How can I protect my assets on the Asset Store from piracy?

So many games on the app store use unity assets and several games use the EXACT same assets. How can a developer go about finding out which of these developers actually paid for the asset? There are so many ways to get an asset illegally now. Is it even possible for a developer to tell if they used their asset legally or illegally? What would stop someone from going online, downloading one of these assets, and making a game out of them making a large profit? I wanted to start developing unity assets but if their is no way to prevent this, i feel like i would lose more time than money i would be able to make.

Changed question title - could’ve been misconstrued as pro-piracy.

This is not legal advice. In a practical sense, we have very limited control over our assets. This is true across every digital industry. It’s just a fact of life. If your assets are very popular, there’s a decent chance that they’ll be redistributed without a sale.

But the thing to take away from that is: Your assets are very popular. It follows logically that you’ll profit almost as much as you would’ve had that piracy not occurred. In other words, it’s awful to have your work pirated, but it does not necessarily constitute a lost sale. That’s only true if you assume that nearly everyone who wants your asset will pirate it. My two cents.

When you buy an asset on the store, purchasers are given a unique invoice reference number. Asset developers can ask for this reference and check it against the API provided at to validate whether it is a genuine purchase, the purchase date, and whether the transaction has been reversed / refunded.

Some asset store developers write “phone home” code into their assets that use this invoice number and disables the asset if not verified. Others ask for purchasers to confirm their invoice number before receiving any support for the asset, or in order to access premium features or beta version test groups, for example.

But @AlwaysSunny is right - no digital product is 100% safe from piracy. Your best defence is to keep innovating so that you are always one step ahead of the pirates.

I know I’m a little late to the conversation.

And before my points below, I personally do not condone piracy.

I’m just putting the points forward, as to date it has been assumed piracy is bad and hurts sales.


  • The European Commission paid (360,000 Euros) for a study that found, “the results do not show robust statistical evidence of
    displacement of sales by online copyright infringements
    .” The study was initially suppressed study but suggests that piracy does not hurt sales. (This, however, was geared towards whole products such a films and game. And not necessarily constituent parts such as assets). If you’d like to read the report you can search for

Estimating displacement rates of
copyrighted content in the EU

  • If someone goes out of their way and intentionally steals your asset. Would they have bought the asset in the first place?

  • If someone uses your product and gets your product in front of many, many eyeballs, you have effectively have paid $0 for advertising (Whether that advertising is good or bad is a different story)

Again, NOT condoning piracy just making some points.

You can’t ’ protect ’ your property from being pirated. But there is an inherent threat involved. You can sue any company that releases a commercial product with pirated assets. No real company that spends tens of thousands on a dev team, tens of thousands on marketing is going to risk being sued over a $50 asset from the Unity store. On the other side of it, you can feel some relief in knowing that the only people who are going to pirate your assets are not going to do anything worthwhile with it. Even if you are a solo developer, you are going to put thousands of hours into your game, and then lose all that time for a $50 asset? Not making excuses, but I bet most of the pirated assets never make it into a functioning game, and the ones that do, the ‘pirate’ was used to test the assets, and were later bought before the game went live. Just from my perspective as an indie developer, there are probably a thousand assets that I would have bought if they had a free sample involved, but ended up not buying at all.

I don’t have an asset on the store, but maybe there’s a way to implement a first-time code that’s sent to the paying users email address for activation.