Music publishers are usually the ones initiating piracy lawsuits, not on the receiving end of one. But Universal finds itself in that situation due to its use of fonts.
In news that’s sure to make a few people smile, Universal Music Group is being sued for piracy. The music publisher is quite experienced with piracy lawsuits, but typically they are the ones doing the suing, not being sued.
The piracy claim comes from HypeForType, which designs and licenses fonts. According to TorrentFreak, Universal has been using two fonts, Nanami Rounded and Ebisu Bold for the logo of British band The Vamps. That also means they appear on the band’s merchandise and promotional material. The problem is, HypeForType claims Universal did not obtain the required commercial license to use the fonts in this way.
HypeForType’s complaint (PDF) could be quite damaging for both Universal and The Vamps. It is asking for no less than $1,251,235 in damages, but also for an injunction that would prevent further use of both fonts without the proper license is first obtained. And existing material that uses the fonts? They demand Universal destroys it all
I suspect Universal will fight the lawsuit, and it definitely won’t be destroying any of The Vamps’ existing material unless forced. However, that $1.2 million damages claim may end up looking small if they lose the case and do a deal to back date the required commercial license to cover all existing material. On the other hand, the lawsuit could be thrown out because of the laws surrounding use of fonts and typefaces being so ambiguous.