Copyright issues with embroidery typefaces

By on August 12th, 2013
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If you have been reading this blog for a few months, you probably know that I embroidered a lot of straw hats this summer. For most of the hats that I made, I used a monogram typeface that I digitized based on a truetype typeface that I downloaded from

Because I like to stitch out names in different styles, I download a lot of typefaces. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t. When I download a typeface I normally don’t give a lot of thought about copyright issues because I am using them for personal use.

To make the monograms for the straw hats I made this summer, I simply downloaded and installed the typeface I wanted to use and worked with it in my embroidery software which allows me to create a stitch file based on installed typefaces. Once I made all my hats and got so much positive feedback, I thought it might be a good idea to render out all of the letters as separate stitch files so that anyone could build a monogram for a straw hat the way I had – even if they didn’t have embroidery software.

Big mistake.

After I had my file up on my Etsy store for about a week, I got contacted by the creator of the typeface, who basically ripped me a new one. She was completely justified in her frustration because I had completely disregarded her copyright. By setting up the typeface as an embroidery file and selling it on my store I was no longer using this typeface for personal use; I was profiting off of her creative work.

After she pointed out my mistake, I felt horrible about what I had done and immediately wanted to make a wrong right. I removed the file from my Etsy store, and apologized profusely. I had only sold one copy of the monogram embroidery file on my store, but I offered to pay her royalties on the sale.

She responded that instead of a royalty she would prefer if I made a donation to a local animal shelter. If I did this, she would allow me to sell my embroidery file again. Well, I am still waiting to hear back about what our arrangement will be. Hopefully we will work something out and I will be able to sell the monogram file again, and in turn raise a little bit of money for any animal shelter. Whatever happens, I’ve definitely learned my lesson and will never make the same mistake again.

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