The rights to the Alpha Pieces by Eric Bentzen

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adams161
Posts: 556
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 7:55 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA USA

The rights to the Alpha Pieces by Eric Bentzen

Post by adams161 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:30 am

For all these years I had been on my product pages when discussing pieces rights referring to the De Mund adaptation for rights. De Mund licensed his adaptation as creative commons share and share alike. This mean i could use it commercially and simply share which I did for a few years with in app purchases in my apps and not pay for the rights. I have since made my apps all free.

I have learned that Eric Bentzen does not actually grant a right to the Alpha pieces he created for commercial use for free He charges 50 eruos. I do not know how the Merida or USCF pieces i use are impacted
"Mildly put I was surprised when I was contacted the first time and asked if it could be used in a commercial context (a chess database). I didn't mind per se, but it was only natural that I should enjoy a piece of the cake, so I charged 50 euro or the equivalent, and the guy was free to do what he wanted with the font except selling it on as his own."
Now he was surprised because these pieces were originally created in the 90s as a chess set that would print well for chess club publications.
" At the time printed club magazines were common, and that was one of the uses I had in mind, because most of the other fonts available at the time didn't look especially good on print with the fairly low resolution of laser printers back then."
I did offer to pay my 50 euros for the period i used his font commercially but he said:
"if you made a buck or two using his pieces, you did so with no bad intent, and as you app is now free, let bygones be bygones. All the best, and thanks for your honesty"
I did challenge him though because the page says freeware. This is what De Mund told me when i emailed him years ago That if I did not like his license i could use the chess font which was freeware. He replied:
""First: The download file contains the font and a document. The first two sentences in the document say:

“Chess Alpha” is free for personal non commercial use. If distributed please include all files.

It says nothing about how to use it commercially, but from "free for personal non commercial use" follows logically that any other use requires my permission. Page after page with legal bla-bla is unnecessary in my view.

Over the years I have granted some licenses to people who asked me, if and how they could use it for commercial purposes. The very first was for a chess database, which probably never came to life, others have been app developers and maybe one or two writers, who wanted to use the font for diagrams in chess books.

The license has been plain and simple, and granted them lifelong permission to use the font in whatever way they wanted, the only condition being that they couldn't resell the font (original or modified) as a font. No limits to the number of apps or whatever.
I think 50 euro is a modest "piece of the pie", and to be blunt I don't give loans to young developers. They (probably!) pay a lot more for their computer, their smart phone and maybe for the programming language software, they use to create apps that will hopefully earn them a bundle."
I did tell him i would post about this on talkchess but he only replied he didn't have a smartphone so could not try my app and no objections to my annoucement I intended to post.

I think we got to pay this guy if we use his pieces commercially. Eric at kan-hurtigt-skifte@sitestory.dk

Mike

jdart
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Re: The rights to the Alpha Pieces by Eric Bentzen

Post by jdart » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:47 pm

I use the fonts but my program is freeware (MIT License). I also got explicit permission, but a long time ago.

There are SVG pieces with a Creative Commons license: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cate ... ess_pieces (it is a copyleft variant of CC license though - requires licensing derivatives under a compatible license such as GPL).

--Jon

purechess
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:28 pm
Full name: John Pulliter

Re: The rights to the Alpha Pieces by Eric Bentzen

Post by purechess » Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:07 pm

jdart wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:47 pm
I use the fonts but my program is freeware (MIT License). I also got explicit permission, but a long time ago.

There are SVG pieces with a Creative Commons license: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cate ... ess_pieces (it is a copyleft variant of CC license though - requires licensing derivatives under a compatible license such as GPL).

--Jon
These SVG pieces aren’t the Alpha font pieces - but the cBurnett once. Some fonts are indeed free for commercial use like the Meridia font

chessmobile
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:48 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The rights to the Alpha Pieces by Eric Bentzen

Post by chessmobile » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:22 am

I like the Alpha, Merida and USCF designs. I can’t play on servers that don’t offer at least one of these fonts.
Chess 24 has the poorest graphical choices that I never play online there and hate their tactical training solving because the pieces are too small for the board and ugly to look at.

adams161
Posts: 556
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 7:55 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA USA

Re: The rights to the Alpha Pieces by Eric Bentzen

Post by adams161 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:39 am

I have updated my four mobile app product pages i maintain specify the rights to the alpha pieces.
The board uses Maurizio Monge's Fantasy, Spatial, and Eyes chess pieces and Eric De Mund's adaptation of the Alpha and Merida chess pieces. "alpha" refers to Eric Bentzen's free Truetype chess font named "Alpha" and "merida" refers to Armando H. Marroquin's free Truetype chess font named "Mérida". (More info on alpha and merida see http://ixian.com/chess/#other

They are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License and used unmodified by Lantern). To download Monge's Pieces, download the current computer lantern chess, rename the jar a zip and unzip. The folders fantasy, eyes and spatial are in the lantern folder that unzips.

Update Feb 16 2019, I've learned the Alpha pieces by Eric Bentzen that De Mund adapted are only free for non commercial use. For commercial apps, Eric charges a fee of 50 eruos. He can be contacted at Eric at kan-hurtigt-skifte@sitestory.dk.
I have been part of the problem blindly redistributing the pieces under the belief they were all covered by the Creative Commons License. Happy i set the record straight now on my web. Hell I wish Eric well collecting his 50 euros for unlimited life time use of the pieces.

Back in 2010-2012 when i was starting out 50 euros to lock down a classic piece set would have been a steal. So many chess apps even today on mobile have crappy chess pieces. Plus they are yours free and clear. No threat of google cutting you off for copy right infringement or lawsuits.

Mike

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