I have a project in which I wish to use a copyrighted font but will use said font in a manner which I believe to be a derivative work. The glyphs themselves will be converted to paths, then I will perform an operation which will entail placing the text inside of a box, and then creating shapes which represent the negative space of the glyphs, and then the orignal glyphs will be completely deleted. While this project will not be for the promotion of any particular brand or advertising any particular product (other than my name, essentially), I may intend to sell copies of this as an art poster. Would this be considered a derivative work or would this require a license in order to sell copies of this poster?

Additionally, the information I've been able to find on derivative works in context to fonts and typefaces is unfortunately vague, and I would like to open this question up not just to the confines of my personal query but to help others outline the scope of what is a "derivative work" in regards to a font/typeface.

  • Do you build a new font?
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 6:26
  • @joojaa I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you're asking "should I build a new font?", then, perhaps. If you mean "did I build a new font?", then no, I believe I stated that quite plainly in the method I described. Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 7:24
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    The outlines have no copyright. Its just the font program that has copyright (in US, but not in german countries, although does not apply to entire europe) its just that the font program has copyright. But you can not take the same glyphs and make a font then your violating said copyright.
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 9:27
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    Why can't you just buy a licence to use the font? What's the point of copying it? You could save yourself a whole lot of potential legal trouble. Once you have purchased a licence to use the font, subject to the licence agreement of course, you can use it for any purpose you want. Copyright doesn't apply to the use of a font in a project, but usually just the font software itself. If this wasn't the case, then nobody would be able to use fonts they have purchased.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 10:22
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    @ReinstateMonica-M.Schröder United States. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 8:01

1 Answer 1


What you describe is a normal use as part of a desktop font license. So you would double-check what is allowed in the desktop EULA of that specific font, then buy the license and you can go ahead and sell your posters.

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