8

There are free font sites that are 100% legal and reputable (eg Google Fonts, Fontsquirrel, Adobe Edge/Typekit), and so on. These sites ensure that all fonts marked "free" have a free license.

Then there are free font sites where licensing is not well regulated or they claim to take no responsibility - some fonts may be pirated commercial fonts or modified versions of such. (Examples: dafont, 1001 free fonts, etc).

When someone posts a link to one of the latter I die a little inside but I don't really know what this site feels about this issue. Should we be discouraging links?

8

I don't think we have a pre-set policy in this regard, though the rules for chat kinda touch on this subject.

On the one hand the ultimate responsibility lies with the end user. Someone using a font should ensure they have the requisite rights to do so, regardless of how they obtained said font. Whether they got it from a reputable site, a questionable site or it came pre-installed on their machine.

On the other, it never hurts to point this out to others. If you think a site linked in an answer is questionable, you can always take action.

As I see it, there are three options:

  • Comment on the answer, pointing out the site linked in the answer is of questionable reputation and the user should beware using the font in their work.

  • Edit the answer to add a link to the same font on a more reputable site. You can leave a comment on the answer stating the reason of your edit.

  • Flag the answer for mod attention if you think the answer links to an illegal site (not just shady, but actually illegal). I couldn't really find an sitewide SE policy, though this is probably relevant.

Whatever you choose to do, refrain from censoring. Never go in and delete the link. Flag it for mod attention if you must, but leave it be.

0

I would comment that my understanding is that the SE-wide policy is that it’s not SE’s job to protect anyone’s intellectual property, and it would be very problematic to try to take on that responsibility considering the differing definitions used in different jurisdictions. On the other hand, illegally-distributed content has a tendency to get pulled from the internet, leading to dead links which is bad for SE. Therefore, SE’s position is not that it is against the rules to link such things, but rather than linking such things tends to make for bad answers.

So downvoting may be more appropriate than deleting or flagging.

  • 1
    In the instances I've seen, downvoting is ineffective, because the answers have majority upvotes (there is little awareness of copyright in the fonts world). What I have been doing however is leaving a comment. – thomasrutter Oct 18 '17 at 22:28

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