Authors Copying Top WordPress Themes for Cheap. Does Envato care?

Hi Guys,

Copied products is a nuisance that has existed for a while. Every time a copied product was allowed to exist, it only gave more incentive for future cloning. It wasn’t a successful strategy. But ADP has changed this now. Let’s see first what’s copying.

When it’s stealing. Not Inspiration!

I will talk using an example Magazine theme. If you’re an outsider with no experience of Magazine category you will have to look harder to understand what’s copying here. But if you’re a regular author in that category you will see it by just one look. You can see the 2nd most popular mag theme right now in popular page for publishing.

Why is it not inspiration?

It would be fine if few of these things were copied. But if you copy all of these, it’s stealing. Because the theme author used: (it will make sense if you know about magazine themes)

  • Exactly same demo presentation.
  • Extremely similar item page graphics and description of features.
  • Added all the features and showed them the same way.
  • Copied unique block system (ajax pagination, filters) of this theme - and used same design too.
  • Copied sliders (elements) - adding a category label (which is from other themes), doesn’t make it unique.
  • Copied blocks (homepage elements).
  • Coped heading styles and several widget styles.
  • Same navigation on demo. If you found the theme and look under “Features” menu, you will find the same features presented in the same way.
  • Copied unique category feature named “top posts” (which are sliders for category pages)
  • Copied the unique “gallery” on single page - a dark thumbnail gallery - again with same design.
  • Single post style is exactly same and has same features like unique multi-level paddings, dynamic images, “source”/“via” with same design.
  • Used very similar or same images in several areas.
  • The typography is very similar or same.
  • Copied the mega menu drop downs with the same design that show in same way with same animations.

All in all everything that existed on the original theme newspaper is in this theme and presented in the same way.

But everyone copies?

I understand if you’re thinking everyone copies these elements. But let me clarify, copying 50% of features is fine. Even 100% copying features is fine, but at least do a unique design? Or if you want to copy design, at least do different features. At least do different presentation on item page and demos - don’t copy everything!!!

But copying is not easy and he added his own features too?

Yes I thought about it. But think again. If you can see the code of another theme and know how a feature is done, it’s very very easy to re-code it. If original author spent 14 days on design + code of a feature, copying the same way of doing it will take 1 day.

People can copy you outside Themeforest even if Envato protect you

Yes many copies already exist outside Themeforest for many themes. But they don’t have same pool of buyers. Here the authors are fighting for same buyers. Many will start buying copied theme because of low price.

So what’s the problem?

It all started with ADP.

  • You can create social proof now by discounted price. The market has proven it - people like cheap price even if quality is a little low. Only 5-10% customers need support, so quality support doesn’t matter.
  • Need for quality design varies by category. Low quality at cheap price is fine, but it shouldn’t be low quality version of existing design with same unique features and presentation.
  • Future copycat authors will see that a copy did good and they will follow same strategy.
  • All your hard-work will be copied in future. You will not lose quick if you’re a very established theme in top 10 - but imagine if you’re a small theme author that only is in top 40 of popular.
  • The race to bottom is on already with price - soon you will see copy of all popular themes that was priced at half the price. Or they remain on sale forever for months.

What’s the solution

I will leave that for you to discuss. My personal suggestion is that Envato reviewers be careful not to allow more than 70% copies. Every review can know top themes of the category to easily avoid this. Most people copy top themes so it won’t be hard.

Please discuss this authors. It’s for all our future here. Something need to be done before there’s a copy of all top themes at 50% of the price.


Yes. Sometimes I can’t understand review team. They can make hard reject just for some elements which they think have a close view to other sites, but in the same time they approved many themes which have 80% same style

It’s true that the plagiarism is the highest right now and that’s because Envato wants a hands-off approach here. It may be not ideal but that’s how it works now. However, authors have options to protect their work on their own.

Just like anywhere on the internet, the original authors have the option of sending a legal notice / DMCA notice. Envato complies with DMCA notices:

I’ve had this concern for a few of my themes that were copied over the years, but Envato has refused to do anything about it, and I just let it go since the copycats never posed any serious threat to the sales of my original themes. But, there is a pretty blatant copy out right now that actually is doing very well, and I would be very upset if I were the theme author.

Are there any standards Envato uses when judging whether something is a copy or not? Can Envato weigh in on this, please?

1 Like

Sorry this is not correct. If you see DMCA process envato will only take it down for 10-14 days, after that you have to sue the author in their country. See this from here:

Unless we receive a notice from the claimant that they have filed a
court proceeding against you within that time, we will then reinstate
the item within 14 business days from when we received the counter

You think you can sue an author from third world country? will you travel to the author’s country and sue them? Even if you travel, what if there is corruption in legal system of author country?

See it was disabled for few days and the 2 small changes and its back.

Shame on you Envato.

Also it has stolen PHP class from ThemeHybrid with no credits which is a clear GPL violation. I reported it and Envato did nothing. I am sure WordPress community would love to know more about GPL violations in ThemeForest themes.