My client, based in Germany, got a letter for compensation for using free fonts from Google Fonts on his website (As everyone does).
Is the letter legitimate ?
Are Germans (in general) scrupulous ?
Are there numerous “hyena law firms” in Germany that laboriously frame this issue on German companies ?
So what is the issue ?
Europe (the Union) and the US are two different legal systems, even averse to each other. On most sites in Europe, fonts are loaded from servers in the U.S., or servers owned by the U.S. company Google, subject to U.S. law.
By loading the fonts, the U.S. company gains the IP of a German user who is on a particular site (the same goes for embedded Google Maps).
A court in Munich in January 2022, found this to be a violation of the law
source: https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/31/website_fine_google_fonts_gdpr/ and https://cookie-script.com/blog/google-fonts-and-gdpr
Numerous sites have sprung up in Germany to check the legality of FONT embedding e.g. https://sicher3.de/google-fonts-checker/
And a rash of compensation letters for several hundred euros each (from “hyena law firms”).
Google Fonts on the website
How to get out of this ?
#1 local store, that is, embedding these fonts on your own server
#2 either massive consent cookies (consent mode), blocking everything on the site until the Internet user gives consent (this is encased in a multi-sentence terms and conditions. Generally it’s about data anonymization, here a long explanation by Google, because anonymization also applies to other services e.g. Ads, Analytics – https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9976101?hl=pl).
Just to be sure, I will add that this IS NOT a joke or April Fool’s Day. Our client’s website was created in 2018, at that time it was legal. Legal conditions changed in January 2022, as a result of a Munich court ruling.
Note: The above article applies only to German companies, or those under German law / courts.
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Tomasz Kita [bio]
Studio72 / Katowice
tel. 501 469 329