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Rampant Asset Piracy and no Security, Where is the incentive?

Discussion in 'Assets and Asset Store' started by benthecgguy, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    Where is the incentive to Develop Assets? After careful consideration and looking in to the general Unity Asset market it seems there is no point in developing ANY assets in it's current form.

    First, Unity does not provide any method of license authentication / security for any assets being sold, yes I do realize you can implement this your self however it is useless due to the Nature of the product. These are Not standalone games/app , they are Plugins/models, meant to be used During development and Runtime. There Must be a deep connection/link to a users unity license!!

    Second, It takes a long time and great effort to create assets and Most assets get PIRATED even before they are released! They are all over the place. People are even doing ' Group Buys ' to buy an asset and Share it with everyone once purchased! This is absolutely ridiculous and leaves zero incentive to develop for unity.

    Third, on top of all this Unity takes out 30% and licenses every asset company wide, to be used on as many seats, no individual per-seat license is possible, WTF! Why don't they sell Unity like that then?

    Fourth, Why doesn't Unity provide ANY actual sales figures? It's not good enough to just say 10% of the developers made so much... so the rest 90% are wasting their time.

    Unity does not CARE about peoples assets are being Pirated, the more assets there are it is better for them to sell unity, and in the mean while all the developers are under the illusion that they will make a living out of this, what a joke.

    Please don't tell me just ' Release it' people who will buy it will buy it anyway, is just stupid to say the least. It is certainly not good to have a cumbersome authentication system which penalise the paying user, however it is also stupid not to have ANY. This also, de-values the asset being sold which again leads to piracy.

    Assets/ plugins should be locked to that Unity license during project development and perhaps something else when they publish their projects. I don't have the answer as how best to implement this however would like to hear from UNITY them selves what they are willing to do about it.

    As it stands, It is a major waste of time doing ANY thing for unity.
     
  2. chingwa

    chingwa

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    You just have to balance the risk and reward. This goes pretty much for all software, not just Unity Asset Store products.
     
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  3. JohnnyA

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    Assets cannot be protected in a way which does not significantly limit their ability to be reused and some assets cannot be protected at all. How do you protect a script that the user needs the source for? How do you protect a texture that needs to be rendered to the screen (and therefore can be screen captured)?

    You would have to make asset store items second class citizens (scripts without source, models that you cannot programmatically access the model data for, etc). I would expect this would impact sales significantly more than piracy.

    If you make assets the market wants they will sell. They will almost certainly sell better on the Asset Store than any other channel you have available.
     
  4. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    I think you need to read my post again as the Whole point of it is about balancing risk vs reward, and not being able to do this effectively is the whole issue, as it stands it is 100% risk 0% reward. Even the assets you are working on, your water system are now on Piracy websites before it is released.
     
  5. SomeDude

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    As you mentioned, Unity gets 30% of the asset sales, and you don't you think they care if they're pirated? It's in their financial interest to avoid asset piracy too and I'm sure if there was some acceptable solution that didn't cause problems for buyers and wouldn't be quickly circumvented anyways then they would do it.

    And do you think all the most popular top-selling assets are never pirated? Those are probably the first ones to be pirated and shared most. Yet as they are the top-selling assets there are obviously a significant amount of people who do buy them. And buying them does provide benefits such as convenient access to the latest versions instead of having to search and hope someone will share it. I think many serious developers who can afford it do buy them.

    I understand your frustration but I believe complaining about piracy in a public forum of potential buyers is just advertising piracy and possibly making it worse.

    If you're so concerned then make assets that you could use yourself in projects, and/or that you enjoy making, and that way even if they don't sell well it would have been worth it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  6. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    Like I said, 100% risk 0% reward , at the moment it is all or nothing, there is NO other option for the developer. If you have an asset where you like to provide the scripts / shaders etc. so be it, fine, you might as well just give them away for free and ask for donations.

    What if we do NOT wan't to provide source code, why is this a must, where does this mentality come from? Partly due to the fact that developers are forced to sell their products at ridiculous prices due to piracy and be forced to follow the crowd.
     
