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The Romney Campaign Learns A Lesson In Fonts and Copyright

It sounds like the air max 95 femme Mitt Romney campaign is in the process of learning a lesson that many web designers have been confronted with over the years: When it comes to fonts, it’s important to watch your copyright P’s and Q’s.

Evidently, the Romney campaign is now investigating an accusation of copyright infringement in connection with the design of a T-shirt sold by the campaign on MittRomney.com website.

The font in question is called Wisdom Script, which was created by designer James T. Edmonson. The font is sold through the Lost Type Co-op, and commercial use of the font requires payment of a licensing fee.

According to the BuzzFeed article linked to above, Edmonson says he can’t be sure that someone from the campaign did not purchase a license using their personal email address, but that there’s no indication anyone purchased a license using an address clearly connected to the campaign. He also noted that, unfortunately, unlicensed use of fonts is something that happens quite frequently:

“Basically what the Romney campaign did was they ignored the EULA that’s attached with my font. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know exactly what that falls under. It’s illegal, it happens all the time, but it doesn’t happen all the time with high-profile uses of a font like that.” – James Edmonson

Indeed, if you have ever commissioned much work from graphic artists, chances are pretty good that you’ve encountered this sort of issue before, whether it be in connection with fonts, copyrighted images, or some other form of intellectual property. While it’s certainly not something that every graphic artist does, there has been no shortage of unlicensed image/font use — or of outright illicit imitation — in the history of graphic design, and in many cases, the ease of grabbing ‘source materials’ from the Web appears to be too great a temptation for some artists to resist.

So… welcome to the Internet Mitt Romney’s campaign staff, where a good rule to live by with respect to work done by graphic designers you employ is one that Ronald Reagan himself was known to have endorsed: “Trust, but verify.” 😉


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