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I'm working on a game I intend to sell, and I want to use this font. The license says:

"You may NOT copy or distribute the font outside of the licensed household, company, school or institution. Please ask external contacts who want to use the font to purchase their own license at www.CheapProFonts.com."

However, my plans are to use a tool to output a texture using this font to use as a bitmap font in my game. Does this mean I can do so, and sell my game with the font in it?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I'm speaking on behalf of CheapProFonts. ;) Obtaining a license for one of our fonts for inclusion in a software is easy and inexpensive: Just let us know that the font you purchase IS for that purpose, and then purchase two licenses for the font.

So for $20 you will be allowed to include the font in your game and distribute as many copies of that game as you want to. No limit. If you make a demo of the game (=another binary/program so to speak) you should also purchase a $20 license for that. And if you make a sequel, another license @ $20 for that. And so on. One double license per font per software. And a credit would be nice ;)

I hope you find our licensing scheme easy and affordable.

Kind regards

Roger

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This is good to hear. However, we're an indie start-up, and our budget is unusually tight, so we may not be able to afford that. You'll hear from us if we do that though! –  RCIX Aug 18 '10 at 7:50
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What a rational policy! I can't believe someone thinks $20 is too much. (I just wish you had the font I was looking for…) –  David Dunham Nov 17 '10 at 0:46
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@RCIX seriously, are you cutting on 20 bucks? What is that, like 5 Big Macs? –  kaoD Apr 5 '12 at 21:11

(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer)

In the United States a font face is not copyrightable (Eltra Corp. v. Ringer, 579 F.2d 294 (4th Cir. 1978)). But font software is copyrightable. A TrueType font (such as one you might download from cheapprofonts.com) contains instructions for how to render that font and is therefore a copyright piece of software.

A bitmap font that you create based on such a font is also font software (instructions for how to render that font) - and it is a derivative work of the original font software. To distribute it requires that you have a licence for creating and distributing derivative works of the original font.

A way around this is to pre-render all your text. This way you are not distributing software instructions for rendering that font, you have merely used those software instructions to create an image.

Outside the United States? Ask a real lawyer :)

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If the output bitmap matches the look of the font (the typeface) then it essentially IS the font, and yes you would be violating the license.

You may embed the font in electronic documents, but you may NOT include the font in a software product - this requires a special license.

Even though it's just an image it would still be the exact font, which is the point. And this would obviously be a software product.

My best suggestion to you is to examine what you like about the font. What characters cause it to stand out to you or cause it to look good, what features (i.e. the roundedness, the thickness, the "bubble" shape, etc.) and then use a font creator package to create your own font which has these same features, so that it looks similar but is obviously not the same and was created from scratch. In the process you might find one or two characters which don't quite look good to you in the original font, but by creating them yourself you can fix them and make it even better.

Alternatively, you could ask them exactly what that "special license" is that they mentioned in the section I quoted above. Perhaps you can spend a bit more money and buy a special commercial software license for the font. Depending on how much you consider your time worth, this could be the better option over taking the time to create an imitation font.

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I'll do that and get back to you, thanks for the advice! –  RCIX Aug 13 '10 at 2:44
    
By the way, I found this site (but haven't really used it) some time ago; it's an online font creator and might be useful to you in mimicking the font: fontstruct.fontshop.com –  Ricket Aug 13 '10 at 2:46

Using it that way would not be allowed. You're not allowed to use or copy fonts in any way, up to and including in printed material, without a license to do so.

Luckily, there are many sources of free and free-to-license fonts out there. Chances are very good you can find an acceptable alternative.

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"may NOT copy or distribute the font outside of the licensed household, company, school or institution. Please ask external contacts who want to use the font to purchase their own license at www.CheapProFonts.com."

If you plan to sell the game with their font in it (whether you transfer it to a bitmap or not doesn't matter), then you are distributing it outside of the scope of the license so you will need to contact CheapProFonts (whom I presume are the owners of the font) for a commercial license.

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Font makers cannot rewrite copyright law. If it is just an image of the font they hav no legal grounds. It it is an outline then they do.

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1  
-1 Claims like this need some background. You may ignore the license if you're just rendering an image of the font, unless you're rendering an image which only outlines the font? At least @AndrewRussell, above, provided background for a precedent for being able to use a pre-rendered font (explicitly in the US). –  doppelgreener Apr 6 '12 at 0:55

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