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Stephan Sokolow

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A member registered Jun 14, 2015 · View creator page →

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(8 edits)

once its CC0 you are allowed to change the licence any time, but everyone who already got it may upload it under a different license.

That’s not that different from how other general public licenses (eg. CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, MIT, GPL, etc.) work.

Not being able to revoke permission from someone who’s following the rules and them being able to share what they received on the same terms even after you stopped offering those terms is par for the course. Likewise, you can modify something under the CC-BY or MIT licenses to create a new work and license that work under the CC-BY-SA or GPL, because nothing in the CC-BY-SA or GPL contradicts what you’re already bound to comply with by the CC-BY or MIT licenses. That’s what “GPL-compatible” means in software licensing.

Heck, the Debian Free Software Guidelines tests irrevocability as part of what they call the “tentacles of evil test”. (Basically, if a company like Oracle buys the rights to it, can they make life miserable for previous recipients of a license.)

The big difference with a public domain dedication is that, with a general public license, you can change your mind and people will be bound by the terms they received it under while, if you put something into the public domain, and then change your mind, and then sell someone a license, they’re essentially only paying you to actually get access to the files and they’re still in the public domain. (Unless you add new stuff that wasn’t released into the public domain, in which case those new/modified files aren’t in the public domain as long as copyright law considers the additions to be big enough and transformative enough to qualify for copyright protection.)

With a license, if you change the license before anyone downloads it, that’s it. With a public domain dedication, if someone saves proof that it was ever CC0’d, it’s still CC0’d. That’s what it means to waive your rights.

A general public license cares about having a valid chain of “I received the rights and then gave them to…” while a public domain dedication is only concerned with proof that the rightsholder gave up their right to impose restrictions. That’s why the Creative Commons website has warnings when you choose the CC0 form.

If you can demonstrate that what you have is what was put into the public domain, it doesn’t matter how you got it beyond the usual laws about computer hacking and burglary and so on.

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Licensed under CC-0, making it technically Public Domain, allowing you and anyone else to freely copy and use it without restrictions.

It’d be more correct to say “Released into the public domain using the CC0”, because the CC0 isn’t a license. It’s a public domain dedication that falls back to a license and promise not to sue in jurisdictions like Germany where you’re not allowed to prematurely put things into the public domain.

(And boy, is Germany an intestering case. Give this a read for an overview of what the CC0 has to go through to say “Yes, I really do know what I’m doing when I want to waive the protections you’ve written into law for me.”)

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I’ve got a couple of older versions of the Zip file if you’d like them. (I archive copies of everything I add to my lists of assets.)

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“Asset license: Creative Commons Zero v1.0 Universal” is a pre-emptive grant of permission.

CC0 is a bit of a special case (more on that in a moment) but that’s how Creative Commons and other forms of general public licensing work. They’re “I hereby grant all members of the general public who are willing to follow these terms a license to use this”.

(CC0 is a public domain declaration with a fallback license so, in jurisdictions that recognize the ability to put something into the public domain early, it’s “I hereby give up my right to impose terms on you.” rather than “If you’re willing to follow these terms…”)

Would you mind adding license declarations to your free assets (eg. setting the appropriate field in the More Information box)?

I’m interested in adding them to my Libre Game Assets list if the terms you intended are compatible, but part of being compatible is making sure it’s not an informal license.

No problem and thanks.

I actually already noticed and added them to the list.

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I’m sure we could have a fun debate about license technicalities or rms’s and Kant’s disregard to consequences. Nothing wrong with a small talk. It’s just that I already don’t know what your point is.

My point is that “Open Source” has an agreed-upon definition and companies have a history of trying to language-lawyer and spin-doctor it in bad faith in the past (both directly and through terms like “Shared Source”, “Open Core”, etc.), so odds are that anyone who tries to argue the definition is just going to be assumed to be a bad-faith actor by the community at large.

Also: your anti-feminist non sequitur is not appreciated

I proudly call myself a feminist. My issue is with extremists (feminist or otherwise) ruining that and other terms for the rest of us in their attempts to “voodoo doll” people’s perceptions and affiliations by spin-doctoring the language.

In fact, if you look at it fully generally, it’s the same phenomenon which drives what Steven Pinker dubbed the euphemism treadmill. People keep trying to escape the bad associations of words but, because the “bad thoughts” and “bad intentions” (to borrow George Carlin’s phrasing) remain, the euphemism eventually takes on the same corrupted association as society acclimatizes to using it.

(In a sense, it’s yet another expression of humans looking for simple solutions to complex problems.)

I don’t believe it’s a non-sequitur because, from the beginning, I’ve been talking about terminology and how people see its use.

Likewise, I’ll readily admit that RMS is an extremist, and I think his argument that “Linux” should be called “GNU/Linux” is based on a deceptive and unhelpful definition of what is and isn’t part of an operating system and completely ignores the relationship between humans and syllable counts in English terms.

