Can I use a font to make CU products to give away?

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Can I use a font to make CU products to give away?

Ok, so I have read and reread the EULA over at Adobe, and it seems to me as long as you use their fonts (in my case the ones that came with Adobe Photoshop) by embedding them in a document for preview and print, you can use them commercially. In other words, as long as I use them to make a element or alpha then turned into .png or .jpg file where no one can actually grab and alter the font itself, I am safe to use it commercially. I have also read the EULA's for some fontsquirrel fonts that can be used commercially, and I also have some of Kevin and Amanda's fonts that I can use commercially (as long as you have her button on your website, you can use them commercially). However, this is my question. I have recently decided to make kits, elements, and alphas that are commercial use, but it doesn't say how to liscence the designs that you make from the fonts. I always assume that if you use something that is commercial use, you have to liscence it as personal use. In the digital scrapbooking community, if you can liscence something as commercial use, then it is actually cu4cu. Can you use these same fonts to make a kit, element, or alpha, then give it away as cu? Its a little confusing, but I wanna do the right thing! Any info on this would be greatly appreciated, and also correct me if I am wrong about any of this:) Thanks...

I could be wrong but my interpretation for fonts, unless specifically mentioned for cu4cu, would be that you could create a CU alpha (like this one: Cutout Alpha - Sans Serif by Marisa) as long as it is embedded and the person cannot alter the font. So if I understand it correctly, as long as the layer with the letter is changed from a text layer to a shape or rasterized or something then I would think it would be okay.

@Dawn, that's what I was thinking:) Thanks for the input!

That's my interpretation too, Dawn. Although it is mostly just a wild guess, because there seems to be a lot of confusion as to what exactly is 'commercial use'. But I guess as long as you don't resell the actual font, you're safe...

I've wondered on that as well. I have tried to only download ones that are public/cu, just because i wanted to error on the cautious side. Thanks for the question and thoughts.

The way that I understand it is this (and it sounds right to me, BUT I am not a lawyer, so I could be wrong smiley ) :
You've purchased the CU rights to a font (or it's inherently a CU font) and you use it to make a piece of art. The font is embedded and is an integral part of the art, so anyone receiving the art is unable to extract the font. You can sell it because you have the CU rights to do so.
At this point, the art is now your creative property and, unless there are Creative Commons (or similar) licenses that are also applicable to the original font, you are able to determine the usage of your art piece however you like. So it's now up to you whether someone can use it for CU or not - because it's not that font any more, it's your art. (Something like the Attribution-ShareAlike license from Creative Commons could throw a monkey wrench into things because it requires you to license your work under identical terms as the font you used to create it.)
And then, there are fonts that stipulate no derivative works... and I am not sure how to proceed with an alpha set if the font is under that license. Because I would, personally, consider it a derivative work.

I like to download my fonts strictly from FontSpace because they seem to lay out the licenses pretty well. Otherwise, when in doubt, contact the original creator of the font and see what they have to say. If they give you permission, then obviously you're fine. And if you don't every get a response, I'd keep copies of your attempts for clarification and then go ahead with it - it seems to me that if you can show that you put forth good effort to get clarification but do not then you should be ok ... BUT, as I said, I am not a lawyer and I sometimes have a twisted sense of justice (... or else the world does), so don't take my advice as fact.

And, you might just pop into a lawyer's office for some free advice, too. Quite a few of them do that and they would give a better, more definitive clarification on the issue (hopefully). lol. smiley

@Fran, its funny that you mentioned "sofia" font, because that is the font I used, or it may be different, but I used it in my last kit, I got it from fontsquirrel and looked up its info. It was licensed as SIL Open Font License, which according to what I'm reading about fonts licensed under the SIL Open Font License, sounds like it (the font itself) can be studied, modified, and redistributed itself as long as you don't try to sell it (the font itself), and you have to license the new derivative work (the new font you made from the original font) the same as the original font. Now if you make something out of the font, like an alpha or element, that is "embedding" the font into a document (such as .pdf, .jpg, .png), and in that case, you may use the font any way you like, and license your alpha or new creation (which is the derivative work) any way you want. Here are some of my resources for this: Here and Here:This one is easier to understand:)

So it sounds like it is ok for us to use fonts with the SIL Open Font License, to make an alpha, or element, or whatever and then sell it or give it away as personal or commercial use.

CU means you can use it to create something you are going to sell for personal use...i.e., a personal use kit...the customer purchases this personal use kit from you.

CU4CU means you can use it to create what you like and sell it as a CU item. In other words, you can create an embellishment (or even a kit if you have all CU4CU) and sell it as a CU kit, which the customer can then use to create a kit of their own (for personal use only).

Don't know if I just confused you more...I hope not!

This is all so confusing smiley , lol

and all that confusion was exactly why I didn't/don't think I could ever be a designer. smiley

This is all so confusing smiley, lol

Same here, Shawna... I think if I make things I might just make them for myself for personal use. Though I'm still determined to make over my part of the December Blog train at some point & re-offer it... A friend told me I should have QC'd it & I was like, what's that? Now I know what she's talking about & am so embarrassed at what I made...

