Who owns old icons?

Lynn Fredricks lfredricks at proactive-intl.com
Mon Aug 4 15:10:41 EDT 2008

>  > However, were I to post (as, indeed I have done) photographs (i.e.
>  > screenshots) of HyperCard icons; this would be similar to 
> an  > individual publishing a photograph of me s/he took.
> Actually, photographs of paintings are covered by the 
> copyright of the painting being photographed.  There may be 
> exceptions for incidental use (e.g., a painting in the far 
> background of a photograph of a gallery), but the rules for 
> incidental use are vague and the copyright holder can elect 
> to have them tested in court.

I believe this was settled as well because of a case with Corel trying to
copyright pictures of famous paintings.

> Oddly enough, fonts are a specific exclusion to this 
> protection, having been defined by the courts as purely 
> utilitarian and therefore unprotectable by copyright (given 
> the artfulness required for font design I disagree with this 
> ruling, but the courts rarely consult me when making 
> judgments).  The underlying code of vector fonts can be 
> protected as software instructions, but the actual rendered 
> image of the glyphs themselves are not protected (hence the 
> knock-off industry).

This can really vary, country to country - even with the Berne Convention.
Apple ran into trouble years ago with Japanese fonts, because fonts in
Japan, at least at the time, were covered under Japanese copyright law (font
houses claiming to have had exclusive rights to the fonts for hundreds of
years). Of course, creating a font with 2000 characters in it is no small
task ;-) One company effectively did that for postscript fonts and it was
very, very expensive to get fonts that worked at a high quality print
resolution. Apple either licensed or created some very nice Japanese
TrueType fonts though - not perfect by any means for digital printing at the
time, but certainly good enough for word processing.

Best regards,

Lynn Fredricks
Mirye Software Publishing

Mirye Community NING

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