Epic is clamping down on copyright and trademark violating assets including guns

Epic is clamping down on copyright and trademark violating assets including guns

Software and games maker Epic has tightened restrictions on its Unreal Engine 4 marketplace to stop developers and asset designers profiting from IP that isn't theirs.

This was brought to the industry's attention by UE4 user Yoeri Vleer on Twitter, who said that guns resembling actual guns weren't being allowed on the company's marketplace anymore.

The company responded on its forum, with community manager Amanda Bott reiterating that Epic has always required users selling assets to have the rights to what they're distributing.

Furthermore, the post says that all content being uploaded is manually reviewed by Epic - which begs the question why this clampdown didn't happen sooner.

"While we have always rejected content that is found to infringe on copyright or trademark, over the past few months the Marketplace has been armed with more resources for content review," Bott wrote.

"As a result, we have renewed our focus on upholding these stated guidelines."

She continued: "While the Marketplace team has been heavily focusing on reducing turnaround time in the submission review process, we recognize that policy enforcement should be handled consistently. With wait times in a better place now, we are planning to audit assets that may be in violation of copyright and trademark policy."

There is also an upcoming review of Marketplace content.

"The audit will happen over the course of the next few months," Bott says.

"We will contact sellers individually through email to notify them of assets that are found to be in violation of terms. Sellers will have a set period of time (current thinking is 30 days but we are open to feedback) to modify and resubmit their assets for approval. Assets found to be in violation after the grace period for changes will be removed from the Marketplace."

The cause of this is unclear, and the fact that Epic is manually reviewing every bit of content, as opposed to items being taken down with a DMCA strike, suggests this isn't an external force at work - or at the very least, the companies whose IP is being infringed upon haven't gone fully legal yet.

It's possible this is a proactive measure from Epic, and could have been instigated by AM General taking Activision to court for the publishing giant's use of vehicles that resemble Humvees in the Call of Duty franchise. The attention Playerunknown's Battlegrounds has brought upon the Unreal Engine maker could also be a factor. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.


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