Font legal issue help needed


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.
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?
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.

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