From: John Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Feb 27 2003 - 10:53:12 EST
On Thursday, 20 February 2003, twenty-three individuals representing all
levels of the type business, from individual designers and small foundries
to major font publishers and software developers, gathered in Heidelberg in
response to an open invitation from the ATypI Technology Committee. The
main agenda item was to examine options and define the best possible model
for co÷peration on technical issues between font developers, font tool
developers and system/application developers. Due to potential antitrust
issues stemming from the ATypI statutes and membership structure, Adobe
Systems last year raised concerns about the appropriateness of that
association being involved in standards development, and announced that
they would not be able to participate in such development within the
framework of ATypI. Although, to date, Adobe is the only company to have
voiced such concerns, it is clear that active co÷peration within the font
and software industries requires the free and unfettered participation of
all interested parties. In addition to this legal issue, concerns were
raised at the Heidelberg meeting about the lack of focus and clear
direction within ATypI. Given that technical issues are of overriding
importance to those individuals and companies whose principal business is
the making and selling of fonts, and that we are in a period of major
change in font formats and tools, it is in the interests of the type
business to create an organisation to address these issues in a focused and
effective way. At the conclusion of the Heidelberg meeting, the attendees
unanimously voiced assent to the creation of a new international
association. A small steering committee has been formed to shepherd the new
association into existence.
International Font Technology Association (IFTA)
Preliminary report and structural proposals (under consideration of
In order to maintain the focus of the new association, and also to ensure
that its activities do not overlap with the traditional legal, business,
educational and design concerns of ATypI and other organisations, the
Heidelberg meeting identified three r˘les for IFTA:
1. To develop and publish standards, industry recommendations, and
2. To facilitate co÷peration and information exchange between font, tool
and software developers.
3. To provide a point of contact between the type business and related
standards organisations, e.g. Unicode, World Wide Web consortium.
Membership in the new association will be open to any individual or company
whose principal business is the development of fonts, tools for making
fonts, or other software that relates directly to or has a central reliance
on fonts. An appropriate, multi-tiered membership structure is being
considered by the steering committee, and will include both full and
associate membership at corporate and individual levels, as well as
provision for invited expert/consultant membership. An effort is being made
to define a level of membership between individuals and corporations that
reflects the small size of many digital font foundries.
The steering committee has four goals:
1. To draw up statutes and an intellectual property policy.
2. To establish the association as a legal, non-profit entity in an
3. To put in place an appropriate web presence and e-mail discussion fora
for members and developers at large.
4. To open the door for membership at the earliest opportunity.
Once the membership reaches a certain level (to be determined and announced
when the first members are admitted), the steering committee will step down
and a board will be elected. The board will be a small body (not more than
seven people) with a facilitating r˘le, and will be popularly elected (one
vote per full and associate member). The board will have the power, at the
request of members, to form working groups and committees to pursue
specifically defined goals and to develop and publish standards, industry
recommendations and resources for font developers.
Full and associate members may participate in working groups and
committees, as may invited experts/consultants. Proposals, working papers
and expert feedback will be welcome from all levels of membership and also
from developers at large. All working groups and committees will seek
consensus, but in the event that a vote is required only full members may
vote; votes will be distributed according to membership level.
A website, from which additional information and updates will be available,
will be online soon, and will be announced in this forum.
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