Search Unity

  1. Unity support for visionOS is now available. Learn more in our blog post.
    Dismiss Notice

Discussion Why has an asset been depreciated?

Discussion in 'Editor & General Support' started by Ryan-Hayle, Feb 8, 2023.

  1. Ryan-Hayle

    Ryan-Hayle

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Posts:
    142
    Unity, I purchase many assets from your store only to find that some have been depreciated without warning.

    Obviously, no one is happy to buy an asset only to find it has been depreciated during development and to not know if I should continue to use that asset, as doing so could be damaging. I have purchased these assets under your trust and so it is important to know that it remains that way after the purchase has been completed.

    When an asset gets depreciated, I would like to know the reason why it has been depreciated so that I can continue to feel safe when using that publisher's assets. e.g., Is the developer no longer on the store? Has the asset been depreciated for a newer version? Has the asset been found to use illegal content? Is the asset deemed unsafe to use? Is the asset under investigation? Is the asset no longer supported, but safe to use? etc.

    My point is I would appreciate knowing why a purchased asset has become depreciated within the package manager, rather than find out through word of mouth, so that I can remain safe while using the assets I purchased from the Unity asset store.

    Thank you!
     
  2. fordtimelord

    fordtimelord

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2020
    Posts:
    20
    Just to add to this with my experience, MOST of my sound fx are now in question because I trusted Unity’s vetting of Sidearm Studios and Cafofo, and neither have given an acceptable rundown of what is and isn’t legit in their catalogue, instead choosing to deprecate most of their assets and pretend it’s not an issue anymore. It’s very frustrating.
     
  3. chemicalcrux

    chemicalcrux

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Posts:
    718
    I'd definitely like to see separation between "this asset is deprecated because the author is no longer supporting it" and "this asset is deprecated because it's legally radioactive"
     
  4. Unity doesn't deprecate known "legally radioactive" assets. They take them down completely. All deprecated assets should be viewed as "non-supported for people already own it and no new sales". Nothing more. So what you're asking for is already in place.
     
  5. Ryan-Hayle

    Ryan-Hayle

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Posts:
    142
    I do not believe this statement is correct, because I would assume an asset developer can simply deprecate the asset before it even gets that far and you won't know any better. Also when Unity takes down an asset completely, by removing access, it then becomes impossible to trace why the asset was removed in the first place, especially when working on team projects or projects from many years ago, etc, which may involve clearing up the mess of multiple folder structures or renamed files with nothing to compare against.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2023
    Marc-Saubion likes this.
  6. My statement is correct. Unity can and does take down deprecated assets if turns out they are legally problematic. Deprecation and take-downs aren't mutually exclusive. Deprecation only means the author (or in place of the author sometimes Unity) decides the author doesn't want to sell said asset anymore and doesn't want to provide support for it. Nothing more.

    It is always YOUR responsibility to track what assets you're using in your game, not Unity's. When you rename a file, you should make a note wherever you are keeping track of 3rd-party assets. Making games with 3rd-party assets without tracking what you're using from what source is reckless and doesn't end well in the long run.
     
  7. altepTest

    altepTest

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    1,101
    some assets get deprecated because the authors remove it to sell a new most of the time improved version.

    this happens because ensuring that assets made for old version will work for new versions takes a lot of time. If one sold a lot of copies of the asset means all old clients will have access to the update. So one works for long time with small chances of getting revenue because the people that need the asset already got that asset.

    so they remove the old one, sometimes they give the new asset for free for a limited time if some of the old buyers want them, sometimes they may offer a discount.

    I guess I can see the point of this if the new asset is better have more features and justifies a new purchase. but sometimes is just a cash grab.

    but incompatibility between versions and how difficult may be or even impossible to make the asset work is a real problem
     
  8. fordtimelord

    fordtimelord

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2020
    Posts:
    20
    I’m going to disagree with you as well unless the long time between depreciation and possible delisting counts. There does not seem to be a proactive team looking into legally questionable assets, though they do tend to respond to enough reports.

