47 posts

Commercial Use of Fonts - clarification would be nice

Jun 23, 2011 at 23:37

I can only echo the comments above - the site is a massively useful resource and given it's age, it would be hard to retroactively change a lot of stuff...

I really just wanted to clarify the situation and/or see if there was a way of clearing things up both for people like myself and the hard-working artists who are giving us their output to use...

Jun 23, 2011 at 23:39

The issue is not with Dafont Tom, it is with the authors/designers. If they, like you, would put the license info in the font file it would be clear. But the fast majority didn't and don't do this. See above. Doggie doesn't seem to understand this. Which is sort of strange as doggie should apply the same to it's own work ...

Jun 24, 2011 at 03:06

I completely agree - if only all the authors would take the time to include license/usage information, it would make everything much easier.

Sep 15, 2013 at 03:34

so after having sifted through all the smart comments and finding some possibly useful bits... in the case of the 'Diogenes' font (which is the one I'm wanting to use), the font is apparently free and the read me file in the zipped folder doesn't make any concrete definition as to how the font can be used re. personal or commercial usage. The file tells a story about a lecturer asking people about their honesty. To me that's REALLY random and clear as mud. Does the 'free' mean that I can use this font for commercial purposes and not face any comeback from the author? I've left a comment for the author on this site (no other details are provided for this author that I can find) but am yet to receive a response from them.
It would be much more helpful if these read me files gave more clarification on the use of fonts - yes or no ideally!

Sep 15, 2013 at 05:29

@Jay0973: Diogenes is by Apostraphic Labs: They made a number of freeware fonts around 2000. As far as I know, all of their read me documents are anecdotal stories that have nothing to do with the terms for commercial use.

In the case of Diogenes, the story you described is relevant, to the name of the font. Diogenes of Sinope was an eccentric Greek philosopher from the 4th century BC. Legend has it that he used to dress like a hermit and walk around with a lantern in the middle of the day, 'looking for an honest man'. His image appears in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot card deck:

which I used for my 2007 font, GypsyTarot-MajorArcana


Edited on Sep 15, 2013 at 05:31 by metaphasebrothel

Sep 16, 2013 at 20:41

Ugh.. doing work for a 'client', even if it's not for monetary compensation, is NOT personal use. As soon as work is for OTHER PEOPLE outside of immediate/close family or a closed-circle of friends (IE, the public at large) it's no longer personal use.

Sep 17, 2013 at 00:34

Jaynz said  
Ugh.. doing work for a 'client', even if it's not for monetary compensation, is NOT personal use. As soon as work is for OTHER PEOPLE outside of immediate/close family or a closed-circle of friends (IE, the public at large) it's no longer personal use.

No-one suggested otherwise did they?

It's worth noting that a few fonts are more specific about what they consider 'personal use' but if it's not specific, I think people know that personal means 'just for you and yours' and not for any sort of gain (either for your work or FROM your work).

Sep 17, 2013 at 00:38

Read personal as private. Strictly private!

Sep 17, 2013 at 06:29

Settle down people! I don't know who Jaynz or koeiekat are replying to, however all I want to know is does the 'free' mean that I can use the 'Diogenes' font for commercial purposes and not face any comeback from the author when I start making money from using their work? The read me file does not answer this question. Don't know about the rest of you and your love for head banging smileys - all I want to hear is a yes or a no.

Sep 17, 2013 at 10:13

At the end, only the author can say exactly what rights he give to the user of hes font.
So, if you want to know clearly and reliably what you can do with a font, contact the author. It's the only good and dependable way.

Sep 17, 2013 at 13:41

koeiekat said  
Read personal as private. Strictly private!

That makes no sense - personal use would include things like CVs or party invitations or missing cat posters - they're not really 'private'.

End of the day, to use anything for commercial purposes you need specific permission to do so. You need the author to have said "Commercial use acceptable" or words to that effect ("Free for any purpose" or "Free to use" with no caveats listed anywhere would also work for me).

Absence of any permission is not a default 'yes' tho - you cannot say "well they didn't say I couldn't do it".

My 10p? If I couldn't contact the author, I'd take the 'free' next to the font alongside a lack of caveats in the download to say it was OK to use - but YMMV.

Worst case, they'll see it and ask you to stop using it...

Sep 17, 2013 at 16:28

somewhatdog said  
koeiekat said  
Read personal as private. Strictly private!