(Seriously. X11 contributes more to the platform than GNU, but he hand-waves that by declaring that you don’t need a GUI to self-host operating system development with console emacs and GCC (which is a not insignificant part of GNU’s size) counts as part of the OS despite not being installed on most systems unless you need it to compile the nVidia proprietary driver’s “GPL condom” because the definition of an OS is, according to him, everything you need to self-host its development and not one jot more. …and if you want to talk about it from a binary compatibility standpoint, then it should still be glibc/Linux or X11/Linux, not GNU/Linux.)

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They created the term and, from what I remember, it would be a registered trademark if not for a whim of the trademark office deciding it was just a little too generic for them to feel comfortable granting a trademark registration for.

(“Creative Commons” wasn’t too generic.)

I believe it should be a standard term and, even if you disagree, a great deal of the term’s value comes from being basically identical to the definition of Free Software as defined by the FSF’s Four Software Freedoms and Debian Linux’s Debian Free Software Guidelines, except couched in more apolitical language, less confusable with “free as in price”, that companies can feel comfortable with.

Freedom 0 of the Four Software Freedoms is “The freedom to run the program for any purpose.” and point 6 of the DFSG is “No discrimination against fields of endeavor, like commercial use.”

Aside from that, culturally, it’s de facto standardized to be what’s laid out in the OSD and if you try to undermine its meaning like that, you’re just setting yourself up to be seen as a bad-faith actor who’s trying to cheat the system… similar to Microsoft’s “Shared Source” initiative.

(Or like the extreme feminists who get upset when their spin-doctoring of “feminism” backfires and people decide “I guess I was mistaken about being a feminist” and go looking for new words like “egalitarian” rather following along with the shifting definition of the word they originally chose.)

Fundamentally, the principles that were laid out are intended to allow software to behave like mathematics. You don’t get to use the pythagorean theorem for free normally, but have to pay a license fee if you decide to use it for NFT purposes.

If the OSI were to change the OSD to allow restrictions like that, it’s very likely that people would reject the changed version, declare the OSI to have become infiltrated by corporate influences, and start referring to the current version of the OSD (Version 1.9, last modified, 2007-03-22) as the authoritative definition of what “open source” is.

Thanks. Sorry for going quiet. The browser tab I left open as a reminder got buried under a flood of new ones.

(I really need a better workflow for separating “tabs that are TODOs” from “I found a new YouTuber and middle-clicked a gazillion interesting videos”.)

It’s in my list now.

This mix of desert/middle-east atmosphere and an energetic, bouncy beat might be perfect BGM for a desert-themed tileset for competitive mode for the game I’m picking away at.

Thanks. :)

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Would you mind adding licenses to this and Arctic Area Ambient Theme?

Without them, I’m not even sure if it’s technically legal to use the Download Now button. (explanation)

EDIT: Thanks. :)

…and thank you too.

I’ve added this to my Libre Game Assets list.

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No problem. I have projects of my own that I’ve been struggling to find time to give some TLC to for over a year, so I know the feeling.

(The only reason I’m poking at developing a game right now is that, unlike my more mature projects, it sometimes meets the “whatever I’d find relaxing right now” criteria for my leisure breaks.)

Because your “Asset license” field and your description disagree over whether this is under the CC-BY 3.0 or the CC-BY 4.0, it makes it legally iffy. Would you mind clarifying?

Also, since all Creative Commons licenses require attribution (CC0 isn’t technically a license except in places like Germany where you aren’t allowed to put things in the public domain), it’d be a good idea to specifically say “Creative Commons Attribution” or “CC-BY” since those are the official names for that particular license.

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Would you mind specifying a license for this?

Also, nice choice for the YouTube embed’s video. It makes me wish Race The Sun had an 80s DLC.

EDIT: Thanks. :)

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I like this, but informal licenses like “Credit Required” are legally hazardous in some jurisdictions.

If you meant “License: CC BY 4.0” like on your RPG Town track, would you mind stating that explicitly?

I’ll happily add it to my Libre Game Assets list once the license has been clarified.

EDIT: Thanks. Added to the list.

Also, I really like the sound of this, so I’m going to try really hard to find a place where it feels fitting in the competitive mode of the game I’m slowly picking away at.

(5 edits)

Each folder inside the zip file contains both the files and another zip file containing duplicates of the files.

Unpacking the nested zips, asking a duplicate file finder to delete all but one copy of each duplicate file, and then repacking the archive drops the download size from 249.2MiB to 124.6MiB with no lost content.

Given how easy it is to turn a folder into a Zip file, probably a good idea to treat that as a mistake and save people the bandwidth. I can’t imagine Itch.io gets unlimited flat-rate bandwidth, and I know not everyone has flat-rate bandwidth at home.

