I want to use a Windows font in my game, specifically Nyala. In the font redistribution FAQ one of the questions is:

"Can I use the fonts to produce captions and text included in videos?

We view this as the same as graphic files, providing the captions or text is rendered as a >bitmap image, and the font files themselves are not embedded within the video file."

It says rendering text as a bitmap image that does not contain the font files is viewed the same as graphic files (which they do allow for commercial use).

However, it also states:

If I convert the font into a bitmap font can I include that in my game or app?

No, converting Windows fonts to other formats does not change the rules around embedding >or redistribution, and format conversion itself is not allowed. Many Microsoft supplied >fonts are available for app and game licensing through the original font foundry or >Monotype.

This contradicts the previous statement, but the only difference is that the question above is in a different section of the page titled: Document embedding.

Note: in the game production software I use, fonts are converted into a "font asset" which is a special bitmap image that contains all the characters for a font. I'm not sure if that makes any difference, or if the game is classified as 'document embedding' so can someone help?

1 Answer 1


Typically, "using" a font is selecting letters from it and arranging them on a canvas.

You have a license to use the font. You do not have a license to sublicense use to a third party.

That means, if you want to use the font for fixed text in your application, the selection process is done by you, who has a license. However, if the user has any input (e.g. because they can enter their name, and it is then rendered using this font), this means that they take part in selection of glyphs, and need to have an appropriate license.

The nature of fonts is that they are usually recoverable from any document they are used in, because to be useful as part of a document, the output file must reproduce the shapes of the glyphs, and in order to be accessible to people using screen readers and to permit copy&paste operations, the character and placement information also needs to be available.

PDF documents can be encoded in multiple ways:

  • bitmap data
  • vector/outline data
  • glyph selection and embedded font file

The latter is the most efficient representation, and that is what "document embedding" means: including (likely partial) font data inside a document for use with precisely this, unalterable, document. Because reproducing the outline or bitmap data also requires picking glyphs from a font, and placing them on a canvas, the recipient of a file would need to have a license, which makes the documents unusable in practice, so the copyright holder grants a special exception here to the recipient of such documents.

The font license you have is not even that generous when it comes to video files: again, the most efficient representation here would be to embed a subset of the font in the file, and represent the caption data as text, but even that is not allowed, and if you want to use the font for captions, you need to use either hard subtitles embedded in the main program, or a subtitle stream using pre-rendered bitmaps (like on DVDs).

Converting the font to a bitmap font format does not change anything about this: it remains a font, and you may not redistribute the font itself, but only documents that use it.

  • Thanks for your answer, just to clarify, I can use the font for the game as long as It's static and written by me? That would be fine since the game doesn't require any input. But it would be useful to have a definitive answer.
    – Pow
    Commented Feb 7 at 16:04

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