1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Monday, 21 January 2013

NBC Universal settles font dispute for a record $3.5 million

The 1709 Blog is most grateful to Maxine Horn (CEO, Creative Barcode) for drawing our attention to recent media reports from the Hollywood Reporter and Extensis.com, announcing a US $3.5 million settlement by NBC Universal over an alleged licence infringement of Brand Design Co's 'Chalet' font. According to Maxine:
"The exact terms of the settlement remain unknown. However the settlement figure will have designers and their lawyers quaking in their boots when they give thought to instances in which they could have breached a font licence agreement.

Fonts and typefaces are purchased under licence, particularly by graphic design houses. Some are commissioned specifically by a corporate firm and are provided in digital font files to a design supplier, to enable them to use the correct typeface across a brand's marketing, advertising and packaging collateral.

The Brand Design Co, USA, settlement figure reached was based on $175 authorised licence fee multiplied by an alleged 20,000 unauthorised downloads of its Chalet font, used across the NBCU network. The licence holder was an NBCU subsidiary, Oxygen Media, which had purchased just a basic 36-user Chalet typeface and font software licence. Breach of use can occur when employees, freelance staff or students are working on client projects but are not advised of whether the fonts and typefaces are exclusive and under licence. Designers moving jobs often store typefaces under licence to their former firm or a client of their former firm and continue to use them, unlicensed, on projects in their new employers firm or on commissioned freelance contracts".
Maxine offers some further reading here and here

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