    I definitely can’t get behind the victim-blaming towards the end of your post.
     
  9. With what exactly? I stated some facts, nothing more. Which fact I told was not true?

    I am not interested in blaming anyone. What I told is a simple fact of life. You are making a product, it is your responsibility to use legally allowed ingredients for it. No one else's. In order to do that you will need to keep track what you're using and from what source(s), which creator needs to be credited and how and who doesn't. You can blame anyone, you like for whatever you like, at the end of the day your game will be taken down or barred from distribution altogether if you violate someone's copyright or IP and no one will care if you're blaming Unity or anyone else or not.
    You may (or most likely may not) will have some remedies after the fact if you sue someone. But good luck with that.
     
  10. altepTest

    altepTest

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    1,101
    What happens if one uses an item sold on unity marketplace, then later removed for copyright infringement, is something that will need a trial to see who is right or not.

    Unity didn't knew the item was illegal and they took the legal actions of removing the item when they found out. They refund the buyers? I don't know. More important, they inform the buyers so the buyers can remove the item from their game and avoid future legal issues?

    Can a game dev claim in court that they didn't knew that the asset used was illegal by saying that they have purchased the item from the unity marketplace?

    Some countries have harsh punishments against people purchasing stolen goods even if they claim they didn't knew they were illegal goods
     
    LethalGenes likes this.
  11. LethalGenes

    LethalGenes

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2023
    Posts:
    69

    It is unlikely to reach court. And very unlikely that you will be convicted or fined. You should only purchase assets that are for commercial use. And yes if in an instance it went to court, you’ll be absolutely fine considering when you purchased the asset details of its limited use or expiration were not provided. (Unless they were)


    So you copyright something for copyright, or else it can be limited use or free to all.
     
  12. altepTest

    altepTest

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    1,101
    think about it, by your logic, a bad actor may trick unity in publishing a piece of code owned by someone else, then use that piece of code in their game and avoid legal issues. this doesn't sound right.

    if one gets something owned by nintendo, a company that is know for aggressive copyright take down actions, and do the above, can they be "safe" from nintendo lawyers? I doubt it :)

    you may be right of not reaching court, but if your game is successful and makes a lot of money then you will have more potential of legal troubles because the payout if they win against you is higher.
     
    mandisaw likes this.
  13. LethalGenes

    LethalGenes

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2023
    Posts:
    69

    Well, Nintendo are taking down modifications to their games, free versions of their games, and broadcast of their games through those services. For Nintendo to know about your game that bought an asset who falsely sold content to you that it did not own, they require an entirely different service that reads the source code of all products released. Is unlikely. Besides, you were innocent! You got conned! You’ll just point them to the guy who sold you it and they’ll settle it with him. Perhaps Unity has preservation of previous versions I don’t know, this could validate your claim of innocence. If they don’t, evidence it had been modified, or an inability to locate the seller also works to your favour.
     
  14. TreyK-47

    TreyK-47

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2019
    Posts:
    1,810
    Some valid feedback here. Let's circle back to the topic at hand. Without knowing for sure, I'm gonna guess none of us are lawyers so there isn't much to be gained from debating the legalities here. :)
     
    EnigmaFactory and LethalGenes like this.
  15. LethalGenes

    LethalGenes

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2023
    Posts:
    69
    Treys right I’m not a lawyer I literally just said the first thing that came to my head. So don’t take that advice as gospel!
     
  16. TreyK-47

    TreyK-47

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2019
    Posts:
    1,810
    I connected with @AndrewAssetStore on this, and he may have more to add.

    "Deprecated" means the asset can not be purchased, but anyone with an entitlement can continue to download it and use it. There are many reasons an asset may be deprecated, most commonly, the publisher has removed it.

    Unity can deprecated content as well. Often this is when a user reports that an asset does not work anymore. After checking it out, if we feel it may have been abandoned, we will deprecate it. This generally happens to products which have been on the store for a while with no updates. Many packages will continue to be perfectly fine going forward. Depending on the category, the organic end of life may come faster -- tools most notably, require more upkeep from publishers, while audio likely will be fine for many decades to come.

