Capitalis Pirata

Designed by Roland Henss

From our March 21, 2004 press release
McDonald’s Corporation claims ownership of the letter “M.”
Plazm forced to alter its free font Capitalis Pirata.

Plazm Media, a leader in the field of creative design and typography, has been served a cease and desist letter by Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, attorneys representing global hamburger giant, McDonald’s Corporation. McDonald’s attorneys claim that Plazm’s usage of the “golden arches” as the letter M in the Capitalis Pirata font is “likely to confuse the public into believing that Plazm is in some way associated with McDonald’s” and that such use “dilutes McDonald’s Corporation’s trademark rights.”

In an effort to stay in business, we forcibly removed the upper case M from the alphabet.

June 14, 2004 — McDonald’s lawyers let us off the hook.

Download a free Open Type font, Capitalis Pirata 2.0 here: Capitalis_Pirata_OT

Read Stanley Moss’ essay about custom typography, our design of the Nike corporate typeface, and McDonald’s actions here: On Piracy, Victory, and the Just Shaping of Letters.


Official Plazm statement on Capitalis Pirata

As designers, educators, and artists, we are interested in better understanding the power of corporate iconography in the world today. In an effort to explore the meaning of corporate icons in our world, type designer Roland Henss has created an alphabet called Capitalis Pirata. By placing fragments of corporate icons into the form of an alphabet, Henss challenges the notion of ownership of letterforms. Since a copyright can not be placed on the alphabet itself, this typeface raises issues about the boundaries of ownership and the proprietary nature of letterforms in the public domain.

Capitalis Pirata is a fully functioning digital typeface available strictly for education and discussion purposes. Capitalis Pirata is for free distribution only and may not be sold.

Cease & desist letter from McDonald’s attorneys
McDonald’s letter in response to our actions