fonts even in browsers with no support for
OpenType Permissions Table
Berlow is proposing a mechanical addition to fonts, which any font maker can easily implement, that will indicate if a font is licensed for web use.
The gist of it all (I think)
The .webfont and Permissions Table proposals are very good ideas that require technical and logistical action from stereotypically sluggish industries. Typekit, if it were released tomorrow, would be ready to use.
I have no problem paying for Typekit first, then rolling my own @font-face code when the web font standards and browser support have caught up … assuming, and it’s a large assumption, that fonts I put into my websites using Typekit can be used if I discontinue my Typekit subscription (license ported somehow, or typeface available for web embedding from some other source).