  7. JohnnyA

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    It's not a must, you can use a DLL if you prefer. Most users want source code because if they build a a game relying on your asset and you offer poor support or just disappear then they may be left in a difficult situation ... particularly if your asset is a core part of their game.

    I've made over 25k from the asset store in 6 months, not bad for a hobby that I fit in between my full time job, family life, contract work, and personal game development. I consider that more than "0% reward".

    And where exactly is the risk? You spend time and don't get paid back for it ... well you made the wrong asset ... you should have made something that the market wants. This is the same with any product development and is almost an identical parallel to delivering a game to an app store.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  8. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    Not good enough, a DLL can again simply be copied. 25k in six months? prove it.. Like I said, there is no other option.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  9. JohnnyA

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    You said you must include source, I said you don't have to. But really you are making my point. There is no good mechanism to prevent piracy that would work in any reasonable way for assets that need to be manipulated by the user.
     
  10. Eric5h5

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    You could say that about all software, ever, if you're going to take the attitude of deciding to fail before you've even tried (apparently).

    There can't be; it's not technically possible. You should know that.

    Editor extensions are per-seat.

    For the same reason that no store ever does, because it's not their place. If individual developers want to say, that's up to them.

    Of course you don't, because there isn't a way.

    Yes they do, they have a legal team and spend a fair amount of time (and presumably money) on taking down pirate sites.

    It comes from lots of people who won't purchase without it, because of various legitimate reasons which have been discussed before. Although you can decompile DLLs anyway without much effort.

    No it isn't. You act like you're the first person in the world to notice that piracy exists and are running around in hysterics without bothering to actually think about it.

    --Eric
     
  11. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    This was an expected response, assuming everything is OK and no effort to even change and look at possible options.

    Yes unity has incentive of 30% however their majority asset store income Only comes from the top 1-5% of top selling assets.. the others are left in the dust.
     
  12. imaginaryhuman

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    The ability for one bit of data to move from one place in the computer to another, the very essentially functioning of a binary computer, is the very foundation for enabling piracy. This is not going to be changed any time soon. There is nothing new here.

    I do kinda think the idea of tying the assets to the unity license could be good, but once you open up the asset you're exposing the files and they're free to be copied. Welcome to the world.

    This just in ... some people actually do buy things with money still.
     
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  13. Eric5h5

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    You can't stop piracy; not sure why you seem to think you can. You're generally better off not treating your customers like criminals. Hardcore DRM schemes (which aren't possible with assets that you use in a game engine anyway) succeed only in inconveniencing legitimate customers and don't really affect pirates. The argument for using it at all hinges on front-loaded game sales which happen in the first week, the reasoning being that slowing down pirates even a bit makes it worthwhile because so much of the total income happens during that time, but that's not a situation that exists with the Unity asset store. Quite the opposite actually; sales go up over time.

    And you know this how? It's hard to take that seriously when so much of what you've written has been "facts" that you just blatantly made up.

    --Eric
     
  14. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    I have been in the software business for more then 30 years and do understand the implications of piracy very well. Of course you are correct, my point is to perhaps mitigate the problem a little. There things Unity can do to help this matter if they wish to do so.
     
  15. benthecgguy

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    Please read my post, I did mention exactly what you say, it is crazy to penalize the user with Hardcore DRM or other methods, I do beleive however there could be a technical way to somehow incorporate asset licensing with the unity license.

    In relation to my 'fact' being made up, well it's just very simple deduction, it's not rocket science:)
     
  16. JohnnyA

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    In order to use most assets in a game engine you need the data about those assets to be exposed explicitly to the user (for example if I want to render or collide with a mesh I need to know the points of the mesh). As soon as you put this kind of information behind some kind of protection scheme it seriously hinders the use of the asset.

    This doesn't mean there is no possible way to protect these assets, but such schemes tend to be difficult (i.e. expensive) to develop and tend to affect legitimate users more than the pirates. Typically it becomes an arms race with each scheme being beaten usually in a matter of days.

    That alone is a fine point to raise, sounds like an interesting discussion, but to then draw the conclusion you do (100% risk, 0% reward) seems quite silly.
     
