How to Avoid Buying Pirated Fonts on Etsy


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Are you passionate about crafting or designing? Have you ever thought about getting fonts from the Etsy marketplace? If you love discovering fresh typeface designs, Etsy can be the place to find the perfect fonts. However, for a safe and enjoyable shopping experience, it is crucial to avoid pirated fonts sold on the Etsy marketplace.

In this post, you will learn tips for separating the trusted font shops from the sketchy imitators on Etsy. With the possibility of encountering fraudulent sellers, you must be cautious to ensure any font purchases are legit and licensed.

With these tips, you will easily spot the signs of authentic sellers so that you can add unique fonts to your collection without worries.

Why Pirated Fonts Exist on Etsy

Unfortunately, as the Etsy marketplace grows in popularity for downloading creative digital assets, it attracts scammers seeking to exploit unsuspecting buyers.

Established font marketplaces enforce a rigorous verification process to ensure that font sellers on their platform are the rightful creators with proper authorization. However, when it comes to font sellers on Etsy, there is no such verification process except for identity confirmation for payment purposes.

Etsy recognizes that addressing copyright infringement is a substantial and ongoing concern. In 2022, it invested $50 million to enhance technology, operations, and staffing and developed its own Intellectual Property (IP) infringement Reporting Portal to tackle this issue head-on.

According to Etsy’s 2022 Transparency Report, they successfully processed 99,000 alleged infringement reports. Out of these, they removed a total of 1.1 million listings. However, Etsy primarily relies on IP abuse reporting instead of proactive enforcement, inadvertently allowing pirated fonts.

Verifying a Legitimate Etsy Seller

Investigating an Etsy shop’s background provides crucial context to determine if they are a trusted source or a potential scammer. Take the time to check if the seller has a solid social media presence and a dedicated professional website. Furthermore, comparing the shop listings on Etsy with those from other shops operated by the font designer on reputable font sites is recommended.

  • The banner for the Etsy shop appears to be of low quality and gives the impression that it was designed using a word processor.
  • Several product preview images in the shop display the genuine designer’s name or logo, while others have the fraudulent seller’s name pasted over them.
  • The genuine products have terms that do not permit reselling, so it is doubtful that the designers allowed the Etsy shop owner to sell them.
  • The authentic products permit commercial use, whereas the fraudulent seller imposes an additional license fee.
  • When a buyer leaves negative feedback, the shop owner tends to respond in an abrasive and accusatory manner.
  • There are no social media pages or other websites associated with the Etsy shop owner.

Red Flags of Fradulent Etsy Sellers

Fonts copied and distributed without permission of the original creator and proper license are known as pirated fonts. Despite likely having no ill intentions, downloading fonts from shady sources online or from people you know opens you up to security, legal, and other issues.

Before making a font purchase, be aware of these common red flags that will help you avoid pirated fonts on Etsy.

Shady Shop Practices

  • Product reviews that mention lack of customer service and/or problems with font purchases
  • Lack of response to Etsy conversations
  • Lack of cohesive branding and social media presence

Licensing and Policy Red Flags

  • Lack of licensing information that explains font license terms, number of users, etc.
  • No explanation of the refund/exchange policy

Suspicious Products and Pricing

  • Premium fonts that are listed for sale at extremely low prices when other sites have them listed for much higher
  • Inconsistent design style of fonts, preview images, and descriptions
  • Shop offers huge font collections

What To Do If You Find Pirated Fonts on Etsy

If you have a passion for fonts and frequently browse popular font websites, chances are you have developed a keen eye for identifying scam font sellers on Etsy.

While contacting the suspected fraudulent Etsy seller is possible, they will likely deny any wrongdoing in selling fonts illegally. Additionally, reporting an Etsy shop is also an option available to you.

If you can determine the designer of the original font, the optimal course of action would be to reach out to them directly. Share a link to the Etsy listing and an explanation expressing your concern.

Notifying the original designer of the suspected fraud has several advantages. It allows them the opportunity for the following:

  • Report the listing to Etsy with the required proof of ownership.
  • Monitor the shop for any fraudulent activity.
  • Reach out to design community members to raise awareness about font thefts.
  • Increasing the number of reported listings enhances the likelihood of Etsy closing down the shop.
  • They can potentially determine the source of the fraudulent seller’s fonts and take necessary measures to prevent it.
We hope this guide has empowered you to spot warning signs of pirated fonts on Etsy so that you can enjoy exploring creative fonts rather than worrying about fraud. Taking the time to make informed purchases helps promote greater integrity on the Etsy platform.