Okay everyone, try to stay with us on this one.
Earlier this evening, a fan known as VideoGameGet decided to move the widely popular Gameloft "My Little Pony" video game for tablets (the one that drains families of shekels) onto his Windows operating system. And then he began digging through folders. What he found was somewhat shocking...but really more just deeply confusing.
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http://www.mattyhex.net/CMR/?id=about. In the description, the creator explains that yes, while this font is technically public domain, that is only because it is a "reworked" version of an existing font which is far from it (in laymans terms, this is the equivalent of a bootleg or pirated font).
In the description, it actually points you in the direction of the REAL font (or typeface depending on your understanding of the terms) which is called "Generation B" and was created by an artist named Harold Lohner. http://haroldsfonts.com/portfolio/generation-b/.
Here's where things go from shifty to screwy.
"Generation B" is a paid-license, commercial font. In the listing of the font itself, it acknowledges that it is in fact the original, and that it is what is being used (licensed) for the show by Hasbro.
It also acknowledges the existence of the reworked font.
And it gives a price.
The actual font is not very expensive when it comes down to it. The Mobile App License only costs $199 to use the font properly (and legally). Theoretically, it may not have even cost that much, (or potentially at all) given that Hasbro clearly HAS a corporate license for the font to be used with show media, and Gameloft's game is licensed with Hasbro.
Obviously there are a lot of unknown contract terms at work here, but it still comes down to the fact that Gameloft opted to use the ripped-off fan-made font for their official product, over using the official, licensed, original.
Why would they do that?
Do they retroactively owe Harold money?
Apparently, this font fiasco was noted in the Typography community as far back as 2012 (long before Horse News) but went largely unnoticed in the MLP community, save for a few article comments in 2013.
Mattyhex, the producer of the "reworked" font is also aware of the game's usage.
So there you have it folks.
Even if it's not illegal, it's still a mind-boggling business decision. Skimp out on the cost of the proper artwork and then charge users hundreds of dollars to be able to complete the game.
We don't know what else to say, because it's for lack of a better term; baffling.