Modification of an old font

Participant ,
Jan 26, 2022 Jan 26, 2022

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We have an old TrueType version of (Adobe's) Century Old Style. It was purchased in the nineties, and we had it modified to include extra glyphs (for additional languages) and also hinted for screen use. As far as I can tell this would have been allowed as until 2011 the license permitted customers to modify fonts licensed from the Adobe Type Library (https://helpx.adobe.com/fonts/using/adobe-type-resources-faq.html#FontPermissions).

 

Now we want to further modify the font (add more missing glyphs, and convert it to OpenType with new hinting). We want to do this using an external company for this (as we lack the expertise), and this is where we are a bit uncertain about the lisencing as we would need to hand the font files over to a 3rd party (only for them to modify and return, not use). Would they need a separate license for this? And if so, if new licenses don't allow modification, how would we solve this?

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Participant , Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

Adobe was fine with this. But in the meantime we've gone ahead and modified the font ourselves! 🙂

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The old font only existed as TrueType. We could have bought it again from Adobe in an updated version with OpenType, but their version still has fewer glyphs then our version from 1997, and the new license would not allow modification so we'd have no way to fix it. The TrueType format have no problems supporting a wide range of languages (I'm not aware of any that it doesn't support). We wanted s

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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This is a question you should ask a lawyer specialized in that matter. I would, however, first look if the font does not exist as OTF with the extra glyps, as OTF fonts normally support a wider range of languages. 

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Participant ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Adobe was fine with this. But in the meantime we've gone ahead and modified the font ourselves! 🙂

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The old font only existed as TrueType. We could have bought it again from Adobe in an updated version with OpenType, but their version still has fewer glyphs then our version from 1997, and the new license would not allow modification so we'd have no way to fix it. The TrueType format have no problems supporting a wide range of languages (I'm not aware of any that it doesn't support). We wanted support for cyrillic and greek, but no commercially available version of Century Old Style exists with the required glyphs (it's the first thing we checked). And the ones that existed with a larger character set than Adobe's version had bad/no hinting for screen. 😞

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2022 Jul 21, 2022

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The simple answer:


The Century Old Style fonts that you licensed from the Adobe Type Library in the 1990s would still operate under the terms of their original licence.


That means you still have the right to modify the original font files, as well as any newer modified font files that you’ve built from the originals. Hiring a third party to make any modifications is also okay, on the understanding that the new font files will only be used by you (the original licensee).


The more detailed answer:


Century Old Style was originally designed by Morris Fuller Benton for the American Type Founders Company. The typeface was released around 1900, which explains why it’s named ‘Century’.


Century Old Style also happens to be one of the oldest typefaces from the Adobe Type Library: it’s Font Package Nº 22, and includes regular, italic, and bold fonts.


Back in the 1980s, the Adobe Type Group was actively digitizing some of the most popular typefaces of the time into the company’s new PostScript Type 1 font format. ATF’s Century Old Style was an obvious choice at the time, which explains its early release in Type 1 format.


Adobe wasn’t the only typefoundry to release a digital interpretation of Century Old Style, so there are a number of versions available today. But Adobe’s generous licensing terms meant that you could modify the original font files to best meet your practical needs. Which sounds precisely like what you did.


Because Adobe digitized the typefaces of many popular typefoundries, the company gained legal rights to license those fonts as part of the larger Adobe Type Library. The Type Group also designed their own new typefaces, releasing them as Adobe Originals.


Adobe’s rights to license other typefoundries’ works has changed over time. The first foundry to break with Adobe was Berthold: around 1998, all their typefaces were withdrawn from the Adobe Type Library, and now can only be licensed directly from Berthold Types.


Over the past fifty years, many major typefoundries have gone through rounds of consolidation, and in some cases, bankruptcy. The result: many of the foundries represented in the original Adobe Type Library are now part of Monotype.


Back around 2011, new licensing terms were negotiated for Monotype typefaces. That meant that if you licensed specific typefaces from the Adobe Type Library after 8 August 2011, you no longer had the right to modify those font files.


However, you still had the right to modify other Adobe Type Library fonts: most of which were Adobe Originals. And since no typefoundry can claim sole ownership to digital interpretations of Century Old Style, Adobe’s version could still be modified.


It is important to point out that Adobe has just discontinued the direct sale of Adobe Type Library fonts, including products like Adobe Font Folio on 1 June 2022. If you want to purchase new desktop licences of Adobe typefaces that give you the licence rights to modify font files, you’ll need to visit one of these four websites:


• Fontspring (https://www.fontspring.com/foundry/adobe)
• Monotype (https://www.fonts.com/font/adobe)
• MyFonts* (https://www.myfonts.com/foundry/Adobe/)
• Type Network (https://adobe.typenetwork.com/)
[* Also owned by Monotype.]


If you’re looking for any other typefaces from the original Adobe Type Library, you’ll need to license them directly from the typefoundry in question. Since many of those typefaces are now the property of the consolidated Monotype, the best place to start is:


• Monotype (https://www.fonts.com/)
• MyFonts* (https://www.myfonts.com/)
[* Also owned by Monotype.]


I hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know.


Best regards
Andrew


–30–

 

 

ANDREW KEITH STRAUSS / ACTP / CTT+ / ACI / ACE / ACP

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