Asset theft and Membership of the developer forums

Currently, the rules contain no references to or punishments for breaking on-site roblox rules, or for doing things as a developer that are ethically wrong.

Recently, I’ve noticed multiple full members on the dev forums have stolen assets, thumbnails, copied clothing, exclusively free modeled games and copied audios on their profiles. While according to Roblox support;

Roblox does not currently have features available to disallow copying for clothing, badges, and other similar items. Users can and do create similar articles of clothing, decals, and so on.

these actions are not victimless. When users copy clothing, decals or audios, or rip assets directly from within games, there are people who lose out. I myself have experienced having my game’s thumbnail re-uploaded by a devforum member and used to mislead players into playing a ripoff of my game (with their game being entirely free modeled). I’m not the only one either, this same user has 10 games, the majority of which consist of stolen assets and thumbnails.

The developer forums are a tightly knit community of developers, and while development skill is seen as just as important as personality and contributions, asset theft is not a feature of being inexperienced at development, it’s a feature of someone who doesn’t care about this community and doesn’t respect the effort, time and money people put into their games.

As the rules currently stand, as long as you’re not stealing assets when you join the developer forums (as you likely wouldn’t be accepted), you’re free to steal assets from any user, game or group as you like and will not face any kind of moderation action. What kind of ruling is that? If we can’t have rules to combat this on the main site, can we at least refuse those who do this access to our community?

Note that in replies if you want to talk about your own experiences, please don’t include names

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This happens a lot with me, smaller groups steal my uniforms and thumbnails because they are too unskilled to make their own.

Unfortunately there is nothing and has been nothing that can fix this issue. If only roblox disabled the ability to save images on the website. That would help

Not anymore. For the past year, the requirement to get into the devforum has been: “make something that is your own”. If you submit anything that’s not copy+paste from the devhub or a free model, you get in. Anyone can get in if they do this and spend the time to fill out the application correctly. This also makes it trivial to get back into the forum if you’re removed.

See: https://devforum.roblox.com/groups/DevEngagementTeam

There are 5 members, not counting Roblox. Two don’t manage the devforum. That’s three people to manage the devforum, all of whom have other responsibilities as well. With that small of a team, pick either:

  • They spend all day chasing the hundreds of noobs and script kiddies who steal others work (kicking someone is a big deal, so every report has to be thoroughly investigated to be 100% sure removal is fair, and not some developer dispute like UserA didn’t pay UserB for a thumbnail, so UserB uploaded it to their account as well in protest)
  • They spend their time working on things that have more of an impact rather than removing someone only for 50 more to pop up the next day

Stealing work from someone is not okay, but they should be removed from the main site instead. Even if we ban them here, it’s not cool for them to get away free on the main site, and I’m pretty sure CS/moderation has more than 3 people to investigate these sort of things. If they get banned on the main site, DevRel can easily ban them from the forum.

With that in mind, please make a feature request for CS/moderation to handle reports of stolen content better. Convince Roblox to provide a boat that doesn’t sink – not for it to continually patch each individual hole.

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While I agree and will definitely try to get through with a feature request, I’m not asking for the developer engagement team to go through 50 users a day, at least from my experience full members who are exclusively using stolen assets are a rarity.

Trying to get Roblox to do something about this on the main site is a massive ask and I don’t see it happening any time soon without a lot of effort, especially as people have been asking for better moderation in general ever since I can remember. The manpower constraints are a big problem, but it’s still an issue that needs addressing in some way; the reason I made this post specifically directed at the devforums is because doing something like this site wide would require a massive amount of resources in comparison to doing it on the devforums.

Despite the fact that adding a rule against sustained asset theft would likely result in increased reports to the developer engagement team, at least in my eyes it’s a worthwhile trade off to have that rule as a reference and deterrent, even if it was rarely enforced.

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Just from the people who have DMed me asking where to report / to do something about users like this, I can tell you it’s not a rarity. I haven’t seen the emails devrelations@roblox.com receives, but the official channel probably gets even more.

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Echo, I don’t think your quote is very fair. I applied multiple times over the course of 2 years for entrance and know many competent developers who have been denied devforum access.

In relations to the rest of the post, I feel as if this problem deals more with untrustworthy developers than anything else. If someone steals something, the original developer should follow suit and file a detailed report to handle the problem and warn other users not to work with this person. Although it could be fixed with more staff dedicated to it, do you all find it reasonable to believe that it could be minimized much easier if we did it among ourselves and took measures to prevent asset stealing?

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You will notice my previous response included “anymore”. It is a given that the forum wasn’t always as open as it is now – we have probably close to doubled in size over the past year.

People get denied if they fail a moderation history check, so anyone who has had unfavorable run-ins with moderation on the main site will be denied. This generally includes a lot of users because of how toxic and nonconstructively-competitive certain communities (e.g. war clans, GoT roleplay, shop roleplay, clothing stores, etc) are.