  17. Eric5h5

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    There really is no possible way. Textures need to be loaded into Photoshop, models need to be loaded into a 3D app, scripts are just text files. As you said, they need to be exposed explicitly to the user.

    Yep, just wave the magic wand, that's all it takes!

    Considering many of your claims were demonstrably wrong, might want to work on that...maybe not as simple as you think....

    --Eric
     
  18. benthecgguy

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    No it will take a lot of hard work and perhaps a major overhaul to protect Unity Asset developers

    How did you demonstrate that it was wrong, have you published sales figures/ unity earnings somewhere I am not aware of?

    Why so much hostility when in a nutshell I am only suggesting for Unity to maybe look into a method of asset protection for those developers who wish to us it.

    You know what you should be saying? ' Yes I agree this is a valid Point, we will do our best to look in to this as soon as possible and thank you for your suggestions. We do have over 100K users of Unity and part of it the reason for this the great and amazing assets found on the unity store '

    Yes I agree
     
  19. jerotas

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    Gotta agree, the magic wand comment was really not called for.
     
  20. SomeDude

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    Benthecgguy, even if there was a way to provide protection for your asset then it probably wouldn't sell very well anyways. And there really is no way to do it for assets. Even if there was it would likely be circumvented in a few days. Do you expect Unity to devise a new protection method every few days? It's simply not possible man. If there was a nice solution then obviously Unity and everyone else would agree with you.

    You act as if Unity and nobody else cares about piracy. Of course they do, but everything digital gets pirated. If there was a way to stop it then whoever discovered that solution would be ridiculously wealthy just for selling that solution. All we can do is try to get them taken down from sites. And there are many reasons why people still do honestly buy software, games and assets so it's not as grim as you think.

    You're acting hysterical and immature coming on here saying you're clueless to what Unity could do about it but you KNOW they could do something about it but they just don't CARE. You see any problems with that?
     
  21. SomeDude

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    Nah it was called for. :)
     
  22. JohnnyA

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    Its not quite as black and white as that. Here's a quick scheme for being able to validate a model:

    1. Before the model is sent to the consumer you make minute adjustments to the vertex data (for example the smallest possible change in the float representing the value on those verts that don't correspond to key positions (i.e. don't adjust 0,0,0)). For each user you make a different set of adjustments. This becomes the users key.

    2. When Unity loads the asset it sends the model data along with the users login. If the model is close to an asset store model but the model variations don't match the users key it is flagged as pirated. Unity shuts down, etc.

    (Of course sending all the verts for every model is pretty crazy but you could make it more manageable by only sending certain verts, or only doing it the first time a model hits the project)

    Not saying you can't work around that (of course you can, e.g.just hack the Unity client), but the work arounds are a likely a lot more invasive than just importing a pirated asset. Not saying its efficient, or cost effective, or has any chance of being implemented but to say there is no possible way is not correct.

    - - - -

    EDIT: Updated sample image protection... I like the following one better:

    Collect a fingerprint of each texture imported in to a Unity project (something like those used in an image search algorithm). Check the fingerprint against asset store products. If many textures in the project have the same or similar fingerprint metrics to an asset store product the user is probably using that product. Check if they have purchased said product. If not flag it as suspicious.


    Here's what I mentioned before the edit:

    Similarly image files can be fingerprinted and watermarked. And you can create pretty reasonable hashes for images. Of course false positives are a danger but you could add some heuristics to help with that (for example if one texture hash doesn't match the image key you don't do anything, but if ten textures match the hash for images in an asset store product, and all 10 of them have invalid keys, then maybe something fishy is going on and we had better check that this user has purchased the matching asset).
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  23. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    OK, I give up, I guess it's absolutely impossible, what do I know. The moderator and the others must be part of the Unity core development team and know everything, my bad.

    Let the pirates pillage and plunder:)
     
  24. benthecgguy

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    Yes, This is what I am talking about, at least a suggestion! Thank mate.
     
