back to article Chinese firm claims World of Warcraft stole its fonts

A Chinese company is suing the developer behind one of the world's biggest games over a claim that the World of Warcraft (WoW) game used its fonts without permission. The suit could be worth $13.2m. Fonts are pieces of software that need to be licensed, and font piracy is one of the lesser known forms of intellectual property …


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  1. Morely Dotes

    So tell us...

    Founder Electronics, where did *you* steal the fonts? Can you prove they were independently developed?

    And do they contain melamine, lead, or other poisons, like so amny other Chinese products?

    No sympathy here. As long as China is essentially the private property of the Communist Party, and as long as Chinese industry continues to knowingly and maliciously flout Western consumer safety, they can sing for their supper - but they won't be getting it from me.

  2. Tom

    That's almost funny..

    Considering that China is one of the biggest markets for pirate software..

    I seem to recall that the chinese do not see piracy as a problem, because they have (or at least, had) no concept of copyright in their culture.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Font theft

    is a silly thing. Everyone one on the planet has been scrambling for years to secure their IP but the font guys just sit around and cry when someone uses their artwork. If they don't want their font's stolen then they've got to do something to protect them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "If they don't want their font's stolen then they've got to do something to protect them."

    Like putting DRM into fonts? Fuck that. DRM is causing enough problems as it is and its mostly currently used to secure luxury goods that 99.9% of humans could very easily do without. Fonts, on the other hand, are pretty core and loading em up with some shitty protection system would undoubtedly piss off a lot people, break a lot of computers and bankrupt which ever tosser thought it was a good idea in the first place.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Font DRM?

    DRM protected fonts anyone? You may only use this font on the single PC it was licensed for, and don't you dare try to send it for printing at Kinko's ;)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    300 illegal fonts? Yet another example of BSA Maths (TM)

    Thought I'd do a quick check to see how many fonts I have: 273 on WinXP Pro, with a few freeware extras above the normal Windows/Office installed fonts (all legit).

    Asked a mate, he has 260. Mate of his has 125. 194 on W2k3. 180 or so on a PC with Photoshop installed. 190 or so on average.

    Not sure where the BSA gets 300 from, must be pulling numbers out of someone's butt I think. Even averaging the designers who have thousands wouldn't increase the numbers up to 300/PC.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all fonts are system fonts

    .... some are installed with games or other apps and are not appearing in the font list. Have a search on ttf files.

    I remember gathering about a thousand truly different fonts in the days of dodgy 95. I ve seen machines getting in repair with more than 5000 installed.

    This is VERY useless, but some people like it.

    Nowadays, my professional communications are using only default latex font and kurier. And yes it is much more classy.

  8. Aubry Thonon

    Re: 300 illegal fonts?

    It's worse than that... look at the weasel wording BSA used: "300 UNLICENSED fonts" (my emphasys). The problem is, "unlicensed" != "illegal".

    I checked my PC... ~270 fonts, including a LARGE number of unlicensed fonts. Yep, unlicensed - but not illegal... I sometimes go to the Font forge websites (call 'em what you will; the sites where you buy fonts) and peruse their "free download" section to see if there's anything there that looks interesting. Most of it is crap, but every once in a while you find something.

    So yes, according to the BSA I *am* one of these people with *unlicensed* fonts, but they'd have a hard time finding *illegal* fonts.

  9. Tim Bates

    That's rich...

    A company from the land of IP theft accusing someone of IP theft... Bravo.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow! A little less stereotyping and bias please

    Just because this company is Chinese does not mean that they are automatically pirates. Yes, a lot of piracy and IP theft goes on in China, but that doesn't mean that a Chinese company who actually follows the law shouldn't be protected by it too. They may well have developed the fonts themselves, we'll just have to wait and see what the courts determine.

    Anyhow, Blizzard is big enough to take them on, or pay them off if it really wants to. I can't see this hurting them at all.

  11. peter

    China Myths

    "knowingly and maliciously flout Western consumer safety"

    What, like Cadburys Chocolate did and got done for in court.

    This anti China reporting is all true but why not report the everday recalls and mistakes made by other countries around the world. The figures are much higher than China alone. Always makes me think the way stories are chosen is so random that you can't accuse anyone of bias , if they want to paint China as a bad guy they collectively can.

  12. Joe Cooper

    Doing qithout

    "secure luxury goods that 99.9% of humans could very easily do without."

    Then why using bittorrent, gnutella and whatnot to get them?

    In practice, entertainment and culture is not something you can do without.

    Otherwise, we wouldn't be complaining about prices of music and people wouldn't be banging the "right to download" drum. If everyone could do without, than nobody would giveth a flying fucketh.

    What I'd like to see? All the people angry at the entertainment industry... Listening to independant bands instead of crying about how they really, really can't do without the products of said industry.

  13. Stu

    This reminds me how...

    ...the Playstation 3 rips off the Spiderman movie font -


    I couldn't believe it the first time I saw the PS3 case, its plastered all over the front of it and is blatant.

    Used with permission undoubtedly though.

  14. Chris Cheale


    Yes, China is the largest source of IP theft in the world - but that's because 1/3 of the world's population is Chinese of course, when you *westernix countries have such a massively installed population base as China you'll have as many IP violators and privacy/freedom infringements.


    Anwyay - package up anything created in InDesign and it'll helpfully hoik all of the fonts into a folder for distribution to the printing company - you just get a wee pop-up message telling you that "some fonts may be subject to copyright". I suppose they could force you to create a distribution version in which all fonts are converted to vector graphics before exporting.

  15. Vernon Lloyd

    I wonder

    First is this company fully legit (ie following health and safety, good working hours etc, etc) if so good on it and it should show others. If not then they should sod off trying to get money out of a (hopefully) honest company.

    Second Blizzard are a clever company and have no doubt got a reason why they (IF THEY REALLY HAVE) have used non-original fonts.

    Oh and BTW, they only way to better the working conditions over there is for our countries to make and produce the components China does. What makes me laugh is that for them to make and import is cheaper that for a company in the UK or the US to make. Lets take the business and bring it back to our countries and get our unemployed off the streets. Once China stops making money, it may (although I seriously doubt it) look at itself and better the way things are done.................I MUST stop dreaming ;-)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Font DRM?

    Could you imagine the pandemonium? broken DRM for fonts as well. What would Managers and Directors do if they couldn't create important business documents and formal presentations using "Comic Sans"?

  17. Dillon Pyron


    I'll have to spend some time researching this (hmm, just the thing to take on my vacation next week. Black's). But I'm pretty certain you can't copyright individual characters. Perhaps this is a job for Outlaw Radio.

    How many of them are gold farmers and how many are real players?

  18. Matt Kemp

    Drop in the ocean

    13.2m is about 11% of Blizzard´s monthly earnings from World of Warcraft alone (Never mind their other games) so, if I were in their position, I´d just give them the money and leave ´em to it.

  19. Snert Lee


    Obviously the Chinese are new to the IP lawsuit world and have gotten confused on basic practices. You're supposed to come up with a number for "actual" damages, sue for ten times that, then settle for one tenth. Getting the one tenth and ten times parts backwards just makes you look silly.

    But kudos to the BSA boob. If only we could wrap magnets around a spin that mighty, we could supply the world with free energy that'd only cost us a little hot air.

  20. Alan Donaly

    China copywrite

    Well that is rich they haven't done anything but pirate everything they could lay their thieving paws on forever I am sure the chinese court will rule against blizzard thats how things float there nothing to see here move along.

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