For approval: SIL Open Font License 1.1

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Sun Nov 9 05:17:24 UTC 2008

Bruce Perens wrote:
> Matthew, I want to make sure you are entirely aware of this. I'm sorry
> if it will sound hurtful, but I've got to say it.
> Nobody has the slightest hope of ever enforcing this license. You have
> written

I didn't have any role in writing this license... or suggesting OSI
review... but I think the license is enforceable.

> holes into it that a truck could drive through.

I agree the license is fairly liberal, but that's hardly the same as

> And the problem
> is that the people who use it will think they can enforce it, and then
> they will get a rude surprise.
> They will see their fonts taken proprietary by people other than the
> original developers, as the license allows, and sold on those 1000 Fonts
> disks with all rights reserved, which is what they intended not to happen.

"All rights reserved" has no legal meaning, but I assume you mean
without the OFL license text.  The only way I think that /maybe/ could
be done is by embedding all the glyphs in a document, ripping them out,
then remaking a font (without referring the unmangled font in any way).

The license may indeed allow that.  I don't know.  However, I do know
that Nicolas Spalinger never claimed the license was an air-tight
copyleft.  What he said is "The key idea is that people who just wish to
resell open fonts as such in their usual reselling system will have to
think twice" and I think that goal is accomplished.  The embed font-rip
out-remake process is hardly part of normal font reselling.

> Your statement about legal review was at least incorrect, as the
> attorney you mentioned says he hasn't communicated with your group
> directly.

I didn't make any such statement.  Assuming you're confusing me with
Nicolas Spalinger (who incidentally, I have never met), what he actually
said is:

"We did follow the good advice that you gave me at the WSIS to contact
the SFLC experts and Eben Moglen gave us an OK (SFLC interacted with the
FSF licensing committee about this AFAIK) without requiring changes to
the wording."

He explicitly said "SFLC interacted with the
FSF licensing committee about this AFAIK", and certainly never said they
paid SFLC directly for review.

You should be careful when accusing people of dishonesty.

Matt Flaschen

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