Who needs copyright?
Why Copyright? Because the people who put effort into making a really good font should get paid for it, if that's what they want. I tell you what -- you want all fonts for free? Go to your day job and tell your boss you no longer want a paycheck. Then get back to me about paying artists for the stuff they create. You say it's not the same? You put your heart and soul into something, whatever it may be, then have someone not only steal it, but take credit for it. Or they get paid for your work and you don't. Invent something, something unique, and have it stolen. Write something all your own, and have someone else publish it. Then get back to me on copyrights.
It used to be that copyright law protected only the name of the font. This allowed the less than scrupulous to grab a design, file the identifying info off, and claim it as his own. In 1998, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that font outlines are copyrightable in a case brought by Adobe. Later that same year, Adobe won against Learning Company.
A number of organizations and groups are working to get copyright laws amended to include typefaces and those who create them. Having struggled with Fontographer myself, my appreciation has only grown for those who actually succeed.
One organization is Typeright.org. They have some information on the above mentioned Adobe case. If you have any additional info on court cases or related info that changes copyright, please send it to me.
Here is another list of copyright links and information.
For you font designers, take a clue from the commercial houses. Put a unique identifier in the extended character set. This will allow people like me to identify when some lazy cretin has stolen the font you went to all the trouble to create. Only a really determined font thief will bother to find it and remove it. And I've found several. Including some fonts that have shown up on commercial shareware discs. I will be notifying the originators of the fonts about this.
See this font for an example of putting identifying characters in your font. Two logos and a fingerprint!
And, hey, if I've got one of your graphics or fonts and you don't want me to, let me know.