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Should I share a paid-for font with every design agency / freelancer I use?

Discussion in 'Font Forum:' started by johnsoonaye, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. johnsoonaye

    johnsoonaye New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum - this is my first post, so apologies if it's in the wrong place.

    I am a former graphic designer, who now works in a communications team for a charity. Although I still use my design skills a lot in-house, I also outsource work to a number of designers and design agencies.

    At my place of work we have three corporate fonts. One is widely available as a pre-installed font, one is a free font (available to download for free and use commercially for free), and one is a paid-for font. The charity I work for has paid for a number of licenses for this last font - primarily for staff members to use.

    My question is: should I distribute our paid-for font to every design agency / freelancer we use if it's needed for the work they are doing for us? And what are the legalities around this? I would only be sharing it so that they can do work for us (which is the legitimate usage of the font, and why we bought it). However, I am reluctant to purchase a number of licenses (particularly as it's a charity) just for distribution to any agency / freelancer we might be using for a particular job. I certainly wouldn't be happy if that freelancer / agency then used our paid-for font (which they got from us) for their other clients... but I would have no way of policing or preventing this... and I don't think it's my job to do this anyway.

    Would it be acceptable to have an agency sign something to say they would only use this font for our work, and then delete it? Or can I expect an agency to purchase our font to do the work? Or is there another way?

    I have found many posts on many forums about the converse situation (i.e. designers distributing fonts to clients) but nothing about the other way round.

    I would welcome any thoughts, advice or info from people who have experience of a similar situation.

    Many thanks.
  2. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    It's usually stipulated in the License agreement, most font licenses allow the font to be installed on a 3rd party computer for use, as long as they only use it for work done for you.

    Most design agencies, freelancers etc. use Font Management programs, and create a font folder in the program for your font and once they are not working on your designs they can deactivate the fonts on their system.

    It's important to send the license agreement with the font, and if you can get it in writing, an email or something written, that the designer/agency will only use the font as per the license agreement.

    Basically, if the license says you can have printers/designers/agencies etc. allowed to use the font for your purpose only, then you're good to go.

    Just to cover yourself.
  3. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I would say that your employer bought the license for its own business use, so provided the license doesn't stipulate the names of the individuals allowed to use that font, anyone working for or on behalf of the company may use it under that one license.

    Send the font to freelancers, agencies who are working on your behalf and as hankscorpio has said, attach a copy of the license or a note making it clear that they assume responsibility for using the font within the restrictions that the original license. If they then go against that and use it freely or re-distribute the font it'll be them who are in breech of the licensing restrictions and risking prosecution.

    You cant hand hold them on this one but you can make their responsibilities clear.

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