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#1 2015-08-16 01:47:06

Salkay
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 411

[SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

I just migrated ttf-win7-fonts-autodownload from the old AUR3. However, I was reading the PKGBUILD for ttf-win7-fonts, which states

This package is intended as a more up-to-date replacement for the AUR 'ttf-ms-fonts' and 'ttf-vista-fonts' packages. It provides newer versions of the fonts in these packages, but due to license issues cannot automatically download the fonts. Instead, you must acquire them from a Windows 7 system or install media…

It appears that ttf-win7-fonts-autodownload does automatically download the fonts, but from a range of locations, including a few third party sites. I was concerned about the legality of this package. I checked this FAQ from Microsoft, which says

the fonts supplied with Microsoft products… are governed by the same restrictions as the products they are supplied with. You are not allowed to copy, redistribute or reverse engineer the font files.

However, for Microsoft's discontinued "TrueType core fonts for the Web", apparently "anyone can download and install these fonts for their own use", although "you may only redistribute the fonts in their original form (.exe or .sit.hqx) and with their original file name from your Web site or intranet site". It then links to "Microsoft's permissions site for more details", but it's a dead link. Not only is the licence poorly maintained, but there is a clear contradiction between these two web pages.

I'm also not sure if the fonts in ttf-win7-fonts-autodownload are even the "TrueType core fonts for the Web" or something else. This claims that the fonts are probably all legal, albeit with no reference (and might possibly refer to a specific version). The Arch Linux wiki says only the "legacy" version of the fonts are legally distributed, not the new versions (with "modern hinting instructions and the full character sets"), but again this is unreferenced.

Can anyone make some sense of this situation, and tell me whether ttf-win7-fonts-autodownload is legal or should be deleted? Please include references.

Last edited by Salkay (2015-08-16 04:44:48)

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#2 2015-08-16 03:15:41

ewaller
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From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 16,702

Re: [SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

Are you planning to redistribute them?  If not, (IANAL) I think you are fine.


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Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
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#3 2015-08-16 03:23:00

Salkay
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 411

Re: [SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

ewaller wrote:

Are you planning to redistribute them?  If not, (IANAL) I think you are fine.

Yes, I and/or the AUR package are not the ones redistributing per se. The font files are already available on the internet. However part of one licence I quoted does specifically say that one cannot copy the files either. This PKGBUILD certainly does promote copying, although as above, I'm not sure which files this clause refers to.

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#4 2015-08-16 03:28:57

ewaller
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From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 16,702

Re: [SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

Then don't use them


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
---
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#5 2015-08-16 03:29:58

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 27,896
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Re: [SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

Looking at the sources (a dropbox URL and some dodgy user repos), it looks like they are being distributed in breach of Microsoft's licensing.

See:

SCOPE OF LICENSE.  The software is licensed, not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights to use the features included in the software edition you licensed. The manufacturer or installer and Microsoft reserve all other rights. Unless applicable law gives you more rights despite this limitation, you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so, you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. You may not
- work around any technical limitations in the software;
- reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, except and only to the extent that applicable law expressly permits, despite this limitation;
- use components of the software to run applications not running on the software;
- make more copies of the software than specified in this agreement or allowed by applicable law, despite this limitation;
- publish the software for others to copy;
- rent, lease or lend the software; or
...

I'd vote for removal.

The PKGBUILD for the MS fonts where you are required to supply your own (licensed) fonts seems acceptable to me: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/ttf-win7-fonts/


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#6 2015-08-16 04:19:57

Salkay
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 411

Re: [SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

ewaller wrote:

Then don't use them

Even if it were only the end-user that was doing something illegal, but not the packager themselves, I'd still imagine it wouldn't be a good look for the AUR to be promoting illegal activities.

jasonwryan wrote:

Looking at the sources (a dropbox URL and some dodgy user repos), it looks like they are being distributed in breach of Microsoft's licensing.

That was part of what made me feel uneasy about it.

jasonwryan wrote:

SCOPE OF LICENSE

Out of interest, where did you find this?

jasonwryan wrote:

I'd vote for removal.

Given the uncertainty, I'd probably agree.

jasonwryan wrote:

The PKGBUILD for the MS fonts where you are required to supply your own (licensed) fonts seems acceptable to me: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/ttf-win7-fonts/

Thinking about this a bit more, I also wonder about Microsoft's terms regarding copying these from a Windows system and installing them onto a Linux system. I might be too pedantic, but again, I wonder about the legality of this, and if so, whether the Arch wiki should be promoting this. I guess Microsoft's language is so vague that it's probably fine in this case.

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#7 2015-08-16 04:28:07

jasonwryan
Anarchist
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 27,896
Website

Re: [SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

Salkay wrote:
jasonwryan wrote:

SCOPE OF LICENSE

Out of interest, where did you find this?

In the license.rtf that is included in the tarball.


Salkay wrote:
jasonwryan wrote:

The PKGBUILD for the MS fonts where you are required to supply your own (licensed) fonts seems acceptable to me: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/ttf-win7-fonts/

Thinking about this a bit more, I also wonder about Microsoft's terms regarding copying these from a Windows system and installing them onto a Linux system. I might be too pedantic, but again, I wonder about the legality of this, and if so, whether the Arch wiki should be promoting this. I guess Microsoft's language is so vague that it's probably fine in this case.

Well, if you are dual-booting or just single booting Arch, then technically the fonts are only installed on one computer... And if you use the ttf-win7-fonts PKGBUILD, you presumably have acquired a licensed copy of the fonts.


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#8 2015-08-16 04:44:19

Salkay
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 411

Re: [SOLVED]Legality of Microsoft font package

Okay, thank you. I'll flag for removal then.

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