This site's current favicon.
Unlike the previous favicon, in which I attempted to create a M by hand, this new favicon looks more polished. Using the popular Linux image software program The Gimp, I inserted a Times New Roman 'M' into a 64x64 image, and then downsized it into the 16x16 icon you see before you.

Despite its inclusion in Microsoft Windows, Times New Roman is copyrighted. The favicon I created was originally the 'M' character from this font. While it underwent some distortion when the image was shrunk, I was not sure whether that is enough (so to speak), or whether my favicon was a derivative work of the Times New Roman font.

Thus began several Google searches. I eventually ended up at the comp.fonts newsgroup. After finding out more about the cutthroat font wars of the 1980s and 1990s than I wanted to know about, I found a series of threads in which people seemed to be asking questions similar to mine. Unfortunately, the results were contradictory. Like many other technological areas, issues surrounding fonts and copyright seem to be murky and not completely tested in the courts. Luckily, I was able to find a relatively recent message that calmed my nerves slightly:

But my personal opinion, not being a lawyer, is that once you have rendered the font, either to bitmap or "convert to curves", the resulting art belongs to you. As long as you don't convert this back to a font and distribute it, AS A FONT, you should be fine. Linotype's license talks about "font software", but in your logo it's no longer a font, but a simple graphic.

This viewpoint seems rational, but my slight experience with US law has taught me that it can be wonderfully irrational and contradictory.