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Etsy is already overrun with bootleg Helldivers 2 merch

Helldivers 2 is picking up viral success—if you haven’t noticed all the articles we’ve written about its overburdened servers by now—and with that success have come the swarm of predictable and boring bloodsuckers, scammers, profiteers, and hangers-on that you might expect. The most formidable manifestation of this, so far, is the huge swarm of stuff for sale on sites like Etsy using outright-stolen designs from Helldivers 2.

It’s easy to check for yourself: Here’s a link to an Etsy search for Helldivers returning quite literally hundreds of results. Most of it’s just stolen concept art, official artwork, and logos for the game slapped onto generic shirts and mugs to produce the most boring, lowest-common-denominator merch possible.

Confronted with the black market stuff and asked if they’re getting a cut, Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt commented that they are not, and that he would be open to merch-makers approaching Arrowhead for a collaboration: “If you want to sell something related to Helldivers 2, reach out to the studio with a clear proposal and we go from there!”

The big problem is that these Etsy sellers aren’t even trying to cook up a cool, legally distinct new logo or clever catchphrase that fits. That would be the kind of on-the-edge-of-legal fan merch that’s great for the community around a game. It’s perhaps exacerbated by the part where Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead doesn’t have any official merch of their own for sale.

It’s not just official artwork and logos being stolen, either. Fan art is just as common a target here. Dozens upon dozens of entries are fan art and well-made memes stolen from Reddit and other social media posts before getting slapped onto cheap print-on-demand shirts, phone cases, and the like. The most common target are all those neat propaganda posters people have been making to support their favorite front or other in the galactic war.

Not everything there is bad, of course! Some of it’s properly done derivative fan work that’s likely owned by the creator and doesn’t step on anyone’s copyright. The overwhelming majority, however, is just straight-up copying the logos and slapping them on a drop-shipped, printed-on-demand piece of tat. The only work the thief did there was uploading a stolen image file, if that.

Anyway, that’s all very depressing and such, go read about how Helldivers 2 is one of the funniest games in recent memory instead.

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