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In our web site, we are using @font-face to embed fonts (we're using Font Squirrel). Currently, we are using only free fonts, but I'd like for us to purchase some high-quality OpenType fonts. One option is an Adobe "Value Pack". According to Adobe, they allow embedding in all electronic documents.

What we have some confusion about is which permission settings are required to allow the use of @font-face. Here are the permissions mentioned by Adobe's site:

No Embedding: This permission signals that the font or any portion of the font may not be embedded in any electronic document. While there are no Adobe Type Showroom fonts with this permission, some third-party font foundries may set their fonts to “no embedding” or prohibit embedding through their end user license agreement.

Obviously, couldn't use these fonts at all.

Preview & Print: A font with an embedding permission of Preview & Print allows the font, either fully or as a subset, to be embedded in an electronic document solely for the purpose of viewing that document on screen and/or printing that document. While a font with a Preview & Print embedding permission (either through data in the font file or the font’s license agreement) may be embedded in an electronic document, the embedded font may not be used to further edit the document it is contained in or to edit or create other documents. Most fonts in the Adobe Type Showroom are set for Preview & Print embedding.

Would a static web page fall under this category?

Editable: Fonts with an editable embedding permission can be embedded in electronic documents, and the embedded font can then be used by the recipient of the electronic document to view, print and further edit or modify the text and structure of the document in which it is embedded. These changes or edits can then be saved in the original document. Several fonts in the Adobe Type Showroom, including all Adobe Originals typefaces, other Adobe-owned typefaces and certain third-party font foundry typefaces, allow for editable embedding.

Would a web page that can include user-generated content fall under this category?

Installable: Fonts with an installable embedding permission may be embedded in electronic documents for viewing, printing and editing, with the added capability that they may be also be permanently installed on the computer that receives the electronic document containing the embedded font. This allows the font to be used to create and author new documents. It is intended that the recipient of a font set to installable embedding obtains all of the same rights as the person who originally licensed the font.

Would the fact that a browser uses a cache make it so that all @font-face fonts require the "Installable" permission?

Can anybody here clear up our confusion about license terms and embedding fonts on web pages?

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2 Answers 2

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A co-worker of mine chatted directly with an Adobe representative. He clarified that using @font-face embedding covers both the Preview & Print and Editable settings. Whether other font foundries/resellers have the same interpretation, I don't know.

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Yeah, I'd bet Adobe's license agreement means: only Installable fonts are allowed to be embedded with @font-face.

However this is kinda tricky. Because you can make uninstallable font embeding. If you are used to Font Squirrel, you already saw the option "WebOnly" when generating kits.

This option does a obfuscation that turn fonts downloadable, render in the page, but user can't pick from cache nor install the font, what can make any font available to @font-face (except the 'no embed' ones).

I think an email to Adobe's support can be enlightning however (words lies, this is double truth to agreements and contracts).

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