font legality question

Monkey Archive Forums/Digital Discussion/font legality question

matty(Posted 2011) [#1]
Are there any issues or problems legally with making a image strip of say arial font to use in my apps?

I know the internet isn't the best place to get legal advice but I thought I'd ask first.

Aman(Posted 2011) [#2]
There are free fonts and even open source ones. You have to check the license of the font you're planning to use.

You can use these two links with hundreds of free and open source fonts:

Raz(Posted 2011) [#3]
Please don't take this as the final word, but I am pretty sure you're allowed to make images of fonts, but not distribute the actual font file yourself (the .ttf file)

If you are really worried about doing so, look for a 'free' alternative (as in free to use) (see the free alternatives section)

failing that, just use a completely different font where you know you have permission.

matty(Posted 2011) [#4]
Thanks , very helpful. Will check those links.

AdamRedwoods(Posted 2011) [#5]
I think the nature of fonts is to use them wherever, but not to distribute the actual typeface set itself. Paying for windows or a font library gives you this license.

skid(Posted 2011) [#6]
Every font will have a different license.

Microsoft Arial is available for license here:

Games need their own font to look right, don't use Arial anyway. Find something in the public domain that matches / captures your games theme / spirit.

xlsior(Posted 2011) [#7]
Find something in the public domain that matches / captures your games theme / spirit

And be careful -- Most of those "public domain" "10,000 free fonts" CD's and the likes are actually filled with commercial fonts with the copyright information stripped away from what I've seen.

Likewise for many of the free fonts websites.

FlameDuck(Posted 2011) [#8]
I just thought I'd offer a quick correction. Paying for Windows does not grant you a license to redistribute Arial or any other Microsoft owned font, neither in TrueType format or otherwise (for instance a bitmap).

Also pay attention to what xlsior said. Just because the font isn't clearly labelled as such, doesn't mean it won't cost you. In my opinion Blambot make some excellent fonts, some of which are free (as-in for non-commercial purposes), and the others are very reasonably priced (and include special characters, yay).

xlsior(Posted 2011) [#9]
Aenigma Fonts also has a ton... their own website is no longer online, but you can still get them here:

Free for any use including commercial, as long as you don't just sell the actual font itself for profit.

matty(Posted 2011) [#10]
Thanks all, especially xlsior and FlameDuck.

Very helpful.

Regarding games needing their own font to look right - I was actually thinking of creating a presentation, not so much a game, so wanted a fairly basic font. Previously for my games I've simply created all 'text chunks' as an entire image - ie not using DrawText with font image strips but simply the entire text in a single image...which is fine given it is static and doesn't need to change.

AdamRedwoods(Posted 2011) [#11]
Using fonts for static images is acceptable under most licenses.

Skn3(Posted 2011) [#12]
Yeah most fonts that have that "professional look" will need at least small amount of money to purchase the correct license.

I have purchased a few fonts from:

He has some nice fonts and the licenses are pretty reasonable!

AdamRedwoods(Posted 2011) [#13]

AdamRedwoods(Posted 2011) [#14]
I contacted Linotype (owners of many font licenses) and they say that yes, you do need a game license, which is separate from their normal license agreement.

So it's best to contact license holders for almost all fonts before you release your game.