Is the Kaneiwa font freeware and can be used commercially?

I’m creating a logo design for a franchise I’m developing. To start it’ll probably just be a webcomic, but eventually I’d like to take it commercially. I’d only use it in the logo, but I believe it still counts as commercial usage.

Originally I went with a different font, but it was too hard to read. After looking around a while, I found a font called Kaneiwa:

http://www.fontspace.com/family-font-mart/kaneiwa

It looked impressive, and the site says its free to use commercially, so I figured it’d be fine. That’s when I found this:

http://www.dafont.com/kaneiwa-alp.font

Unlike on font space, this one says free for PERSONAL use. I didn’t think it was too big of a deal, though, I’d just contact the author and have him sort it out. Except that his email address is invalid, his website is gone, and I can’t find any other method of communication.

I’ve found this font listed all across the internet. Some sites say its free for personal use, others say its flat-out freeware. Does anyone know what it ACTUALLY is? I’d really like to use it, but I don’t want to get into legal trouble by doing so. I haven’t found another font that would make a good replacement yet.

If anyone can help clarify this to me that would be great.

Answer

This is a legal question rather than a design question, which unfortunately this community is not very well positioned to help you with, since we are not all lawyers (although some of us may be!) and the jurisdiction really varies between states and/or countries.

That said, “personal use” is too vague, and dafont/fontspace have countless fonts of dubious licensing – you really need to read the text of the actual license from the font’s author to find out what the license is.

If you cannot find any license attached to the font specifically allowing you to use it, then you can only assume that (because of the way Copyright works) you don’t have any license to use the font.

The only information I can find inside that font is:

2000 Copyright(C) AKIHIRO OYA

User Support on the WEB “WINNIE*ME”

Attention 使用FREE+DON’T営利目的WITHOUT連絡+連絡先大矢旭宏

I have no idea what that means, and following the website linked under “WINNIE*ME” results in a dead link on a site that looks like it’s been taken down.

After Google translate that last line becomes:

Attention Use FREE+DON’T commercial WITHOUT Contact+Oya Hiroshi Asahi Contact

Which is still a little unclear (even if you can sort of get the gist, the word “FREE” isn’t necessarily a license).

To conclude, it’s unclear from the information given what the specifics of the license are. This is unfortunately the case for a vast number of fonts on dafont/fontspace. At best they are small-time fonts made by designers who didn’t include a proper license or don’t understand copyright licensing or who have disappeared. At worst they may infringe commercial fonts.

If you want a real legal opinion, then consult a lawyer. If you don’t think it’s risky enough to justify spending real money talking to a lawyer, that’s your decision. For example, if the author intended it to be free but just didn’t know how to create a proper license for it, you might conclude that they are unlikely to sue you. This is what people in the copyright professional euphemistically call a “risk-management approach” – basing your actions on how likely you are to actually get sued. From reading the translated notice I’ve reproduced above, you may well conclude that the author intended for people to use it for free.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : JaidynReiman , Answer Author : Community

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