How to cope with copyright issue of fonts and their characters

By Qin Yajie, Chang Tsi & Partners

Some clients have recently received consultation letters and reminders for using characters, or similar warning letters from certain font library companies. This column will focus on the following issues: what are font libraries, fonts and the software of font libraries, respectively, in China? Are the font libraries, or single fonts, protected by copyright law? And when faced with consultation letters, reminders for using characters, or similar warning letters sent by the font library companies, what actions should be taken by companies?

Font, font library and software

The font, also known as chirography, refers to the style of characters, and it summarises the character symbol system from the perspective of structure. Font works are fixed and perceived through manuscripts, computer screens, the output of printers and so on.

The computer font library refers to the ensemble of the same kind of fonts in the computer, and specific co-ordinating data and function algorithms are embodied in the characters of the fonts.

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Qin Yajie is an associate at Chang Tsi & Partners

(Chang Tsi & Partners)

7/F and 8/F, Tower A, Hundred Island Park

Bei Zhan Bei Jie Street, Xicheng District

Beijing 100044, China

Tel: +86 10 8836 9999

Fax: +86 10 8836 9996