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"Free For Private, Non-Commercial Use"

Quite a few fonts produced by the Cumberland Fontworks are free for “private, non-commerical use” or “personal, non-commercial use.” What does this mean, exactly?

  • Personal (Part I): The font is free when used by a person (not an organization). Use by an organization requires a paid license.
  • Personal (Part II): The font is free for work created for the personal enjoyment of the user, or those people the user knows personally - real-life friends and family. Use which is distributed deliberately to strangers or the general public requires a paid license.
  • Private: Functionally, this combines the two facets of "personal" (above). Any public use requires a paid license.
  • Non-Commercial: This means that any use of the font in no way be associated with commerce. Any use on or in anything for sale, or on or in anything meant to stimulate revenue directly or indirectly (advertising, calls for donations, promoting an individual for hire, etc.) requires a paid license.

In sum, Cumberland fonts marked as free for personal/private/non-commercial use are free to use provided the use meets all three of these criteria: (A) used by a person, not an organization (B) used only for the enjoyment of the user and those personally known to the user (C) used in a way that neither directly nor indirectly involves commerce.

The most common error made regarding these licenses is confusing the terms "non-commercial" and "non-profit." They are not the same thing. Cumberland sometimes offers discounts to non-profit organizations, but no organization is entitled to free use.

Cumberland does recognize that private homepages (webpages not intended for strangers, even though the public could theoretically stumble across it) do qualify as personal. If your homepage or blog is only for your friends and family and contains no commercial elements (ads, referral links, etc), that's personal (and private) enough for me.

If you have any further questions, or need a license, drop me a line (and be sure to specify the font's title when you email)! Thanks for your interest in the Cumberland Fontworks.


Page last updated June, 2011. This page is intended to clarify common Cumberland licenses and does not itself constitute a license or agreement of any kind. Please check individual documentation and, when in doubt, email and ask! These policies are specific to the Cumberland Fontworks.

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