Search Unity

  1. Unity 6 Preview is now available. To find out what's new, have a look at our Unity 6 Preview blog post.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Unity is excited to announce that we will be collaborating with TheXPlace for a summer game jam from June 13 - June 19. Learn more.
    Dismiss Notice

Asset refunded due to infringing intellectual property

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by marcinginszt, Feb 8, 2024.

  1. marcinginszt

    marcinginszt

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2021
    Posts:
    3
    Hello! Today I received following email:


    Asset Store has disabled the asset(s) listed below, which you have purchased at some point in the past 6 months. We have refunded your purchase(s) as well. The asset(s) in question were reported as infringing on the intellectual property of another party. We are unable to make a determination on whether the content is or is not infringing.


    I assume, I can't use this asset anymore. Is that right?

    That would mean, all my work I put working with the asset was throwaway. Even more, I must spend additional work, tracking all the occurences of the said asset in my product to replace it- or I'm risking infringing intellectual rights too?

    But what if I already released product with it, or used it during promotion of the game?


    What adds insult to the injury is that the Unity doesn't even have enough respect to my work, to at least validate if the asset actually violates IP rights.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2024
    DungDajHjep likes this.
  2. marcinginszt

    marcinginszt

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2021
    Posts:
    3
    Oh, right. Unity
    I found answer to my questions at
    Asset Store Terms of Service and EULA- https://unity.com/legal/as-terms


    2.3
    From time to time, Unity may discover an Asset on the Unity Asset Store that violates the Asset Store Provider Agreement between a Provider and Unity or other legal agreements, laws, regulations or policies. You agree that in such an instance Unity retains the right at its sole discretion to demand that such Asset is removed from any computer or other equipment under your control and you agree to promptly comply with such demand.
     
  3. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    10,276
    That's not how these sorts of things work for any company. The process was likely done via DMCA, which has its own processes in place that don't involve Unity performing verification and mediation.
     
    angrypenguin, mandisaw and CodeSmile like this.
  4. spiney199

    spiney199

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2021
    Posts:
    8,251
    Yeah Unity isn't really in it's place to make a legal determination about whether copyright infringement took place or not.

    Though Unity take the front-foot and issuing a refund seems to be new?
     
    DungDajHjep likes this.
  5. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    10,276
    Nah, they've done that for a while as long as it falls in the 6 month window. You'll even get automatic refunds on assets that get delisted if they get delisted within a certain timeframe.
     
    mandisaw, Ryiah and spiney199 like this.
  6. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    21,555
    Unity would lose the "safe harbor" provision if they were to do that. The "safe harbor" provision basically states that as long as the service provider (a) doesn't know how or why the product is infringing and (b) takes it down immediately upon receiving the takedown notice they are not liable.

    https://law.stackexchange.com/quest...mca-takedown-without-putting-yourself-at-risk
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/safe-harbor-under-digital-millennium-copyright-act-sterling-miller
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2024
    DungDajHjep and angrypenguin like this.
  7. CodeSmile

    CodeSmile

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Posts:
    6,616
    If I were you, I'd try to figure out if there's any indication where or how the asset may be in violation. In some cases it's pretty obvious, like you have a racing asset and the cars really look very much like the actual thing but with the manufacturer logo removed - those would likely be in violation of the "lookmark", the unique design aspects of the object that make it easily recognized by the average person as "that object".

    It gets trickier if this may be an asset obtained from another art site and simply repackaged and upsold. I heard there are search engines that may be able to help you with that.

    But while there is doubt or if doubt remains, I would remove all promo material from the net.
     
    Mark_01, DragonCoder and mandisaw like this.
  8. hopeful

    hopeful

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Posts:
    5,700
    It would be nice to know which vendor is selling assets that have been pulled.

    I think virtually everything that I purchased from Unity that has been pulled - and it's quite a bit - all of it was pulled after 6 months, and those vendors disappeared from the store, along with all of their products.
     
    fertel likes this.
  9. mandisaw

    mandisaw

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    Posts:
    89
    The letters Unity sends usually specify which vendor/assets, but the item remains in your My Assets listing. You can try searching by vendor, or look for anything that Unity's tagged as "Deprecated" [usually in red].

    Unfortunately, in an international storefront like this, we're going to see some fraud/loss issues. Sometimes it's subtle or fixable - like if a VFX used a texture that belonged to someone else (or another Store asset!), then you could potentially just use a substitute. You're risking though that the other parts might have been sourced illegally too, just in a way that wasn't caught

    There's always a certain amount of trust required between asset-buyer & asset-seller, so it's ultimately up to everyone to make that legal & financial risk-assessment for themselves.
     
