Search News: 

Piracy Update
April 17, 2008

I want to thank all those who have supported us in our efforts to curb piracy. Your messages serve as encouragement to us. Especially since piracy has just the opposite effect. Piracy is discouraging. It hinders creativity and prevents talented artists from making new fonts. The following email illustrates this point quite well:

 "Chuck, As a user of, I came across your unfortunate situation with LHF Garner, and the ensuing debate over your actions. I am a young designer, who has just started taking an interest into designing type. I have considered to focus on it as a career, but am very hesitant due to the ignorance and apathy I have seen regarding font theft. It is very disconcerting, and it is my personal opinion that when type is treated with no respect for the time it takes the designer, or his/her aesthetic capabilities, that it dumbs down the industry as a whole. I'm sure you know you have other supporters, and although I have not purchased any of your typefaces yet, I would like you to know that I wholeheartedly support your actions. Best of luck in all of Letterhead's endeavors."

Today's font designer's have an obligation to protect their work. Not merely for selfish reasons, but to pave the way for future font designers. Up and coming font designers need the freedom to be able to create new fonts without fear that their work will be stolen. As font designers, we must begin now to lay a foundation that others can build on. Ignoring piracy devalues our work and makes it that much harder for the next generation. Indeed, I can see a day when creativity has been stifled so severely that the only fonts being created are simply knock-offs of other fonts. After all, who wants to spend months creating an original typeface only to have it pirated the first week it's released?

Exposing piracy and educating the public concerning the damage it is causing to font designers, is no easy task. But it's high time to peel back the bandage that has been hiding this gross, festering sore called piracy. It is time for the public to understand the consequences of sharing fonts and take responsibility for their actions. The majority of piracy cases are the result of ignorance. And while the effects are no less damaging than malicious sharing, at least there is hope. The public can be educated and this ignorance overcome. But the burden of educating the public lies with us-- the font designer.

Fortunately, it appears that bringing all this to light has done just that. Letterhead Fonts has seen cases of font piracy drop dramatically this year. I attribute this to several things, but these three in particular have been effective in decreasing font piracy:

(1) Explaining the piracy issues to the general public. In the past, I and other font designers have been reluctant to discuss piracy openly. Maybe because we wanted to wish it away or maybe because we feared that it would bring a backlash and instead instigate more piracy. But many people have told me that they had no idea of the magnitude of the piracy we were dealing with. So obviously frank, open discussion of piracy is necessary.

 (2) Our account embedding system. Embedding the customer's information into the font file has proven to be successful. We have found people are less likely to share the fonts now. It causes them to think twice since they will be held responsible should those fonts be released to the general public.

 (3) Organizations such as The Font Designer's Rights Coalition working to remove cases of piracy and educate the public.

Finally, I'll leave you with this... Font piracy hurts everyone in the end. The font designer suffers because he does not receive compensation for his time and skill. The customer suffers because prices of existing fonts go up. Even the pirater himself suffers. Because without motivation to make new fonts, there will be nothing left for him to share. This should make anyone think twice before downloading a stolen font. If you appreciate the font, then you must also appreciate the skill and time that went into making it. Why wouldn't you therefore purchase the font and encourage that designer to make more for you? These people are artists just like you. They need your support.

Again, thanks to our customers for their understanding and support. We appreciate your business. We will never forget that without you, Letterhead Fonts would cease to exist. And, God willing, Letterhead Fonts will continue to provide you with original, quality fonts and good service well into the future.