Q: How do you approach copyright on fonts when it comes to your different projects? It’s tempting to just use whatever font looks best but quite a bit of them have copyright restrictions on commercial use. Or they are donate to author. I am guessing you hand letter some but curious how you approach font usage in your artwork when it comes to copyright restrictions.
A: I have to admit I am very lax when it come to the use of a font in an illustration I am doing. Often I hand letter something, but I will usually base that on a font I have seen or am using as a reference. Most of the fonts I use in illustrations are from Comicraft or another free, open use font resource. I seldom really look to be sure though, and it’s possible the use of some of these fonts could involve copyright permission or payment.
I am not sure how the legal use of a font within the context of an illustration works with respect to copyright. It might fall under the same sort of fair use exemption as does the use of a sampling of another person’s music in a hip-hop/rap song. Fair use permits the use of elements of a copyrighted work as long and the resulting work is completely original and new. Certainly, that applies to the illustrations I do where I might use an actual font as an element of the piece. Interesting question, though. I need to look into it. Thanks!
Thanks to Sean Platt¬¨‚Ä† for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
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