Guy creates open-source, free font for dyslexic readers; gets copyright cease-and-desist threat

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The plight of dyslexic individuals served as inspiration to Abelardo Gonzalez, a New Hampshire-based mobile app designer, who devised a clever font to help dyslexics read digital text easier.The font, dubbed “OpenDyslexic“, employs a trick in which the bottoms of characters are weighted. Curiously some dyslexic individuals visual processing cortexes rotate images that look slender, making characters appear backwards or upside down. By making the bottom look “heavier” the font reportedly reduces this kind of visual “bug” in the brains of people with this disability.
Mr. Gonzalez wasn’t the first to use this trick, he explained, but he was the first font designer to make an affordable version.

. . . .

Then he “was contacted by font designer Christian Boer (who sells an alternative font called dyslexie for $69 USD per “single-use” license) to “cease and desist” early during his process.” That’s right. He was threatened with a copyright lawsuit for … making an affordable, open-source font to help dyslexics.

At the time he was charging a nominal fee and did reuse some bitstream-vera-sans characters as the basis for his font. Bitstream-vera-sans’ license explicitly allows derivative fonts to be sold (free of fee to the bitstream font creators), however, Mr. Boer was claiming that the offense occurred due to the fact that Mr. Gonzalez had changed the (free) font in a similar way as he had. By all appearances the real issue was that Mr. Gonzalez was offering it for far cheaper than Mr. Boer.

So Mr. Gonzalez went a step further and simply made the font free.

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