  25. JohnnyA

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    I still think the cost of implementing anything along those lines is prohibitive, its effectively R&D and also means entering the aforementioned arms race. Not to mention the frustrations for legitimate users (I tried to change the colours on my image and now Unity thinks I'm a pirate). I wouldn't think there's any chance Unity would do anything along these lines, nor would I expect them to.

    But yes it is a suggestion :)
     
  26. Eric5h5

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    I know my own sales figures. Many of your other comments were factually wrong ("no per-seat license", "Unity doesn't care about piracy", etc.).

    Why would I say that when I don't think you have a valid point? Also, why would I speak of "we" when I don't represent anyone but myself? I have some concerns about certain asset store decisions, which aren't related to piracy; I would rather focus on actual problems rather than chasing ghosts. The "hostility" is just my reaction to rampant hysteria. If you took a more rational approach rather than declaring the asset store hopeless (obviously untrue), I wouldn't have to correct so many false statements.

    I've spent time thinking of stuff like that before just for the sake of it, but none of it can work because you need to be able to load and save stuff in other apps (Photoshop, Blender, etc.) which immediately undoes all schemes no matter how intricate. :) In order for anything to have a chance of working, you have to alter the basic premise of what the asset store is offering. I think you'd have a hard time selling stuff if you made it all self-contained and untouchable. (And even then it would still get cracked, of course.)

    --Eric
     
  27. JohnnyA

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    @Eric Restricting models from being editable I think is probably workable as an option (tick piracy protection when you submit asset, you might lose some sales because of the restriction or you might gain some due to no privacy). Or maybe if only applies to textures using a visual similarity algorithm; not many assets come with models but no textures. You don't have to make piracy impossible, just more of a hassle than buying.

    But in the end I know what you are saying, and I think we agree in essence, I'm just hesitant to say something like 'not possible'. If some R&D company come up with a vaguely useful solution to this kind of problem my belief system wouldn't be shattered, I wouldn't be shocked speechless, not even sure I'd be that surprised... I'd just think they were very clever folks :)

    EDIT: To be clear I would be surprised... maybe even shocked if Unity implemented such a system :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  28. benthecgguy

    benthecgguy

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    Models, textures, audio files require the least amount of protection and in almost all cases no one with half a brain is going to publish something with pirated Models/textures etc as they are often easy spot and identify.

    My main issue is with Code , scripts/ dll's , custom plugins either getting pirated and used or being plagiarized.

    I will be shocked if they at least did not give the time of day to this issues
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  29. felix_of_mars

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    To be fair if this was another engine and had no store you would be freelancing, there are a lot of hidden issues with that. Each customer would expect you treat them as an individual so you could only sell an asset once. Also Freelancers are often ripped off. I am not sure you can really argue it's Unitys fault you would be expected to produce unencrypted code and assets.
     
  30. derkoi

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    Why should he prove anything to you? It's your gamble. If you don't like the way it is, don't release your assets. You're just coming across as arrogant and that will put people off buying your assets anyway.
     
  31. mokko6

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    I've done work with somebody who sells 3rd party assets for different systems.
    Piracy is inevitable, but he's managed very well.

    He does the following...

    1. Is polite, timely, and courteous to his customers (within reason) to prevent potentially vindictive customers from feeling cheated and taking revenge.
    2. Has a relatively simple activation system (for code assets/plugins) to deter most would-be hackers
    3. Continues to add features and fix issues. He also takes suggestions for improvements.
    4. Provides source code package (that costs more, but within reason) if the particular asset continues with or introduces serious bugs.
    5. Provides tiered support for modest fee.
    6. Spends more time actually improving his assets and supporting paying customers instead of hunting down pirate sites.

    If people think they're going to stick a whole bunch of assets on a store, not support them, and not have to worry about their customers (good or bad) then they're seriously mistaken.
     
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  32. Manaburn

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    Considering every single industry that has pulled the "oh noes, teh piracy is killing us" has been proven liars (music, movies, games all massively successful despite alleged epidemic piracy). I find it unlike the unity add-on industry would have a legitimate problem with it.

    There are in fact legal remedies available to you if it bothers you that much. If someone pirated your asset and earns a load of cash from their game, just sue them and walk away orders of magnitudes better off than if they'd just purchased it. And for those that pirate it and never earn a dime from their product? Who cares, the number of those that would have purchased it aren't enough to lose sleep over.

