Generally, according to my friends who own The Font Bureau,
copyright law does not apply to fonts.
Typefaces, at least in the US, are not subject to copyright.
However, there are some confusing caveats.
The “program representation” of a typeface, otherwise known as the
font file, is subject to copyright, however.
Furthermore, the name of the font can be trademarked.
In many places in Europe, they more sensibly allow a typeface to be
copyrighted. By this, you already can see that I’ve got an axe to
grind, and I do. But that’s another matter, that I’ll spare the
general Orchid population my rant.
So, you are within your rights to do whatever you want to a font –
print out the letters and use them as a jewelery template, whatever.
You can even print out a font, scan it in, and create a new font with
those letter forms – which is where most of the "public domain"
fonts come from. But taking a copy of Ultraline or DelTon, which I
actually legitimately purchased (For my Apple IIgs, many many many
many years ago and have subsequently converted to Mac and later to
PC) from my machine and copying it to yours is breaking the law.
Don’t sweat too much about downloading. If the page says "Warez"
and perhaps mentions “Passwordz”, has a lot of misspellings, K3W3L
T3X7 7H47 L00KZ LiK3 Th1z, and tends to pop up porn site windows,
it’s probably illegal software. Otherwise, it’s probably one of the
many forms of freely available software.
For Windows, I’d suggest that you try using “Zoner Draw”. There’s a
free version available that’s absolutely excellent for simple
drafting work, once you get the hang of the quirks. Use that the
tweak the positioning of letters and you can probably get what you
want for a nameplate. It would be nice to automate the process, but
I suspect that automating the process so that the computer gets it
right would be much harder than it looks, so you’d want to leave that
to the artist’s eye.
Ken “Wirehead” Wronkiewicz \ \ /
http://www.wirewd.com/wh/ \ \