8

I want to make a poster for my middle school yearbook, but I don't know if I can put them up due to font copyright.

On befonts.com, the Product Sans font is marked for "personal and commercial use". Can I use the font for the posters if the school is selling them for $30?

link to befont's page

"personal and commercial use"

8

Yes.

"Commercial Use" means you are granted a license to use the item in products you sell.

(Note this is based solely upon that one line of text. There does not appear to be any further details on the license specifically. Even downloading and checking the result does not offer any further explanation or statutes to the license.)

  • Agreed - and kudos to @Punda for considering this issue. – Bob Jarvis Dec 4 '17 at 22:20
  • 10
    All Google's site seems to say is "Google offers many fonts on open source terms. Product Sans is not one of them. Please see www.google.com/fonts." www.google.com/fonts doesn't have Product Sans on it at all. I don't think this befonts listing is legit; I'm pretty sure we're not actually licensed to use Product Sans. – user2357112 supports Monica Dec 4 '17 at 23:27
  • 1
    I would not doubt that. But, based upon the listing at befonts... well.. they'd be liable if the license is misrepresented. – Scott Dec 4 '17 at 23:29
  • 3
    "Even downloading and checking the result does not offer any further explanation or statutes to the license." Hint hint, maybe the creator of the font didn't upload it there? – user75628 Dec 5 '17 at 2:09
  • @Scott: They're liable for misrepresenting the font? From unknown user 12456? Right, I heard someone tried to shutdown Wikipedia with the same argument. Good luck with that. – user75628 Dec 5 '17 at 2:16
4

https://fonts.google.com/license/productsans

As you can see here is not allowed to use for any kind of purpose.

3

While I am not a lawyer and the legal aspect is more appropriate for law.SE than here, generally at least in the United States, copyright on a font only covers the "computer software" aspect of a font (the representation of the font as instructions/curve data/bitmap data/whatever used to generate the output) and not the typeface itself or documents/designs incorporating the typeface. You need a commercial license when you will be distributing the font file, or a derived/subset font file, such as for web fonts, for including the font file with a piece of software or video game, etc. You do not need it in order to sell a book or a poster containing text using the font.

While I didn't specifically use it in preparing this answer, a source which supports my answer (and which appeared first to me Googling for "copyright and fonts") is: https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/intellectual-property/intellectual-property-licensing/company-sues-over-unauthorized-use-of-its-fonts.html

  • 3
    Direct quote from the source you used: "Some web sites that offer "free" fonts actually offer fonts that were illegally copied. If you download a stolen or "pirated" font and the owner discovers it, you may be guilty of copyright "infringement." If so, you may have to pay the owner money damages, and maybe even turnover any profits you made by using the fonts." – user2357112 supports Monica Dec 5 '17 at 0:15
  • @user2357112: That doesn't seem to be the OP's situation. – R.. Dec 5 '17 at 1:19
  • If this font is on befonts illegally, which seems pretty likely, then it could easily be the OP's situation. – user2357112 supports Monica Dec 5 '17 at 1:20
1

Don't take the risk. Use a different font that looks similar, but which is 100% legal.

Glacial Indifference - is an Open SIL font, and can be used for anything you want

enter image description here

From the OFL-FAQ

Question: 1.1 Can I use the fonts for a book or other print publication, to create logos or other graphics or even to manufacture objects based on their outlines?

Answer: Yes. You are very welcome to do so. Authors of fonts released under the OFL allow you to use their font software as such for any kind of design work. No additional license or permission is required, unlike with some other licenses. Some examples of these uses are: logos, posters, business cards, stationery, video titling, signage, t-shirts, personalised fabric, 3D-printed/laser-cut shapes, sculptures, rubber stamps, cookie cutters and lead type.

  • Montserrat is also a quality open-source geometric font – Tin Man Jul 24 '18 at 18:50
0

Google does not permit any kind of use of Product Sans for any third parties.

Here is the license of the font:

Google offers many fonts under open source licenses. This is not one of them. Please see fonts.google.com for options you can use.

As you can see, it doesn't explicitly grant any permission to use the font. When thinking with a strictly legal mindset, you can't just assume that you're allowed to use the font simply because the license doesn't prohibit it, or because “others use it too”.

Here's a statement from a Google employee who works in the Material Design team:

Unfortunately Google Sans is not a font we license to developers. It's based off our logo and is used to express our branding in particular.

Furthermore, I sent an email to Google's design team about the license. Their reply is very concise and should not leave anything to debate about.

Google's email answer about the Product Sans license

So, to rephrase:

Product Sans and Google Sans are not licensed to third parties for any kind of use.

It would seem that Scott's answer is not correct, and the font was uploaded to befonts.com without permission and with a wrong license, by someone who used “google” as their username.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.