    While it's true we don't have hard and fast figures (which is kind of a shame), I find it very unlikely authors of high quality non-niche products aren't doing rather well on the asset store (the few figures authors occasionally share have been rather healthy). I consider myself somewhat of a prolific purchaser of assets (might even make a game one day) and I'd never even consider "pirating" an asset - and while it's a finger in the wind estimate, I'd bet I'm in the majority.
     
  33. UnleadedGames

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    + 1

    The day asset developers start punishing me for piracy is the day I say good by to the asset store forever. If I can't edit a model or code to fit my project then why would I EVER buy it? :confused:

    To the OP, simple solution to your problem. Don't develop for Unity. With your attitude here I would NEVER buy anything from you anyway. ;)
     
  34. vincentellis

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    This is ridiculous. What if the customers want to modify the models? Most people that buy stuff on the asset store won't use the model as-is. They will modify the UVs, the animations and specially the vertex data. Trying to put DRM on content that should be open to modification is ridiculous, people would just stop buying.

    When i buy a model, i expect the Max, Maya or Blender source files included. When i buy a texture, i expect the Photoshop or GIMP source file as well. You're selling content to game developers, not binaries. You're selling pieces of something much bigger.

    The key against piracy, as mentioned earlier is:

    • Be different: offer samples, demos and as much information as possible on your products
    • Be patient, honest and care about your customers. Nothing creates a better relationship than a respectful seller.
    • Care about the needs of your customers! If you have many customers with mobile projects, add atlased textures and many LODs! Or optimize your code!
    • This is something that Unity could help: offering trials or a moneyback-guarantee for licensees-only. If you have a Unity license, you have the right to a moneyback guarantee on non-code assets (models, music, textures, etc.) and a trial for code assets.

    Unity could also make sure that previews are better. I hate buying a model to discover terrible polycounts or simply wasted polygons. Or non-atlased textures on something that was advertised as mobile. I also hate buying projects with code that was apparently written by a 12-old.

    And, as someone said earlier:
    This is KEY!
     
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  35. caitlyn

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    Don't forget, you're not just buying "access" to an asset to play around.. you are buying a legal license granting you permission to *use* it legally in your game.

    If you download and use assets illegally which you did not purchase, you are violating the same legal terms as a corporate entity using pirated software. You can be sued by the creator of the asset, potentially by Unity Technologies, and even by customers who purchase your products using illegal assets.
     
  36. SmellyDogs

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    These kinds of posts always make me smile as I can never get my head around the following:

    a) I wonder, since any game that used a pirated asset could not be sold anyways (practically speaking, e.g. via Steam), whether asset piracy really matters? If a game studio did publish a game with pirated assets and they got found out it would pretty much be game over.

    b) Isn't it self flattery to think that many people would even want to pirate your asset? Do you really believe you have an idea and skills to back it up that's so good that it would be a top seller?

    c) I don't think selling assets on the asset store is a particularly lucrative business. Considering the time put in and support you have to offer, its probably a smaller work to profit ratio than an ordinary job. Its probably more rewarding to make and release something for free.

    Well, that's how I see it.
     
  37. Paulo-Matias

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    This a classic issue among software developers in general no mather is assets, or games or other software, each one of us has concerns about protect our hard work but the hard truth is that piracy is part of our lives, canot be eliminated, no mather what protection we make, everything can be cracked and distribiuted freely, what i sugest is to create quality assets and give plenty of suport to customers, if that happends folowers will buy, is the only way, if customers are pleased they will respect the product.
     
  38. sicga123

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    2 reports that may be a bit enlightening - could it be the vast majority of game developers are not ripping off content producers, are not doing an Edward Teach at every opportunity? I know, not specific to games, so please don't point out the obvious.

    http://www.techradar.com/news/inter...alers-are-by-far-the-biggest-spenders-1150635

    http://www.futureofcopyright.com/ho...ulator-releases-figures-on-online-piracy.html

    Ofcom, the communications regulator of the UK, has released the fourth wave of its online copyright infringement tracker, a study on piracy in the UK. The report shows that the number of music-downloads from unauthorised sources dropped by a third over the past year.

