In a game called ROBLOX, users can monetize their games through a program called DevEx. Many users who use this program what seems to be obvious copyright infringement issues in their game to a certain degree at least.

I understand that this isn't ROBLOX's liability based on their Terms of Service, but I'm unsure of how to determine user liability.

Users may upload music for a virtual currency fee to the site and often upload a plethora of popular songs, and game developers can use those uploads for free in their own game. If the owner of a copyright files a complaint, does it fall under the responsibility of the user that uploaded it originally or the game creator?


2 Answers 2


Both. The user made an infringing copy with the upload, the developer did with the download.

Further the ToS between the app owner and the user will not protect them from being sued by the owner of the copyright. They don't have any ToS with them.

  • Section 230 could often provide protection to the intermediary ISP, however, and the ToS could create or disavow a duty to indemnify that might otherwise exist between the app owner and the user in a suit by the owner of the copyright against the user.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 30, 2023 at 18:35

Uploading music (or any other protected work) to which the up-loader does not have the rights, is making a copy. Unless the recording was released under a permissive license, or its copyright has expired (not likely here) this is copyright infringement.

A game developer using such recordings in a game without permission from the copyright holder is also infringement.

Either the holder of the copyright on the recording, or of the copyright on the musical composition (these may well be different people or entities), or both holders, could sue he uploader, the developer, or both, and collect damages. That a fee in "game currency" was paid to the uploader may make the damages somewhat larger, but otherwise will not matter.

No TOS provision could protect either the uploader or the developer in question, unless the copyright owner had agreed to it. That all this is in the context of a game does not excuse the infringement at all.

However, the person who uploaded the recording would probably not be liable for the developer's use of it in a game, only for the infringement by uploading.

The copyright holder (either one) may decide to sue, or not. If the holder thinks the probable damage award is too small to justify the time, trouble, and expense of bringing suit, s/he may choose not to sue. Or of course if the holder never learns of the infringement, there will be no suit.

The person or firm that runs the site might also be liable for damages if the site encouraged or solicited such infringements, or built its business on them.

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