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[Lohit-devel-list] Relicensing Lohit fonts



Hello,

For those who don't know me, I'm a lawyer at Red Hat responsible for
licensing issues. 

The Lohit fonts were originally supplied to Red Hat by Modular
Infotech, under an agreement under which Red Hat could license out the
fonts under GPL plus the FSF's font-embedding exception.

Since that time, within the Fedora Project and Red Hat we have
generally moved towards favoring a different open license for fonts,
called the SIL Open Font License 1.1 (the "OFL").
http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?item_id=OFL_web 
See http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal_considerations_for_fonts
(noting Fedora's recommendation of the OFL for fonts). 

We have also found that, while a GPL-based license for fonts has some
theoretical benefits, it is perceived by many as confusing to map the
GPL to fonts, and we believe the perceived burdens of GPL licensing of
fonts may be limiting adoption of the fonts at least to some
degree. We anticipate that use of the OFL would broaden the user and
contributor base for these fonts.

Google in particular has for some time been interested in using the
Lohit fonts, including all the improvements made by this project, in
ChromeOS and (I believe) Android, but finds a GPL-based font license
unacceptable. Google is willing to accept fonts under the OFL,
however.

Red Hat has recently amended our agreement with the supplier to allow
us to retroactively license all the Lohit fonts under the OFL. Thus,
all subsequent improvements made to the original fonts by the Lohit
fonts project can also be licensed under the OFL.

Under the circumstances specific to this project, I believe we can
relicense to OFL subject to any objection by any past contributor to
the fonts. If there is no objection, we will proceed with relicensing
under OFL in due course.

Thank you,

Richard Fontana
Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel
Red Hat, Inc.



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