    DragonCoder and Ryiah like this.
  10. hopeful

    hopeful

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Posts:
    5,700
    I've never received a note from Unity about a pulled product. If Unity sees that you still have the pulled asset on your system, they mark it as "deprecated," as Unity doesn't delete files from your computer. However, if you didn't have it downloaded, it gets marked as "disabled," and that is not something you see until you try to download it. So you could have purchased things from a vendor that's been in the store for years, not know that there have been issues occurring with the vendor, buy more, and then one day those assets are all disabled and the vendor gone from the store. No notification until you go to download and use the asset.

    My preference would be to not buy more from vendors who have already been forced to pull an asset.
     
  11. DragonCoder

    DragonCoder

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Posts:
    1,745
    Umfortunate but certainly true. We shouldn't forget how much more expensive even getting custom things on Fiverr and Co. is (and the risk of an artist there reusing work isn't 0 either), not to mention established profesionals or an employee.

    Think that's not quite right.
    The "deprecated" tag can be requested by the publisher themselves (more common in code assets where the dev replaces the asset to promote a major new version, or doesn't wanna support anymore). Unity also applies this tag sometimes in case of publishers breaking the ToS.
    Deprecated assets still can be downloaded by buyers. Hence why very occasionally some asshole devs publish a near-empty update first attempting to force people to their newer version (updates are hardly verofied by Unity).
    New people just cannot buy them anymore.

    On the other hand, deleted assets are marked as removed or something like that. It would be literally ilegal for Unity to keep offering the download to anyone (unless they'd contest the claim but that's entirely not worth the lawyer costs).

    If you use a third party asset manager like "Asset Inventory" it will show you the different states. And also show that deleted assets are not automatically removed from your local cache either (not sure r.n. if Unity itself prevents you from importing them, but you can manually go into the cache and grab the file).
     
  12. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Posts:
    9,061
    No, do not do any of this. Delete the asset from your project and move on. Consider yourself fortunate that you were in the refund window. (could have been much worse... like in a game you have already shipped)

    You simply don't have the resources and time to do a comprehensive search that will guarantee that you won't receive a take down notice yourself. (besides if you that time and resources, you could just create/contract your own assets) Best case scenario you will determine that it is infringing. But really cannot prove it is not, there is simply too much stuff out there. Any effort down this route is just a waste of time and money/effort.

    Take it as a learning experience and consider other alternate approaches to get assets.
     
  13. bugfinders

    bugfinders

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2018
    Posts:
    2,061
    On a similar note, given unity will happily mail you for every update, I do feel its a shame they dont do the same for deprecated items, so you know its gone out of life, or removed entirely. Just so you know and next time you go to add it you discover it died 6 months back and you could have had more warning to find an alternative or whatever. It would be good to know its not being updated any more.
     
    Ruslank100, AcidArrow and Ryiah like this.
  14. marcinginszt

    marcinginszt

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2021
    Posts:
    3
    I'm sorry to necro this topic. I wanted to give late update on that.
    I found out, that the same asset already exists on AssetStore with a different name.
    If this infromation would be provided in the email I've got, it would save me a lot of stress and effort
     
    Ruslank100 likes this.
  15. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    21,555
    You're assuming that version of the asset is legitimate. I wouldn't be quick to do that because neither you nor Unity have any way of knowing if it is, and if you purchase a copy of it and it's not legitimate but you get a game released with it before it's noticed you might pay the price for it in a much larger way than having to remove it.

    If you've reached out to the original author and verified it that's a different story.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2024
  16. Plato144

    Plato144

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Posts:
    9
    Don't use third parry assets or the asset store
     
  17. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    21,555
    You're just choosing the other extreme and that's just as bad in my opinion. Be careful purchasing assets but don't just write off assets because you're afraid of getting burned once or twice. You're throwing away too many useful resources if you do that.
     
  18. bugfinders

    bugfinders

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2018
    Posts:
    2,061
    In a perfect world, sure. If i could draw worth a damn, sure, but not only do 3yr olds doing finger painting look like Cistine chapel compared to anything i make, my modelling skills are even less.. I am the antimatter of modelling.. so, i have no choice but to buy them, so i could pay out my pocket an individual/team and pay a lot, or use cheaper ones shared with other people on the store.. As i make all my stuff for free.. its not a surprise then that my models/textures come from the asset store. Now, i am a hair better than drawing at making some animations, but not much, so, if theres a good price pack.. I'd buy that cos its damn sight more efficient than me doing it.

    Now, if you're a AAA studio, you likely do have sound, animaiton, model, whatever guys you can get to do to your just so requirements.. for sad acts of 1 working in their spare time as a hobby.. No.
     
    mandisaw likes this.
  19. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    21,555
    What's funny is how many people think they're not doing it too when they're absolutely doing it. In fact they're often the first to do it and we pick up the tactic from people who worked for them and left to form their own studios.

    Here are a couple examples dug up off of the web but you can find a ton more if you really dig for them.


    https://quixel.com/blog/2021/9/16/megascans-infests-resident-evil-village
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2024
    mandisaw and bugfinders like this.