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Tracing pirated assets

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AndorfTheWhite, Jul 1, 2019.

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  1. AndorfTheWhite

    AndorfTheWhite

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    Hi everyone,

    To avoid fights, bans or whatever else in this post, I would like to underline that I am currently developing my game for Steam release using free assets and self-made content.

    But, out of curiosity, I would like to know how anyone could trace a pirated asset within a Unity game, after the game was published on a platform like Steam. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Unity assets come in files, not executables, so there is no "cracked" version per se. When you download a Unity asset, you get the asset package and you can simply import it into the game engine, so I would say that it is not possible to trace the source of these files (coming either directly from the Unity store or some guy who re-uploaded the asset illegally).

    The same actually goes for artwork, 3D models, scripts and so on. How can one sue some developer without any proof of them not paying for the material? I did some research, but no luck in finding useful threads.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    There isn't really a way. Most of the time pirated assets are only really noticed when they're ripped from existing games, usually very high profile ones.
     
  3. AndorfTheWhite

    AndorfTheWhite

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    If that's the case though, why is everyone so scared to use such content. I saw many online threads talking about lawsuits and huge risks involved.
     
  4. Mordus

    Mordus

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    Because all it takes is 1 person to notice, tell the copy write holder who will send a DMCA to the store and your game is no longer for sale. If you're a hobbyist making an unlicensed fan game that you give away for free then you probably don't care about that but if you're trying to actually earn an income from your game then that's an unacceptable risk (you profiting from it also makes that more likely to happen too, even IP holders that will overlook small fan projects will generally take down competing commercial products).

    You're also selling a product which is itself prone to piracy issues (games), so it's not exactly a great look to be caught pirating other peoples work yourself. Why should people pay you for your game instead of pirating it when you made it with pirated assets you didn't pay for. It also doesn't look professional to any other developers you may want to work with/for in the future, who may be wary of trusting work you provide if you have a history of pirating your assets.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  5. AndorfTheWhite

    AndorfTheWhite

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    What I don't understand is the following: "Because all it takes is 1 person to notice, tell the copy write holder who will send a DMCA to the store and your game is no longer for sale."
    Why would anyone do that? How can they know that I haven't paid for the asset? If I actually paid for it and someone would send a DMCA, it would be totally unfair. People can definitely notice that a developer used others' content, but how can they know that this is NOT a legit use of it?
     
  6. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    The concern is over things like the Batmobile asset that was floating around, or the asset where a zombie game ended up having a Killing Floor enemy, or the game where a gun's model was ripped right from a Call of Duty game. This is the big concern: copyrighted content that the licensor does not actually have the rights to use, but that has been placed on the asset store.
     
  7. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Becoming familiar with an asset from a game is not that difficult, and once you're familiar with it it becomes very easy to notice it when it suddenly shows up in a different game. Like @Murgilod mentions the real problem is when a AAA asset suddenly shows up in an indie title and Steam pulls them from the store. Below is the article covering the incident.

    https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news...m_Steam_over_appropriated_Tripwire_assets.php

    This is an odd question to ask. Companies will issue takedown notices because it's their assets that they paid for the development of, and people will report these issues to said companies because they love said company.

    There are entire companies out that there exist because of the fans alone. Spiderweb Software, for example, has been marketed solely through word of mouth for the entire 25 years it's been in business. That's the power of fans.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  8. AndorfTheWhite

    AndorfTheWhite

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    I guess my question was not clear.

    I am perfectly aware of the fact that companies will try to protect their content and the reason behind this.

    Let's say you notice that I use an asset from the Unity asset store in my game released on Steam. Now, let's assume I have not paid for that asset, but I just torrented it. How could anyone possibly notice that this is a torrented version and not the real one? I am not speaking about AAA assets, of course you would notice and report that, I am talking about smaller things like assets made by people and published on the asset store, or 3D models published on some random website and being sold by some small artist.
     
  9. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Ok... we are venturing pretty far down the "how to" and "can I get away with it" path, which is definitely not allowed here. Remember all your asset purchases are associated with your unity account, and can be verified if needed. And if you are found pirating you run the risk of losing your Unity account and basically the ability to publish/update your games, possibly having your game pulled from a storefront and any potential lawsuits.

    Yes, you might get away with it, but you risk losing your game, money made from it, and the ability to use Unity. Or you could just buy the asset, like a decent human being, and properly support the developer and not risk your livelihood. If you are not a complete moron, the choice is pretty clear.

    Closing because discussion of piracy is against the rules.
     
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