Fonts are software as well as designs and require licensing for commercial use – something a lot of designers forget and, to be honest, even though I know it, it’s not something I’ve ever knowingly considered. The issue of font licensing isn’t exactly transparent. I’ve got a Typekit account courtesy of Adobe Creative Cloud – but have I ever looked at what this allows me to do with the fonts I download? Erm… no. Think of fonts like stock images – it’s okay to use them for comps and maybe non-profit work but the moment they’re being used commercially, you need to look at the license.
As Fastcodesign say in their article on this story
Generally speaking, there are no conspiracies involved in how respectable companies end up misusing fonts. Oftentimes, the issue is as simple as a lapse in due diligence when a designer uses a font for professional work that he or she only has license to use individually.
Hasbro are a big company, and an obvious target for this type of action – and it is legitimate given the amount of time and skill it takes to create a font (particularly a decent one). Where does responsibility lie? Is it with the designer? Or the client? Or shared? If you’re a designer (or, indeed, employ designers) it’s probably worth your while investigating this and keeping a note of which fonts you’re allowed to use on commercial jobs, and which you need a license for.
There is a completely separate issue here – the crime against typography that is the My Little Pony brand. Let’s leave that to the Design Police.