No good deed goes unpunished: Cease and Desists from Christian Boer

A few months back, I decided to try to create an open-source and free font for dyslexic readers (OpenDyslexic). Back when it was in its infancy, I got an email from Christian Boer. My first thought was, "Oh cool! It's Christian Boer! That's freaking awesome!!!!" But, it wasn't an awesome email. It was a cease and desist. Legal threats are not awesome. And making threats of violence against others to prevent competition is not very nice. It's really just preventing others from filling a gap in the market. And, if his work is really high quality work, he shouldn't have to resort to threatening me to succeed. He would succeed without them. I don't like seeing legal threats happen to others, and I really, really did not like it happening to me. His demands were also unreasonable. He wanted me to pull my typeface off websites I didn't control. Why did I continue working on it? The great positive feedback from people who liked my work. And I'm sure my work is why he's now added an italic version to Dyslexie (see, I did have a positive impact on his life). Funny thing is, back at this stage, much of the font was still Bitstream-Vera-Sans, and his proof of my "infringement" included a Bitstream character (see PDF he attached: image dyslexie regular open dyslexic). In anycase, while I did recommend the purchase of dyslexie to others at one point, I stopped after these emails. If you do wish to purchase a font, I instead recommend Gill- Dyslexic, which is also a very nice typeface, and has a monospace version for all you terminal junkies and coders :). Also, his price is very reasonable (Gill Dyslexic is $20 ea., which is quite possibly MORE than reasonable. It's a bargain as far as typefaces are concerned. Dyslexie is a few hundred Euros with the license forcing the user to be a snitch -- at least for the least restrictive license). He also never once threatened me for making something similar. He did at one point say that there is a reason a typeface has a price, and it's true. He is able to put a lot more work into his typeface, and it does show. I'm still working on mine after a year, and can only afford to work on it during whatever free time I can afford to schedule, which isn't much. I have, at any given point, 3 jobs I'm working on.

Anyway, here are the emails:

From: Christian Boer Date: Jan 16, 2012 9:29 AM Subject: studiostudio / typeface dyslexie regular copyright To: [email protected] Hello Abelardo Gonzalez, I have noticed that the font: open-dyslextic found on the location: presents an infringement on my copyrights of the font: Dyslexie regular registered in 2008 The font 'Dyslexia regular' and 'Dyslexia bold' are protected by worldwide copyright and belong to my intellectual property rights. It is clear to me that you have looked at Dyslexie regular to made the font open-dyslextic I have made a overview and attach to this mail of open-dyslextic and Dyslexie regular for you to see that it clearly presents an infringement on the copyright of Dyslexie regular. I hope this notice is sufficient to remove the font immediately and stop any other infringement at once. I expect a response within 48 hours

My response:

I received your request to remove the content. Because US copyright law specifically excludes typefaces, therefore this is not infringing, and I respectfully decline to comply with your request to remove the content.
-Abelardo Gonzalez

And his final response: I just stopped replying after this point:

Hello Abelardo Gonzalez,
The software associated with the font in the USA already protected. It is not clear why you as Spanish designer relies on U.S. law. Because you have copy it in Spain and offers the copied work in Spain and other countries where the copyright law is applied, so your are in infringement. So with the above arguments I ask you again to remove the font in 24 hours from now otherwise i need to turn to a lawyer. Do not get me wrong if you want to do something to help people with dyslexia, its no problem, but if you copy work/design directly it is wrong and you know that. I think your are cleaver enough to think of an own idea and design to do that.

Both emails he sent to me ended with his super-huge signature:

-- Met vriendelijke groet, Yours sincerely, Christian Boer studiostudio Prinses Margrietlaan 330 3708WH Zeist The Netherlands T: +31 (0)30 -87 92 396 M: +31 (0)6 - 23 23 46 60 skype: Kvk: 30244054 Btw: NL 126441686B01 Het lettertype 'Dyslexie regular' en 'Dyslexie bold' zijn beschermd door wereldwijde copyrights en intellectuele rechten. Het reproduceren en/of distribueren van niet geautoriseerde kopie├źn is een overtreding van het internationale copyright en is ten strengste verboden zonder schriftelijke toestemming van de copyright eigenaar Christian Theo Boer, eigenaar van studiostudio (Kvk: 30244054; btw: NL 126441686B01). The font 'Dyslexia regular' and 'Dyslexia bold' are protected by worldwide copyright and intellectual property rights. The reproduction and / or distribute unauthorized copies is a violation of the international copyright and is strictly prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner Christian Theo Boer, owner of studio studio (Commerce: 30244054, VAT: NL126441686B01). De informatie in dit e-mailbericht en eventuele bijlagen is vertrouwelijk en is alleen bestemd voor de beoogde ontvanger(s). Indien u dit bericht ten onrechte heeft ontvangen, wordt u verzocht de verzender daarvan in kennis te stellen en het bericht te vernietigen. Het is niet toegestaan de hierin opgenomen informatie op welke wijze dan ook te gebruiken of openbaar te maken. The information contained in this e-mail, including possible attachments, is confidential and is solely for the use of the intended recipient(s). Should you have received this e-mail unintentionally you are then requested to inform the sender and to destroy the message. It is prohibited to use or disclose the information this message contains in whatsoever way. ---------------------------------------------------------------