    The results of the report are based on a consumer-tracking study by Kantar Media. The study focuses on six main types of content; music, film, TV-programmes, books, video games and computer software. The report shows that 17% of British Internet users over the age of twelve consumed at least one piece of media content illegally between March and May of this year, and 9% of the British population downloaded music from unauthorised sources in the same period. However, a small group of only 2% of the music pirates in Britain were responsible for nearly three quarters of all online copyright infringement.

     
  39. Ocid

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    Better get out of game dev then. If you make anything worth playing people are going to pirate it.
     
  40. JohnnyA

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    To all the people throwing my arms up at my suggestion, I thought it was pretty clear that I wasn't suggesting it was practical, just addressing the comment that there was 'no possible way'. I also provided an option which allowed editing (similarity measures which certainly work for images and I expect could work for models too). But again... it was a thought experiment not a suggestion that Unity attempt to build something like this.
     
  41. goat

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    Indeed, I'd like to see 'reverse piracy' in the form of better sorting, categorization of assets, and maturity rating (sexual porn isn't the only thing on this planet that needs maturity ratings and filters).

    Piracy is for cool wannabes and OCD types and that precludes doing anything useful with the pirated assets. Would be thieves think they save and make money stealing assets but in actually fact it's the real pirate via advertising that is offering the stolen assets making money, the secondary thieves go away worse then penniless, they've wasted a lot of time and their own money just to get to the point where they know where to go to steal assets. Don't mistake the pirate from the secondary thieves calling themselves pirates. Even Sony and PS4 are removing these complicated anti-piracy measures from their console boxes as they've come to realize while piracy may be rampant it's well over 90% an industry that exists solely to serve up advertising and OS system utilities to would be thieves and most pirated goods do nothing but take up hard drive space and serve as potential vectors for Trojans and viruses.
     
  42. SOULSSAGA

    SOULSSAGA

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    Hi There ! Let-me please Rant and Rave That :

    IF YOUR BUSINESS GOT NO BETTER SOLUTIONS

    CROWDFUNDING MIGHT BE THE ONLY BETTER SOLUTION FOR YOU ...
    YoU Do Whatever you want ! Just Release it if and when the canpaing is sucessefull !
    And you can Even release it for free after !

    Lol ...

    There are Alot Empty Theories And alot Complains, wich no one can Do Nothing About.

    But after thinking and rethinking for more than 10 years on this subject finally a year ago i reached to the only Viable Solution For Our Studio Assets Sales.

    As Most Simple Solution for this Dilema !
    - OUR STUDIO WILL SELL ALL OUR ASSETS PRODUCTS THRU CROWD FUNDING !

    And Hows that ? Well You got www.kicstarter.com or www.IndieGogo.com !
    IndieGogo got even Flexible funding canpaings ...

    And you can do many for every product and upgrades !

    ITS EASY ! GOGO INDIES GOGO !
    FIGHT WITH CREATIVITY FOR THE WORLD !

    Ps: Unity Technologies could also do their own Crowd Funding Platform : And that with be radical ...

    Best Of Luck Everyone




    SOULS
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  43. mokko6

    mokko6

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Posts:
    88

    What if an asset has code that infringes on GPL'd and other non-permissive open source licenses, or omits the BSD clause of the source code they've used wholesale without attribution?

    What if assets are made with stolen/pirated software and hardware?

    Also, The Asset Store policies are screwing developers who pay for horribly written/created/illegitimate products that the asset makers suddenly pull from the store rather than facing any criticism or taking the time and effort to improve it.
     
    Teila likes this.
  44. redmotion_games

    redmotion_games

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Posts:
    57
    The best way to combat piracy is to remove the searches that lead to your illegally shared work.

    You can do this by contacting the big search engines and asking them to remove the pages from results of searches.