@Lizanne no kidding, had no idea you put "texture" on papers! I took a mentoring class in April/May and it was the best experience EVER! I learned so much and am still learning.

I would love to do something like that - except I use PSP, and I only see stuff like that for Photoshop users... I'm hoping I'll eventually come across a slow-paced class, where you can take things at your speed and as you have time, and is run by someone that is patient with people that don't know the software inside out & may not know all the lingo... smiley

Okay I realize no one will probably ever read this since this conversation went on a year ago but I wanted to thank you Sheila for helping me better understand the SIL open font licensing info. I have just spent over 2 and 1/2 hours trying to weed through the intricacies of the licensing info to see whether we can use SIL fonts in our alphabets. While I was 99% sure that it covered us for allowing use in sentiments and quotes, I just wasn't sure about the single letter aspect. There are some font designer's that allow for CU but not allow a full alphabet to be made for scrapbooking purposes. So, I figured that once I start designing alphabets it would be best to go with SIL or open source fonts but I swear the more I read, the more I wasn't sure. Part of the issue was with 'not selling the font separately' but I didn't know if that was as software or once something had been created. The other thing that tripped me up was about 'embedding' as that was the only place that you didn't need to include the font licensing info but I wasn't sure if creating an alphabet was considered embedding. I figured it was but wasn't completely sure. I was about to give up when I decided to try one last search "can sil fonts be used commercially in scrapbooking kits?" which lead me here. I should have know to check here first. Thanks for the clarification on embedding. I think that I am finally straight about it all and will now be confident using SIL fonts in my alphabet design.

I deceided try to avoid selling alphas made with OFL fonts. I can for sure make then, but I´m still usure if they can be sold or if it´s abusing the license. But I don´t think it´s wrong making a coordinating alpha for one of my paid kits using a OFL font and distributing the alpha for free in my blog, and it´s exactly what I am planning to make when I happen to make one based on a OFL font. Better safe than sorry!

So, after trying to wade through all of this, I have a headache lol! Unless I missed it, what about fonts that come with our computers? I'm not a big font lover and would be happy with what comes in the machines, aside from the few fonts I did get when I made websets.

I'm offering everything I make as freebies, but eventually would like to sell a few things to cover the cost of my blog (not that expensive, but still ...) or become part of a store (still learning the in's and out's of all this). All the TOU's can be horribly confusing and with all the kits out there for sale, I'm wondering how anyone ever covers all the bases!

I sometimes see TOU's that mention the 72 resolution or embedded images, etc. What's that all about?

I see mention of crediting other designers if using their templates or whatever to create a kit. Where do you put those acknowledgements? In with your TOU's? When you're creating a kit, do you just keep track as you go or what? I'm using so many things from here as a newbie (I have created a few things of my own though) that I'd love to give credit even if everything I'm using is CU stuff.

So much to learn aside from learning how to create kits! Sorry for all the questions. Just trying to begin getting a handle on this side of things.


How can't I see this post before? I was so confused too when I first start to make designs for selling and I ended up using fonts only from squirrelfont to not to be sorry later or purchase from font designers that offers commercial use and not demanding a lot money like $300 smiley
@Lisa: I usually stay away From resources if they says something about crediting or "if you are selling this sell with my license". That's a horrible way of selling cu products because I cannot change my TOU file in every kit that I made and accordingly can't update my website TOU each time. Then it would be confusing for buyers. If I am wrong please somebody correct me, but as far as I know and understand from PIxelscrapper TOU you don't have to credit the designer in your TOU file if you are using the items for commercial use. Only thing you need to do is changing the original file in such a way that it should have some of your creativity.

I usually credit digiscrap designers, photographers which Public domain photos I used and type designers as well, even if it´s not required. There are designers who make a cool image of all the designers they use and write "this kit may or may not use things from..." and them copy them to the kit folder everytime. I prefer to do it kit by kit. What I do is: I create a .txt file, named as other stuff from my kits (e.g LW_MDA_credits.txt - sometimes I name this file ThankYou, istead of credits) and then I name each designer in one line, as I go (e.g: When I finish a piece and save it, I open the file and check if each designer I used something on this piece is already credited, and write the names of the ones that still aren´t. I have to say that Marisa and Sheilla are credited in pretty much everything I make smiley When it´s a mini kit, I usually put it straight on the TOU.

@Elif - I agree about staying away from anything that has those types of terms. I've trashed a lot of things that I went back and read the terms on. If they're too confusing for me - poof, they're gone! I hope the PS terms are as you interpret them to be. Although some files I'm not sure what more to do with than recolor them (like a paperclip or a binder) to change them up.

@Lorien - Creating a text file and doing it as you go sounds like a good idea, especially if credit is required. I'm also considering putting up an acknowledge type page on my blog with a link to designers that I've acquired things to use. Lol, and yeah I agree with you about Marisa and Sheila. And Janet, Elif, etc. lol

Thanks for the tips!!


I would say, rather than making assumptions, when in doubt, contact and ask the designer/developer directly.

Good info, thank you!