Calling all tech startups, business owners, and regular internet users! Did you know that every font you use requires a license? Fonts are “software” entitled to intellectual property protection, and as such, require a license to legally use without potential fines, lawsuits, and other penalties.
Free fonts are typically free for personal use, but most fonts require either a download or a purchase to use them. When purchasing fonts, you are not purchasing the right to own a font, you merely are purchasing the right, or license, to use it.
Before you purchase a font, it is important to read the terms of the licensing agreement, especially for brands that may attract publicity. Many licensing agreements limit the scope of use depending on how and where the font will be used: for personal use vs. commercial use, desktop vs. mobile app use, how many places the font can be used, etc.
Any company or individual that uses fonts for personal use or for business purposes should do due diligence to ensure all currently used fonts are properly licensed, as you may be using unlicensed fonts without even knowing. Companies called “font foundries” exist solely to monitor the distribution and use of fonts without licenses, and without proper precautions, you may find yourself subject to hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines without even knowing you were in violation of a font license.
In sum, it is important to ensure that you hold the proper license for any fonts you use in the course of your business or personal activities, and check the terms of each license carefully before purchase and use.
This Blog was written by Hunter Business Law Legal Assistant Kayla Crider.
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