That makes no sense - personal use would include things like CVs or party invitations or missing cat posters - they're not really 'private'. ...

Doggie, doggie, doggie ...

Personal use: Use by one person.
Private use: Use for purposes that are neither directly nor indirectly paid.

The tricky bit is in the "Use by one person". Too many happily interpret this not as "use for him/herself only" but as "I am only using it myself but what I make with it I can sell, for money or any other form of remuneration".

Private use, however, implies the "use for him/herself only".

Food for thought?

Sep 18, 2013 at 01:52

Congratulations - that makes no sense at all and is even contrary to what other people mean by 'personal'...

There are 3 common terms in the industry

Personal - not for profit or gain of any sort (your CV, your party invitations, lost cat poster, home decor etc.)
Business/Commercial - everything else - ANY case of being paid for your time or the work itself
Resale - reselling the actual font as-is

I have no idea where 'private' fits into that - even you don't seem to know the difference, certainly having read your terms I have no idea - I don't think you'll find many people using your work as you think they will...

Sep 18, 2013 at 04:45

I'm with somewhatdog on this one re. the 3 common industry terms and I have to say 'private' confused me too. Thanks for all the advice and wisdom everyone, probably done as much as I can do. No doubt we'll catch up here again sometime in the future. Thanks again!

Sep 18, 2013 at 09:32

@Jay0973: Diogenes is a Free font. All of the Apostrophic Labs fonts are free. If you want the specific terms of use, here they are:

"The fonts from Apostrophic Laboratories are freeware and can be used as they are in any context without permission from Apostrophic Laboratories, except to produce material that is racist, criminal and/or illegal in nature." .

(You could have easily found this Myfonts link yourself, on any search engine).

I think the only other condition is that you must read the read me text document, and from an earlier post of yours, you've already done this.

You can use the following guidelines for other fonts:

If the font is identified as Free, you can use commercially, without asking for, or receiving permission from the designer. If the designer has contact information in DaFont, they would likely appreciate receiving an e-mail with an image of how you used their font, but that's just common courtesy, not a mandatory requirement. The user DOES NOT have the right to modify a Free font, nor can the user rename the Free font, and claim that it is their personal creation.

Most fonts made prior to 2008 were either Free or Commercial, with a small number being Shareware, (similar to Free for Personal Use, but with a small fee, usually $5 - $10, for a commercial use license).

If the font is Free for Personal Use, the definition of personal use, and the licensing fee, will vary from font to font, and may be dependent on the type of commercial use for which the font is to be used. For example, If a film studio wanted to use the font for movie titles, they might pay a higher fee than someone who wants to print a flyer for an Indy rock band that plays gigs for beer.

If the font is Donationware, you need to pay something to the author, or to some agency designated by the author, but the amount is variable, and determined by the person who is using the font commercially.

If the font is Public Domain, consider it to be the same as a free font, with, (often), the additional option for the user to have the right to modify the font, (ie: you could create additional glyphs, perhaps with an accent added to an upper or lower case letter).

If the font is Commercial, you have to pay a fee before you can download the font, and the terms of commercial use should ALWAYS be clearly and specifically defined.

If the terms of use are not clearly spelled out in one or more files contained in a download .zip from DaFont, you NEED to contact the author ONLY IF the font is Free for Personal Use or Donationware.

One other general rule, regarding the DaFont forums: You should generally disregard advice from any poster who uses smilies in lieu of text. You should pay more attention to posters who use bold text, for emphasis.

As you probably already know, smilies are for teenage girls sending text messages to each other on mobile phones. For some reason, people from Europe think smilies are cool, like wearing a thong swimsuit at the beach, regardless of their level of physical conditioning. No doubt, they are probably the same people still doing the Mexican Wave at concerts and sporting events.


Sep 18, 2013 at 11:32

"too much bold kills the bold"
- daaams, 2013

Sep 18, 2013 at 15:16

daaams said  
"too much bold kills the bold"
- daaams, 2013

"Too much ♦marijuana♦ makes someone think he is funny".


Sep 18, 2013 at 18:30

Sep 19, 2013 at 02:46

*buggar! what have I got myself into?! who are these people?!!! LMAO*

May 13, 2015 at 05:58

I'm not sure if this is a silly question or not but what if the font only asks for a donation inside the zip file and nothing else? Does that mean it can only be used as a "personal use" font? I feel like any font that doesn't have any terms and conditions for it is just a trap!

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