Nurmansyah IP > News Updates > Is it Necessary to Obtain the Creator Permissions on Downloadable Fonts?
February 22, 2021 9:12 pm | Safira Destianti, S.H

Arwan as a graphic designer has experienced the use of fonts without the creator’s permission. On his Twitter account @arwanOD, Arwan said the font “Om Telolet Om” was created and released in 2016 on with free personal and commercial use. Then, Arwan changed the licensing setting to merely free personal use. In September 2019, Arwan saw his font “Om Telolet Om” being used by PT Greenfields Indonesia, in their milk product packaging. Based on Arwan’s statement, PT Greenfields Indonesia never asked his permission to use its font for commercial or trade purposes because its font licensing has been changed to merely free personal use.

Based on the case above, is it necessary to obtain the creator permissions on  downloadable font?

Law Number 28 the Year 2014 Regarding Copyright (“Copyright Law”) is regulated font as protected creation. The font is categorized as software or computer program, because a font created with features and flexibility, and useful for electronic writers in the digital. The font protection is regulated on Article 40 paragraph (1) Copyright Law:

(1) Creation of protected includes work in the fields of science, art, and literature, consisting of:


  1. Computer Programs.

The regulation above causes the creator to have exclusive rights, I.e. moral rights, and economic rights that arise automatically the creation embodied in a tangible form. As stipulated in Article 1 point 1 Copyright Law:

Copyright is the exclusive right of the creator that arises automatically based on the principle of declarative after an invention is embodied in a tangible form without prejudice to the restrictions in accordance with the provisions of the legislation.

The exclusive right owned by the creator consisting of moral rights, and economic rights (Article 4 Copyright Law). We quote the Hutauruk’s opinion in the OK. Saidin book entitled Aspek Hukum Hak Kekayaan Intelektual (Intellectual Property Rights), there are 2 important elements contained in copyright terminology:

  • Rights that can be transferred, transferred to other parties (economic rights); and
  • A moral right which under any circumstances, and by any means cannot be abandoned (announcing the work, assigning its title, attaching its real name or pseudonym, and maintaining the integrity or integrity of the story).

Based on the article above-mentioned and Hutauruk’s opinion, it means that starting from 2016 (the year Arwan created and released the font “Om Telolet Om” on the website) Arwan already has exclusive rights as a creator, rights to put his name on the creation, rights to defend his rights on the creation, and rights to obtain the economic benefits upon the creation. These rights also oblige every person to obtain permission to use from the creator or holder of economic rights.

In Arwan’s case with PT Greenfields Indonesia, where Arwan as a creator only allowed the font for personal use or free personal use, in other words, Arwan only provided permission for downloading personal use and not get any economic benefits from the font usage. Therefore, if any party only uses it for personal and does not get any economic benefits from the font usage, there is no need to obtain permission from the creator (Article 9 paragraph (2) Copyright Law). However, the party must include the author’s name as the moral rights applicable.

Whereas, PT Greenfields Indonesia as a company that uses the font “Om Telolet Om” for commercial or trade purposes on their milk product packaging, is required to obtain permission from Arwan as the creator. As stipulated in Article 9 paragraph (2) and (3) Copyright Law,

(2) Every person conducting economic rights referred to in paragraph (1) shall obtain permission of the Author or the Copyright Holder.

(3) Any person who without permission of the Author or the Copyright Holder prohibited from copying and / or use of the commercial Creation.

Based on the above-mentioned article, PT Greenfields Indonesia must obtain permission from Arwan to use the font, because the font has been used for trade and commercial purposes, and PT Greenfields Indonesia obtains the economic benefit from sales of milk products, and also Arwan as the creator is entitled for the economic rights upon creations usage.


  • Law Number 28 the Year 2014 Regarding Copyright Law.
  • Saidin, Aspek Hukum Hak Kekayaan Intelektual (Intellectual Property Rights), Ninth Edition, (Jakarta: Rajawali Press), 2015.
  • Arwan’s Twitter Account that accessed at
  • Font Licensing 101: The Basics of Font Usage for Brands and Creatives that accessed at

Written by Safira Destianti, S.H

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Our firm was formerly known as Nurmansyah Advocates or NA. NA is Indonesia Law Firm which established in 2013 by Mr. A. Yulianto Nurmansyah, S.H., LL.M., provided legal services in Intellectual Property (IP) Matters such as contentious, non-contentious IP, General Corporate Matter, Labor Issues, Litigation (Criminal and Civil). As a form of innovation and a means of stepping forward, on January 8th we have rebranding our firm’s name to Nurmansyah Intellectual Property Rights Firm (“Nurmansyah IP Firm”).

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