Koch Copyright Issue

First, understand that I am not in the slightest bit angry. I've read many statements from people who've received letters such as the one below, and they go ballistic. I appreciate that Linotype GmbH contacted me first. Unlike some companies that shut websites down and not only don't ask questions, don't listen to responses, Linotype GmbH is behaving, for a large corporation, in a civilized fashion.

I received a letter today, January 18, 2007, from Linotype GmbH, claiming Koch Regular, or kochread.ttf, is in violation of copyright and/or trademark of their font, Koch Antiqua, and I am in violation by distributing it. The font in question is similar in design to Linotype's Koch Antiqua, but Koch Regular looks like it was drawn with a blotchy pen. It's not very good. So the font itself does not appear to be a stolen font with the internal identification stripped off. It appears to me as if it is a font created by S.G. Moye in a style similar to Linotype's Koch Antiqua.

Having said that, however, I am still taking it down. Under United States copyright law, the name of the font has always been copyrightable. Under German copyright law, a font is protected as a unique work of art. So, following that standard, the font is coming down. I believe "Koch Antiqua" is trademarked and/or copyrighted by Linotype GmbH. There may be a legal quibble over whether or not a person's name can be copyrighted by someone else. If you have information about a court case deciding that, please let me know. I was having a discussion with a friend on this issue. Even if "Koch Read" is ok to download by all copyright laws the world over, I still can't argue with a large company. I can prove I'm right and still come out bankrupt.

Also, I do support copyright of fonts, especially of the smaller font designers. They've put a great deal of effort into them, and deserve to decide what happens to them. Adobe is making headway regarding copyrighting the actual font in United States court. However, one large company's ability to hold on to a font is called into question by other large companies. See Courier and Century, and Broadway. Let's just stand back and let the big boys fight amongst themselves.

Below is a PDF copy of the letter sent to me. Linotype did the usual financial and legal threats, which is expected. Anybody who gets all upset because a big company starts with financial and legal threats hasn't dealt with big companies on legal matters much.

Linotype letter regarding Koch font

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