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Font legal issue help needed

Discussion in 'Font Forum:' started by soho100, May 12, 2011.

  1. soho100

    soho100 New Member

    Hi all

    I have a big problem...a designer used the free font Roadgeek (which is based on Highway Gothic used on all roadsigns in the USA) in a graphic design project. Although it was clearly stated on Michael Adams site where he downloaded the font 'Personal use only, no commercial use', the designer failed to pass this information on to us and used the font regardless. Subsequently it was somehow spotted and we have received a letter from Terminal Design Inc. demanding $300,000 for using Roadgeek...gulp. I wonder does anyone have any experience in dealing with such font legal issues.

    Any help greatly received.
  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Seek expert advice and speak with your Solicitor. I suspect the buck lies with the designer though.
  3. linziloop

    linziloop Member

    Youch, 300,000?! How do they justify that?! I will admit the designer was in the wrong (maybe not intentionally, probably just had the font in their collection and not checked it out), but 300,000 seems so ridiculously excessive as compensation, where do they get these figures from?
  4. soho100

    soho100 New Member

    Our solicitor spoke to our designer and checked the artwork and realised he didn't use Roadgeek but Highway Gothic so we are in the clear...phew.

  5. linziloop

    linziloop Member

    Wow, a lesson to certainly be learned though! For all designers and clients alike!
  6. Sounds Simla to the old Getty Images - Show of hands, who's been court out by them.
  7. squeezee

    squeezee Member

    That's a bit scary...I presume that the $300,000 dollars is to scare you into reaching an out-of-court settlement.
  8. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    Thats a bit naughty on their part. They must have known it was not their font?! Is that legal on THEIR part?!
  9. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Good question: being accused on entirely bogus grounds of a transgression which they themselves value at some $300k sounds like the sort of thing that could cause considerable distress - and what if you'd fallen for it? I'd be in contact with Terminal Design Inc/Michael Adams to see if there's anything they'd like to say about it before I take details of the experience to the press.
  10. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    ... and I wonder what the creators of Highway Gothic might have to say about this apparent attempt to profit from their work...?

    Seriously - follow it up.
  11. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    100% agree with Dave. I think there is more to be said on this matter. It makes you wonder how many poor sods have been taken in by this in the past.
  12. Steven Hughes

    Steven Hughes New Member

    Makes you wonder if they have tried elsewhere ;)
  13. cannon303

    cannon303 New Member

    It's a real tricky subject. A client has asked me to do some changes to a leaflet they had created by another designer. On opening the artwork it asked for various fonts not on my system one font being UrbanSketch.

    I searched for the font and found it at Font River:

    Here, it just says that the license is free. I have downloaded the zip file and there is a read me text that just says: Urban Sketch © 2000 Nils von Blanc. This font is freeware. Visit

    The operative phrase here is "Visit", however doesn't say why you should visit it.

    on visiting the site you can again download the font, however in this zip file the read me text says:

    This Font is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported (Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported — CC BY-NC 3.0).

    You are free:

    to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
    to Remix — to adapt the work

    Under the following conditions:

    Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

    Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.


    I dare say the designer is a really nice guy and would probably be all too pleased to allow me to use it commercially if I asked him nicely, however it just goes to show how easily you could be left wide open if you don't properly search the internet, and even then you might just miss it.
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  14. Jurge

    Jurge New Member

    It's the button next to centre align, duh dum chhh!

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