As a Roblox developer, it is often impossible to conform to both the Roblox Community Rules and Creative Commons license rules when uploading assets that require a Creative Commons license if their material is not hosted on YouTube, Twitter or Twitch.
Many creators rely on audio, code and art that are provided for free by other sources. This is especially true on Roblox where most creators are young and do not have the right skill sets to cover all aspects of game development. Even many of the top games use licensed assets.
When using licensed assets however, it is often necessary for the user to provide appropriate credit. The Creative Commons license is very flexible and therefore also very common. This license type allows users to use the licensed material for free, so you see many assets on the platform that include this sort of license. However, appropriate credit is required. But what does it mean to provide appropriate credit? Creative Commons 4.0 summarizes appropriate credit as follows:
If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. CC licenses prior to Version 4.0 also require you to provide the title of the material if supplied, and may have other slight differences.
Notice the highlighted part of the quote. Users must link to the original material. Let me take a random example to illustrate why this is a problem.
Kevin Macleod makes a lot of popular music that uses the Creative Commons license so I went to his website to grab some audio. I picked a random song and after pressing the download button the following pop-up was displayed:
So according to this pop-up I have to include this text in the audio’s description after I upload it. But hold on a second, what does the Roblox Community Rules say about off-site links again?
Offsite website links, services, and additional 3rd party content are not permitted on Roblox with the following exceptions: YouTube, Twitter, Twitch. Users under the age of 13 are not permitted to share YouTube, Twitter, Twitch links for their privacy and safety. Permitted offsite links, content, or references must contain Roblox appropriate content or your account will be moderated up to immediate termination. Using partial links, filter-breaking, using permitted website links to indirectly link to non-permitted sites, content, or services, describing or otherwise encouraging users to go to unpermitted offsite links, content, or services is also not allowed.
So as it stand right now, I am unable to use music by Kevin Macleod because I am unable to provide appropriate credit. However, not everyone caught on to this as can be seen when you make a quick search for Kevin Macleod through the Roblox library.
Of course there are many more creators whose assets have been uploaded to Roblox that also include such Creative Commons licenses or other alternatives that require appropriate credit. However, none of these uploaded assets are allowed to be used in Roblox games if you follow the rules. Either the assets do not provide appropriate credit, in which case the uploader did not conform to the license details, or appropriate credit was provided, in which case the asset’s description breaks the Roblox Community Guidelines. Neither of these situations are ideal.
If Roblox wants its developers to use licensed assets in their games, there needs to be a better system in place to provide appropriate credit. This means that either the community rules have to change to allow developers to provide appropriate credit, or we need a new system that allows us to provide appropriate credit without breaking the community rules.