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I'm creating a website of a friend of mine. He really likes the font "Century Gothic". Now I'm having hard time figuring out what is legal to use and what not etc. I tried googling it but the more I google the more complex and less clear the issue becomes to me. So I've got two questions.

  1. Can I use the font on the website using the @font-family rule? Like I found on a website like this: font-family: "Century Gothic","Apple Gothic",AppleGothic,"URW Gothic L","Avant Garde",Futura,sans-serif;

  2. If the answer if 1 is 'no' would it still be legal to use the font in photoshop for the name logo, export it as an image and use the image on the website?

Sorry if I could find the answer myself, but I really couldn't make any sense of it, especially for question 2.
Thanks in advance!

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fontspace.com makes it easy to know that fonts you can use, if you want to be sure, use the BEST 100% commercial free font site fontsquirrel.com –  Douglas Mar 27 at 14:04
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Can I use the font on the website using the @font-family rule?

Depends on the font license. You need to read the license that came with the font file.

Like I found on a website like this: font-family: "Century Gothic","Apple Gothic",AppleGothic,"URW Gothic L","Avant Garde",Futura,sans-serif;

That's not necessarily using an embedded @font-family. That appears to be a 'font stack' in that it's looking for fonts installed locally on the user's machine (which you can always used).

If the answer if 1 is 'no' would it still be legal to use the font in photoshop for the name logo, export it as an image and use the image on the website?

In most cases, yes. There are some fonts where that would not be allowed. Some examples:

  • a font licensed for personal use (lots of free fonts are like this).
  • a font licensed with exceptions for logo work (some foundries require an additional license fee if you are doing logos for a large corporation, for example)
  • a font licensed with industry restrictions (for example, some free fonts that are licensed for commercial use may have limitations such as that you can't use it for a tobacco company.)
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It's worth noting that font-family doesn't involve font licensing at all, since the actual font used to display the page will be one that is installed on the visitor's machine. The Century Gothic family shipped with MS Office, but not with Windows or OS X. –  Alan Gilbertson Mar 26 at 20:48
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AFAIK, answer to both questions is 'yes, go ahead'. A warning, though: don't mix up the css rule font-family with th css technique @font-face.

font-family is the first example you give, which will cause the browser to search for the typeface on the visitor's machine and proceeding with the next font when failing. This is also called a 'font stack'.

@font-face is a way of embedding a font file into a website, in order to render it on machines that don't have it installed themselves. This embedding includes a publicly available copy of the font file on the site, which is against all but the most liberal (read: free and rights-free) licenses.

disclaimer: I'm no copyright attorney, I'm not certified to give legal advice and I don't hold myself responsible yadda yadda yadda.

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