    For Google, I do the following (this is something I did a while ago, so the sites organisation may have changed since I wrote this down):-

    If you go to Webmaster Tools in Google (log into your google account and search for "webmaster tools")

    Enter "removal" into the help box (bottom left corner) and click "remove a page from googles search results" or "Remove content from another site from Google’s search results" then follow the links - probably the "Remove content for legal reasons" link. (Maybe use Chrome - Firefox was giving me issues with the help links)

    After a few pages of questions it should bring you to a form where you can copy-paste the URLs of all pages that come up on Google Search that offer direct or indirect links to free downloads of your paid assets, apps,APKs etc, and...

    REQUEST THEM TO BE REMOVED (from the search results - obviously the sites still remain, it's just noone will find them as easily.)

    It's not going to get rid of all of them but spend a few hours searching and you could have a decent list of URLs to ask Google to remove.

    You just need to prove you are the copyright holder by providing links to your genuine store pages/website/etc.

    I've requested some removals and have had success with this - yes new sources and links will pop up again but you just repeat the process for the new sites.

    You could also contact each sites webmaster directly, I found advice here about how to get the webmaster contact details:
    http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&answer=9109

    IMHO this is the only way to crack down on illegal file sharing: prevent people from finding the stuff in the first place. It's quite a passive but affective way to combat the problem.
     
  45. primus88

    primus88

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
    Posts:
    611
    I never understood what is all this complaint regarding piracy.
    Someone that uses the pirated version of your product would've never had payed for it in the first place. So you don't actually lose money since you would never got them in the first place.
    But, the good part, is that you get a lot of free advertisement. I find it right that people need to fully work and test a product before actually buying it.
    Not once I regret that I spent good cash on asset store products that were crap, false advertised and no support.
    In that moment I would've loved to have a way to first test the product throughoutly and then buy it.

    I don't think there is one developer here, that made money with his game, used a pirated asset and didn't at least bought the product afterwards.
    It would be at least common courtesy between indie devs. Most people that use pirated versions of software are kids that jump in Unity, download the pirated plugins, play for a week with the engine, get bored and never return. As I said, just free advertising.

    A simple way to beat this, is that each asset could be 'stamped' with an unique number linked to the name of the buyer. So at the moment the developer launches the game, you can obfuscate the code, obtain the number and ask the developer nicely to check his name with the number/paypal payment. If he refuses/can't do this you can bring the legal guns then.

    That's the way I see it and I always applied on everything I launched on the internet. Remember, free advertisement, you don't really lose any money.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  46. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    26,096
    Sorry, didn't understand a word you said. Are you using google translator?


    Ah, that old myth! This myth only applies if you develop an unknown or poor quality title. In the case of AAA, nearly everyone will buy a must-have title if they can't pirate it.

    Also, in the case of assets, most people will buy a must-have asset if they can't reliably pirate it. So It's a myth with no actual hard data except charts and graphs from indies who have a title nobody's ever heard of, proving my point. Also AAA with billions of dollars still invest in antipiracy measures. This is to combat friendly piracy which is hugely common, and not at all evil. It's a mistake to think of the pirate as some evil child in a bedroom. Pirates are normal people like you or I sending a family member an mp3.

    I won't get into specifics, suffice to say that piracy will always impact on sales, and always hurts UNLESS you have a title nobody's ever heard of.

    In any case I don't worry myself about it. I can see how it harms assets more than games though. Assets sell very few copies a day typically so it only takes a strong pirate download to ruin that author's business as opposed to games which can reach millions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  47. Devision4

    Devision4

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Posts:
    1,338
    IF you are so long in biz you should know that there is nothing you can do against pricacy. Maybe a good step is to sell at a reasonable price and provide good support only to customers. Funny how devs think (on my product was pirated 10 times, I lost money!) Who said that this 10 user would possible purchase your product in any way?

    Oh and when does piracy starts? I can find easy 20 assets in the store that are violating IP by mimic specific mechanics that where first introducing by a other software company.
     
  48. thamolas

    thamolas

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2013
    Posts:
    28
    If someone pirates your asset(s) to make a commercial game, ask them to buy the asset(s). If they refuse, sue them. If they are a profitable entity, they will (most likely) gladly buy your asset and apologize. If not, they will most likely disappear.