In any case, the previous post was perfectly fair. Those are literally DevRel’s objective requirements for accepting someone into the forum.

The users who steal others’ work are usually not working with the developer they stole the content from. They take advantage of Roblox’s poor asset protection (e.g. searching private audio/decals and taking the ID) or use exploits to steal the level geometry of places.

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Your points regarding acceptance and the moderation system are reasonable and I have nothing to dispute.

Concerning this part of your response, I agree that the problem exists because of poor asset protection (which hasn’t been addressed to an acceptable level for a majority of the community). However, I don’t think I explained myself well enough on what I meant, which is on me. Of course the people stealing the assets aren’t working with the developers they stole it from; however, most of the information regarding people who do these kinds of things aren’t shared with other developers which allows the thief (for a lack of a better term) continue to exploit and manipulate other developers. Do you think that the abilities of the thieves to continue to steal content from games should be shared among the community to better alert all of us of people who do these kinds of things so that we can avoid them?

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The issue I have with this is that we’re not really allowed to name and shame people. I’ve had experiences similar to this in the past where I have named and shamed a developer, and then got told by a member of devrel that I should’ve talked to them about it and not tweeted with the persons name. When I tried this recently all I have found is that generally these users don’t face any punishment unless they are shamed from within the community itself. While it seems better in the interest of reformation that these developers don’t get publicly called out, what alternative is there if rules arent put in place?

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Looking at this from a historical perspective, it is blatantly obvious that we can’t go for civil disobedience in this case; however, we could do what we did for the discord ban and perhaps lobby for a change in the rules to better protect the developers? “Shaming” users into logically doing the right thing seems more like a good move than anything else.

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Shaming encourages a mob mentality and witch hunt in which the individual might even be maliciously and wrongly accused, but the consequences on them may end up causing more damage than anything.

Being publicly loud about these issues is not the way to go, and it just encourages bitter drama.

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I agree that shaming is the wrong way to go about the issue. I think that a better solution would be to contact the person privately and see if they realize how they’re harming the original owner. I would bet there are people out there who assume it’s “ok” to take shirts, audio, etc. because of how simple it is to do. Pointing out what they’re doing wrong might help them to change their ways.

Also, as to the original post: Why did you include free model games with other stolen assets?

Free models are free and can’t really be stolen. Sure, completely free modeled games are pretty dull and usually unoriginal, but they’re not really of the same caliber of asset theft.

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You’re right I shouldn’t have included that in my OP, I really meant full members who only use free models and don’t actually program or build anything in the game themselves, coupled with asset theft in many cases are an example of why I think we need a new rule.

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My choice of words there were poor. I don’t want a red scare on the devforum. Trust me, the post that steady and I are writing to address this will deal with this problem to prevent it from becoming a problem.

I’ve actually been dealing with asset theft in the past week, I took it up with DevEngagement but - and as I completely understand - they currently aren’t able do anything in regards to stealing because they haven’t re-uploaded my work to use onsite yet (however they are looking into other incriminating parts of the situation). I have substantial proof in the form of screenshots, but there just isn’t a legal obligation for them to do anything about it. There are no protections for developers who are victims of stolen property because they simply don’t want to deal with these types of messes, and that’s just not very fair given that we have to display our assets on the website involuntarily.

As I’ve said before, Roblox makes it too easy to steal assets, that’s why so many people do it. Decals and other image-based assets are displayed out in the open without any significant quality reduction or watermarking. And people are even stealing Meshes from the website itself, which shouldn’t even be possible (I assume it’s because Meshes allow you to see them in a realtime-rendered 3D view). Roblox doesn’t want a lot of responsibility in asset protection but I think that they need to realize that there are countless feature requests for anti-theft measures that never get acknowledged, such as my recent suggestion to allow us to toggle the visibility of our inventory.

So if anything, I believe that Roblox should at least be responsible for preventing asset theft so we don’t even need to discuss what should happen after the fact.

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i think audio is fine, but Thumbnails badges gamepasses ect. that should be punished. my thumbnails and icons from wyr got stolen. i discovered that at rdc while i was playing there at the xbox. Deepack made an note of it but nothing every happened after. Lateron i emailed roblox support but their support led aswell to nothing. so i would say your right. roblox doesnt nothing about stolen decals ect.

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I have a similar experience, wasnt asset stealing but during a previous event at least a year ago, one of the games linked a discord in its description and the groups description, which, at the time, was very strictly controlled and banned for almost immediately.

I brought the issue to DevRel. I didn’t receive a response for 48 hours but when I did it was something along the lines of “I don’t see any discord link”… I go and check again and the link is remove from the game and the group descriptions…

Completely assuming here but I think DevRel just told them to remove it and just brush the whole thing under the rug and pretend like it never happened.

*Did not realize this was 21 days old oof

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