I have professional experience at designing typefaces dating back forty years, and I recently designed a new kind of typeface for which I wrote a small user's guide which essentially describes the keystrokes required to type each character. To protect my work from being pirated I tried to get the book & typeface copyright and the copyright office told me I can get the book copyrighted but not the typeface. There HAS to be a way for a typeface designer to protect his work, but I don't know what it is & am trying to find out.
There is no technical way to protect the typeface. So law is the only thing that is protecting you. The font program itself (the OTF file) is protected by copyright but the resulting marks are not according to US law. This differs a bit in say Germany where even the result can be copyright too. Though realistically you can't confine yourself only to some country.
Realistically you can not avoid piracy either, even with legal right. Don't spend time on thinking about that.
Copyright is not a inalienable right. Although it feels so to you. There are entire industries that are in no way or shape eligible to copyright. Physical objects and fashion do not have copyright at all. So imagine coming up with a revolutionary new clothes, nope anybody can copy. So there is no reason something HAS to happen.
(I've always wondered why logically I as a mechanical engineer don't get copyright on a technical drawing while a architect will? And why did I previously have to pay a copyright levy for copying my own drawing that has no copyright. But the answer is a bit banal: Legal constructs don't have to make sense!)
Forgetting about copyright and legal measures, I think people will have the intention to pirate a typeface as a last resort. In fact, I have first hand experience with this. My team and I were working on a web-app, it wasn't in English. We found this typeface that was perfect for our platform. The problem is, since only few quality typefaces existed at the time; the seller decided to set an astronomical price for it. We saw many websites using the typeface (since nothing else was around) and there was no way all of them were paying that rate. It was in the thousands of dollars. We asked around and we found out that it wasn't the "exact" same typeface (even though it was). It was a version that this Indian company had made. Different name, different copyright, different everything. And most importantly 1/1000th of the price (literally). We bought it. 2 months later we received a cease and desist letter from the local company that was responsible for the original typeface. We sent them the license for the pirated version we were using, the receipts for the payments. We even had the Indian company attest the legitimacy of their license. The local firm withdrew their claims. Any corporation/team/individual goes into things with good intentions. The truth of the matter is, I wasn't looking for a cheap typeface, I would have loved to have paid the artist. But I wasn't looking to be taken advantage of either. I think the power is in your own hands to decide over your typeface. As long as people don't feel taken advantage of. They wont feel the necessity to take advantage of your work.
Although this is a controversial answer, it is my impression that many share this experience and these opinions. Both locally and internationally in the app dev/web dev communities.
p.s we did make donations in the end to the creator of the original font directly (bypassing the problematic middleman company).