5 September 2023 • (Updated 6 September 2023)
Wait, you charged $1.99 for a FREE dyslexic-friendly font?
It came to our attention that someone may have sold a free, open-source font, in a way that violates the font’s licensing terms. We found them while we’re researching for our next iPhone and iPad app, which will allow you to directly install Google Fonts into your devices and apps like Keynote and PowerPoint!
The font in question is OpenDyslexic, which was created as a free alternative to paid, proprietary Dyslexie font for dyslexic users. And someone named Michael Dardol put up an idea to create apps that force iPhone and iPad users to pay up to $10.99 just to be able to use this specific OpenDyslexic font, which is actually available for free (!) under the SIL Open Font License (OFL).
Yep, you’re not mistaken, even though the title says $1.99 instead of $10.99. The person published an App Bundle consisting of:
- An app that allows you to install OpenDyslexic on your iPhone or iPad ($4.49)
- Navidys, a Safari extension that allows you to apply OpenDyslexic to websites ($8.49)
- An app containing other Dyslexia font, which is not related to OpenDyslexic (but may violate the font’s licensing and distribution terms) ($4.49)
What does the OFL say…
Of course, we cannot simply judge that these apps actually violate the OFL, even though it may be considered unethical and immoral to charge people to use these accessibility fonts, which is also the reason why OpenDyslexic was created, and the fact that there’s already another free iPhone/iPad app to do so.
The SIL Open Font License version 1.1 contains the following terms:
1) Neither the Font Software nor any of its individual components, the Original or Modified versions, may be sold for itself.https://scripts.sil.org/ofl
And by that definition, this and this (another $0.99 app that adds OpenDyslexic into their $1.99 in-app purchase) completely violate the terms of the original license of the OpenDyslexic font. The reason is clear: these apps put the free font into a paywall.
However, Navidys and another app, Scandys, might not directly violate of these terms for added-value features, like the ability to scan documents into digital text, in-app. The OFL also allows these fonts to be bundled into paid apps, so that’s more into the grey area.