Typefaces are not protected by copyright, fonts (the implementation) are.

Does this mean that a typeface always distributed in digital format (mostly recent typefaces from the 2000s and beyond) can be recreated by hand, without copying the actual positions of the control points used to form a character? (I throught that this lack of protection only applied to pre-digital typefaces).

1 Answer 1


Typefaces are not protected by copyright. If you extract the typeface from the font file, e.g. by printing it, it is now just a typeface, and thus not protected.

https://web.archive.org/web/20160304054053/http://www.copyright.gov/history/mls/ML-393.pdf is a decision of the Copyright Office in 1988 that concludes "if copyright protection for the master computer program alone is not adequate to encourage creativity in the field of computer-assisted typeface design, any broader protection, if appropriate, should be legislated by Congress rather than established by administrative decision makers." Congress has not made any changes to the appropriate parts of the law since then, so it still holds; copyright protects the master computer program only.


You must log in to answer this question.