    "Disabled" content has been disabled by Unity, and is no longer available for download. This is not very common, and a variety of reasons may be at play. Unity is not a legal system, and we can never say conclusively that content is or is not legal to use. Ultimately, users should consult with legal representation in their home country for legal questions.
     
    mandisaw, Ryiah and spiney199 like this.
  17. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Posts:
    11,484
    They don’t do any vetting.

    Also if you use copyright infringing material you are liable, so don’t just trust whatever you buy from the asset store.
     
    Ryiah likes this.
  18. day-dreamer

    day-dreamer

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    Posts:
    7
    Thanks for your answer, and for following up on the topic, Trey.

    You're right that audio rarely requires maintenance. But I quoted this, because I have to remark that in this particular thread, audio assets are exactly what's at issue.

    It seems fairly clear that Sidearm Studios and Cafofo had some sort of trouble with distributing audio assets copyrighted by others. (From an outside perspective, we can only speculate as to what extent, and whether that was due to irresponsibly-acting third-party freelancers or whatever.)

    Both publishers were well represented in sales and bundles (for example, just a few days ago the Lunar New Year Mega Bundle) -- one can't get much more official endorsement from Unity than that.

    Now some of their assets are disabled, for example, Cafofo's "Magic Spells Sound Effects". We can be sure those are absolutely unsafe to use.

    Others, like their "Fantasy Interface Sounds" or "Dynamic Village Ambience", are only deprecated. So, in contrast to the disabled packs, are they safe to use? It seems not.

    Probably the publisher marked those assets as deprecated before they could be disabled? Or was disabling them not even on the table?

    It seems unlikely that there is any meaningful distinction to be made in this case between the disabled and the deprecated packs from a developer's perspective, which means that developers cannot really draw any sort of conclusion about assets from their "deprecated" status.

    I understand that Unity is not a court and presumably can't decide all the details in every case. But Unity does decide about the "disabled" status if necessary, so there is a process in place.

    Maybe there could be some additional notification; something along the lines of "This asset was deprecated by the publisher, but Unity would have deprecated or disabled it anyway. All bets are off, don't use it, or only with great caution" (not in these exact words, of course).

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying developers don't need to check and do their due diligence. But it would be good if Unity aided us in this. :)
     
    mandisaw likes this.
  19. altepTest

    altepTest

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    1,101
    They can't aid you with this issue because

    1. they don't know the absolute truth about an asset status, who made it, if is really genuine. Is impossible for them to know as is impossible for you, so they can't vet on it. The asset can even be published in good faith by the seller without him knowing about any issues. Or the seller is in bad faith. Who can know

    2. unity, as every other company that have a marketplace selling digital goods made by other people/companies, are living in a digital limbo that was not yet tested in court. what they do is simple follow the practice of "if someone informs me about a product having copyright issues I will get them down"

    3. if a creator want to remove an assets unity can't do nothing about it, they can't force them to keep it on sale. they may take actions against the creator behind scene if it is really out of hand, but I doubt they start a fight for one item removed

    What you have encountered is one of the "elephant in the room" situation, where everyone just ignore the issue, maybe the elephant doesn't break everything :)

    For music or sounds is even worse as there are a lot people stealing music from others and is hard for most of us to remember a particular track or piece of track. Big artists steal music or they get scammed by buying a track from someone else.

    Finally as a solution for you, include a readme file with your game and provide a method for someone to send you a copyright take down notice, which if the information included in the request is genuine, if they are right, if the take down request have all the information required, you can then remove that asset from your game.

    If this works for all these corporations like youtube or facebook why can't it work for you also.

    If they send bogus copyright notices you can sue them back (they need to include real information about themselves in their take down notice so you can get back to them)

    But if everyone is in good faith and you remove that assets you should be fine.

    tldr: "not a lawyer, not legal advice" :)
     
    mandisaw likes this.