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I am making a webshop (hence commercial) for someone. I would like to make the logo using "URW Chancery L".

(According to an unofficial site I found, its license is GPL+FontException. Is that really the case?)

Can "URW Chancery L" be used commercially, in such way?

It is not clear to me

  • what legal obligations such font-use has
  • whether licenses are meant for font-redistribution/modification or print/display use
  • where can I look up official licenses
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The GPL license would typically be applicable if you were bundling or embedding the font in your own software. For use in creating artwork, it likely doesn't apply. –  DA01 Apr 2 '13 at 17:06
    
Not to mention that the GPL allows for commercial use anyway. –  thomasrutter Apr 4 '13 at 6:08
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2 Answers

You can commercially use a logo based on any font however you like - a font license only covers how the font file can be used, it doesn't (and cannot) tell you what you can do with artworks (such as logos) which are generated from that font.

(Therefore, "non-commercial" clauses on font licenses don't refer to commercial use of the logos you generate with the font, but to the font file itself - or derivatives of it. You cannot commercially distribute - ie sell - a font with a "non-commercial license" - but if the license allows, you may still be able to share the font file for free).

The exception to this, and this is where confusion tends to arise, is in situations where you are distributing an embedded version of the font file, such as if you embed the font in a PDF/postscript or on a website as a web font. In those situations, the font license does apply, because you are actually distributing (a modified version of) the font file.

But if you are simply distributing a raster or vector image that was generated using a font, the font's license doesn't apply to what you can do with that image.

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URW Chancery L is a part of ghostscript project. Here you can find the latest (trunk) version of URW fonts for ghostscript. Note the file COPYING which is the license URW fonts are distributed under.

Keep in mind that in this agreement the term 'software' refers to font files since from the copyright point of view font files are equal to any other software.

As far as I am concerned GPL does not limit the use of the software (otherwise, say, any Linux-based systems that provide paid hosting services would be violating the GPL). Thus, using URW Chancery L to create a commercial logo is like using any other free software in commercial purposes, i.e. totally acceptable.

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Small point of clarification: It'd be like using any other 'open source' software. 'Free' software, though free, may still have restrictions on whether or not it can be used for commercial purposes. For instance, a lot of software can be had in a 'free version' that explicitly states it's only for personal use--not commercial. –  DA01 Apr 2 '13 at 21:30
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A software license cannot restrict what you can do with artwork generated with that software. For instance, Photoshop cannot dictate what you can and can't do with artwork you generate with Photoshop. It can only cover things like how you use Photoshop itself: are you providing it to students for educational use? Are you a designer using it as part of your business? Things like that. But if the student then goes and makes a logo with that copy, the software license cannot demand royalties if the student then sells that logo. The logo is the students' own work to exploit as they wish. –  thomasrutter Apr 3 '13 at 4:38
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