A growing problem in the Shopify world is Shopify theme piracy — but what exactly is it, why is it bad for the entire Shopify ecosystem and how can you be sure you’re not inadvertently part of the problem?
The first point to understand about Shopify theme piracy is what it is.
In short, Shopify theme piracy is a rather broad term that refers to using a paid or premium Shopify theme, or part of one, without paying the proper license fee directly to the theme developer. The key point here is that premium themes are licensed to use for a single store only.
On a more nuanced level, this can include any of the following:
Well, first of all, in most cases using a theme you haven’t properly licensed is illegal. Most countries have laws in place to cover Shopify themes under copyright law — and those laws typically apply even if you’re based in another country.
Every year, Shopify theme developers spend thousands of combined hours designing, coding, testing, troubleshooting, supporting and updating their themes. And, as you would expect, the people who do all of that don’t work for free.
So, in the end, it can take thousands of work hours to develop a single theme — and many theme developers choose a business model that involves charging a one time fee to use the theme.
Keep in mind that developers who create paid Shopify themes are a business just like yours — they have bills to pay and other costs of doing business. They are merchants in their own right whose livelihood depends on their product sales, which in their case are digital goods.
Reusing a theme without properly paying for it is also detrimental to the entire Shopify ecosystem as well.
By not paying the proper fee for your theme, you’re reducing the amount of resources that Shopify theme developers have to improve and update themes, but also to create valuable content such as documentation, provide support and be active members of the Shopify developer community.
Besides being just plain old bad karma, you’re also setting a bad precedent for yourself as a business person and entrepreneur. Using an illegally-obtained premium theme as the foundation of your online shop is not unlike building a brick and mortar shop on stolen property.
Every business has expenses and often relies on other businesses to operate, so paying for a theme license is a legitimate (and necessary) part of launching an online store.
The best, and most straightforward way, to ensure you’re paying the proper licensing fees for your theme is to buy it directly from the Shopify theme store or the developer’s official website.
Outside of this, keep these points in mind:
For someone new to Shopify and ecommerce, it can seem quite expensive to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 or more for a Shopify theme. However, this cost is actually quite low when you consider a variety of points:
Want to be a super awesome Shopify store owner and verify that your theme license is valid? Here are some tips:
We’re delighted to announce that Archetype Themes merchants now benefit from Theme Updater’s unique features. Merchants using Impulse, Expanse, Motion, or Streamline themes now benefit from the basic advantages of the Free plan or the premium features of the Pro plan.