In general that’s true, but WordPress custom fonts are based on Typekit, a service that allows web designers to use real fonts without them necessarily being installed on the viewer’s computer. You can read more about how it works on Typekit’s website.
How does WordPress ensure the viewer sees the same custom font we pay for and slaved over to make a page perfect?
Exactly what expattranslator said, WordPress.com uses web fonts which are loaded together with a site just like a CSS file. In the past, you were limited to using fonts which were available on the viewer’s computer. Here is a good article that explains a bit more: http://www.computerarts.co.uk/features/how-do-web-fonts-work
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