    The purpose of Unity and the assets people develop is to make games. As an asset developer, your goal should be to have your asset used to make commercial titles. If your asset is worth half a hat, people will buy it, even the pirates (at least the ones who succeed in making a complete game).

    As primus88 said, piracy can be seen by some as a reliable way to test an asset before using it in game development. If you find a commercial game using your pirated asset, most likely, they tested it, used it, and accidentally left it off of the "to buy" list or are waiting for the first check (DD, paypal, whatever, depending on distribution, etc.). Most people are terrible at keeping records - especially indie companies. If you catch them, don't get mad or go crazy. Ask for your money with tact and understanding. If they refuse to pay you, then get mad and bring in the legal guns.

    And, as redmotion_games said, the best way to combat piracy is to remove the searches that lead to your illegally shared work. Be proactive and make it difficult to steal. It is demonstrably true that the majority of pirates (not all, mind you) are working on a "try before you buy" basis. The ones who aren't will impact sales, sure. But not significantly for an asset developer.
     
  49. Teila

    Teila

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Posts:
    6,794
    AAA games spend millions of dollars developing anti-piracy software yet more often than not, their games are pirated soon after, or in some cases, even before release. The most secure measures have not worked. In fact, some of their methods have actually caused them more problems.

    Those "unknown indies" that are using your pirated assets will still find ways to hack whatever anti-piracy measures you include just as they hack software from EA, Adobe, SOE and various other multi-million dollar companies.

    I sympathize with the creators on the asset store. However, I have also passed on some nice looking stuff because there was no demo, no documentation, nothing to see other than a link to a website that didn't even include information on the asset. While providing more information might not stop all pirates, it will more than likely stop the honest ones.
     
  50. w1ndf4k3r

    w1ndf4k3r

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Posts:
    2
    And this is yet another splendid example of misunderstanding how piracy works and falling into the big media scare....

    Sure your assets might get pirated, but that does not mean they will not be bought. If your asset is popular it will see many purchases (but will also be pirated). Hardly it will go only one way... Also pirated copies are not "the copies you would have sold", but more like, copies you would have never sold. Also the way asset store works it is way more convenient to buy the asset than to pirate it. Not to mention that, for companies that are publishing games, it is way to risky to pirate assets, because, it is relatively easy to identify an assets, and claiming take-downs would probably not be that hard. Think about it the same way as the pirated unity pro, its easy to obtain a full pro version of unity, and it is probably even harder to spot if a game has been developed with a pirated copy, however I doubt that there are many companies/developers releasing games with pirated unity.
    Another thing are hobby developers, they cannot afford to spend hundreds (or even tens) of dollars for every minor asset that might help them, remember its a hobby so each asset bought is a full loss of their own hard earned money and not an investment, so they will most certainly pirate the asset. But remember what I said earlier, even if you would be able to prevent piracy 100% those hobby guys would not buy the the asset (at least not the majority of them). However, I would dare to say that there is even some benefit to gain from them: if you think about how it is not a loss of profit but a free publicity, because they might not release any game, or make profit out of it, but they post on forums, write reviews, talk about it and all in all promote your asset, so they might increase the chances for your asset to be bought! And believe me when I say that this kind of publicity if you were to pay for it, it would cost you way way more than you can imagine :)

    All in all if your asset is popular (and pirates might even help you boost it) you will make profit. Although what I find ludicrous is the "Unity 30% take" Because common, that is way too much (but sadly that seems to be the norm as steam and apple store take about the same), and also agree on the no per seat licensing. What I would like to see, is the option for 2 kind of licenses for the same asset, 1 for indie developers (same rules as unity free, asset is not necessarily free, but maybe just a reduced price), and one professional and at your own discretion if it is per seat or per company).

    Oh and since the previus poster mentioned the "milions spent against piracy by AAA games", yeah that is one shiny example of idiocy at its finest. Instead of spending more money in making the game better, they spend it to make it worse (at least that is what most of the DRM and anti piracy "solutions" do) for the paying customer, and pirates still get around it soon enough. Oh and than they still blame the pirates for their failure! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
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