Help Please! Fonts and Legality

  • Thread starter Thread starter Kelly Michelle Baker
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Kelly Michelle Baker

Hey gang,

I have a rather pressing question about fonts. For the interior of my book, I used Garamond. Standard and simple. But in a discussion with a few writers today, it occurred to me that I know nothing about font-use legality, liability, etc. Are fonts like Garamond within the public domain, and therefore free to be used by self-published authors? If not, how do I acquire the rights?

I’m a little panicked about this (hoping I haven’t done anything illegal). If you could respond soon, I’d much appreciate it!
As far as I knew, Garamond is in the public domain, It is one of the fonts recommended to be used by indie-authors, because it is easy to read and prints well. I have read at least six articles for indie authors that specifically recommend Garamond.
Pretty sure as long as you're using a font that you can find in Word or a similar program, it's all right to use it. That's why they are there.
I had a quick look around for information for you, I think this may help.

I have copied one of the responses I think may help posted by
1,317 posts since

"Re: How do I tell if fonts are copyrighted, restricted?
Some fonts cannot be embedded in a PDF. If they cannot, they are "restricted" and you cannot use them in your book. Here's how to figure it out, assuming you are using Windows (don't know how it works in other OS)
Go to your Windows/font folder.
Find the font about which you have a question and right-click on it. A dialog box will pop up.
Go to the tab that says "details"
There is an entry that says "font embeddability." If the entry is "embeddable" or "installable" you can embed it in a PDF and are free to use it. If it says "restricted" you cannot embed it and therefore cannot use it.
As I understand it (and I might be in error here) an installable font installs the entire font at the end of the PDF. An embeddable font only installs those glyphs that are used in the document.
In other words, the licensing is implied in the functionality of the font. If it is embeddable (as both Arial and TNR are) you can use it without restriction. If it is restricted, you cannot.
Here's the MS exoplanation:

As for purchasing the rights I found this

Again here is an answer I think best addresses your question answered by
126 posts since

"1. 22-Apr-2010 17:31 in response to: JimTrail
Re: How do I tell if fonts are copyrighted, restricted?
As far as I know, if you really want to do this properly, you can purchase the right to use those fonts here: (among other places)
They have TNR too as well as Arial. Then you basically have a license to do whatever you want with it.
But in practice, I mean, unless your book sells a LOT, doubt anyone is going to worry about the font you used. And if you sell enough to worry about it, buy a license later, it's only $25 or so, if you're selling that much it's worth it. And I am pretty sure you need to purchase a license for TNR, don't know about Arial.
We have a collection of acquired fonts that we reuse with most product lines. We keep reusing them so immediate license makes sense in our case..."

Hope this helps :)
Wow! K.J., thank you so much! That's immensely helpful, thank you for taking the time to do the research!

I think I'm safe with my Garamond font (and one small section of Times New Roman).
No problem at all, other people did the hard work I just found it :) I am glad it helped :)
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