As a developer, it is currently too difficult to properly acquire the rights to use UGC intellectual property in my experiences. I am making this post in light of today’s announcement from Roblox.
We need the ability for a clothing item to be purchasable as both:
- a clothing item for our avatars
- an asset for our experiences
(I already replied to that post with this idea, but I figured it would be more beneficial to post it as an official feature request thread and elaborate more. I’m also aware Roblox put a pause on that policy for now, but I hope this suggestion could seamlessly align with it, allowing for a more agreeable policy.)
UGC clothing is more than just expressing yourself and defining your avatar- it can also be used as an asset for experiences. UGC creators should be able to tap into both avatar and creator markets!
Avatar Market: UGC creators already have a foot in the door with users purchasing and flaunting their designs to create distinct avatars. It is a testament to the creator’s ability to understand and craft for individual expression.
Creator Market: The other facet of the coin is the vast world of game developers and virtual experience creators. These professionals often need a plethora of assets for world-building, and UGC can be the gold mine they’re looking for.
I’m sure other developers can provide their testimony about their individual use cases, but here’s mine:
I have an experience that features NPC characters that are wearing UGC items that were created by neither myself nor my team, and even some of these items have been modified. It was quick and easy to navigate through the avatar marketplace to find clothing for these characters to wear.
Additionally, there is a specific mechanic in my experience where you can switch between playing as your own character and playing as one of the NPCs. In the marketplace items policy announcement, there is no clear-cut definition of “equipping” an item. (Which begs the question- would a morphing/switching mechanic count as “equipping” and be subject to complying with the policy?)
Out of respect for the UGC creators and their hard work, I would like to be able to properly license the use of these clothing assets for my experience with ease. (I would also not like to run into any DMCA trouble.)
Rather than having to contact individual creators for permission, I would like a system where I can purchase the licenses for clothing assets for whatever price the creator sets.
Depending on the terms of the license (a topic I will discuss later in this post), developers could use the clothing item for whatever purpose they desire in an experience, including putting them on avatars.
Even if there is no more stock when purchasing that clothing item for your avatar, you can still license that clothing item as an asset for your experience. In other words, the stock for an item may be limited, but the creator can license their clothing asset an infinite amount of times.
Since the item is being licensed, it would be completely optional for the developer to provide a way for players to purchase the clothing item in their experience, regardless of the item being equipped onto players’ characters or not.*
* I mention this because not all experiences are the same, so being forced to prompt a purchase UI for players when a clothing item is equipped onto their avatar can be disruptive to the flow of the experience, as well as not fit with the overall design.
Mitigates the issue of IP being used without consent.
Developers would have a more direct and easy way to obtain licenses for clothing assets.
Opens up a new market for clothing assets for experiences.
UGC creators will finally be getting paid for the use of their clothing assets in experiences.
The creator marketplace currently lacks clothing assets, especially from the original creators. You will typically find reuploads of someone else’s clothing assets, or characters that utilize clothes that aren’t created by the uploader.
Purchasing clothing asset licenses through Roblox will allow for better tracking.
This makes it less likely for developers to be falsely reported for using intellectual property.
This also makes it easier for developers to appeal, since they will have recorded proof of purchase.
The flow and design of experiences remain uninterrupted, without the obligation of purchase prompt UIs
Flexible Licensing Models: UGC Creators can offer multiple licensing models (one-time use, unlimited use, exclusive rights, etc.) to cater to different needs. This allows creators to have more control over the usage of their items in experiences.
Integrated Licensing Process: Within the avatar marketplace, there should be an easy-to-navigate system for purchasing licenses, making the process seamless for developers.* After purchasing a license, the clothing item may appear in the developer’s toolbox.
Clear License Terms: Any licensing agreement should have clear terms outlining how the UGC item can be used, modified (if at all), and the kind of attribution required. If a developer doesn’t agree with the terms of a license, they can just simply not license the item.
* Ideally, the webpage for purchasing the clothing item should be a one-stop shop for both avatar purchases and license purchases.
It should go without saying, we own our avatars. While they may be wearing clothing designed by other creators, these avatars serve as our unique visual identity on the platform. With that being said, a vital exception to clothing asset licensing would be the use of any player’s avatar likeness within our experiences.**
* I’ve edited this section in to address an oversight, which is a crucial distinction for this proposal.
** Note: My scenario from the Context and Use Case section involves custom, developer-crafted NPCs that incorporate clothing assets designed by other creators.
This is honestly a double-edged opportunity for UGC creators. On one hand, it amplifies their reach and allows their creations to be integrated into diverse virtual experiences, opening doors to new revenue streams. On the other hand, it also places the onus on them to ensure their work is priced fairly and protected adequately.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to provide any feedback and I will address it as soon as possible!
Note: Considering that avatar item purchases are an integral part of the website, I decided to post this here. Admittedly, I found it challenging to categorize this, as the feature request spans multiple areas.
- Title is more concise
- Added the Exceptions section
- Elaborated further about my concern in the Context and Use Case section
- Added another issue that this feature request addresses