(American companies like to gouge people, incumbents here in Canada like to gouge people, people who have to connect through a mobile dongle won’t get flat-rate bandwidth, and the best option you could get in Australia last I checked was to drop to dial-up speeds rather than getting charged when your monthly bandwidth runs out. As I understand it, big enough companies partner with Australian ISPs to set up mirrors in Australia which are exempt from bandwidth caps. I’m guessing New Zealand is similar, given they’re Australia but even further as far as undersea cables go.)

(4 edits)

The archive has a lot of duplicate files contained in nested Zip files.

For example, after unpacking all the nested Zips, md5sum gave results like this one:

2b5b0156c154d9755b00a1fee34a8b5e  Caverns & Mines/Mysterious Cavern/Mysterious_Cavern_Complete.ogg
2b5b0156c154d9755b00a1fee34a8b5e  Caverns & Mines/Mysterious Cavern/Mysterious Cavern/Mysterious_Cavern_Complete.ogg
2b5b0156c154d9755b00a1fee34a8b5e  Mysterious Cavern/Mysterious_Cavern_Complete.ogg
2b5b0156c154d9755b00a1fee34a8b5e  Mysterious Cavern/Mysterious Cavern/Mysterious_Cavern_Complete.ogg

When I tried removing the duplicates and repacking the files with default settings, the size dropped from 226.6MiB to 64.5MiB.

That aside, they’re beautiful pieces and I’ll probably wind up using them for the non-competitive mode in a game I’m picking away at. (Sort of a Lode Runner-esque game with more acrobatic movement and fixed-pattern monsters to make the levels more puzzle-y, where I want to experiment with procedural generation and a multiplayer race mode.)

It sounds great but, with that tempo and percussion, it’s not what I’d associate with an RPG town… more the remixed version of what normally plays in the town, used for when your character participates in a footrace through it.

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If you don’t want this normalization, you’ll have to convert them again. Foobar2000 can convert nsf to wav easily with the appropriate plugins.

You may also want to suggest Audacious Media Player.

It’s a competitor to foobar2000 for Linux, BSDs, and Windows that comes with an NSF player plugin (Specifically, one for Game_Music_Emu) and can be used to convert chiptunes to Wave, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, or MP3 simply by setting the desired recording settings and then toggling the record button in the toolbar before starting playback.

(And, since it’s a descendant of XMMS, the original Linux WinAMP clone, it can also use WinAMP skins if that’s your preference.)

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I have licensed these voice clips under the most basic copyleft license I could think of: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

I hope you won’t take this as me being “that guy”, but your terminology is a bit off.

“Copyleft” refers to things like CC-BY-SA or GPL, where, if you received it under the license, you must also share any modified version under the same license. (“Copyright” encourages a world where every modified version is “All Rights Reserved” so “copyleft” was coined because it encourages a world where every modified version cannot be “All Rights Reserved”.)

Stuff like CC-BY, MIT, BSD, etc. is “permissive” because they permit you to do stuff like going “All Rights Reserved” on any modified versions as long as you still give credit.

(So, by definition, you chose something more basic than any copyleft license.)

The poorly named Wikipedia Permissive software license page has a nice chart about it which has examples for both software and non-software licenses.

The ambiguity of legally defining “evil” was the bigger problem, but not the only one.

Either way, I highly value being able to pass on the right for other people to carve up my projects and remix the pieces without any unusual license terms, so PDM is still unsuitable for my use-causes.

(5 edits)

While I appreciate the sentiment and you’re free to do as you wish, I just wanted you to be aware that the prohibition on NFT use means that your license can’t qualify as open source (or any of its cousin terms like Libre which are basically the same thing in different words).

The problem is clause 6 of the Open Source Definition, which the prohibition on evil in the JSLint license also tripped over:

No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

(Also, if you decide to change it, I highly recommend going for a standard license. Even some standard ones are landmines in jurisdictions like Germany where you have to tie yourself in knots to explicitly give up various legal protections and protect downstream users from your right to sue them over privileges the law decides to retroactively grant you in the future. For example, CC0 is much preferable to The Unlicense for exactly that reason.)

(2 edits)

And thank you for the quick response.

As you might have guessed from my slower reply, I’m pretty busy right now, but I’ll check them over and get them added to the list as soon as possible. (Hopefully today or tomorrow.)

EDIT: Done. Sorry for taking a week to get to it.

Would you mind specifying a formal license on your free voxel packs?

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this to you before, but “informal licenses” can have very surprising results in some jurisdictions.

(For example, Germany errs on the side of protecting you from giving away too much when there’s ambiguity. This analysis of how far the CC0 has to go to achieve “like Public Domain” status in Germany has more detail on that.)

Maybe CC BY 4.0 like some of your other free assets?

I’m willing to add all of your voxel packs to my Libre Game Assets once that ambiguity is resolved.

It’d be better to just link people to the summary page of the Creative Commons license you’ve chosen. The “Attribution” part of it already covers that.

(6 edits)

Do not share without permission

This either conflicts with the terms of the Creative Commons license you specified or is nullified by them and is definitely a violation of their trademark policy.

All general public licenses (which the Creative Commons licenses are) are pre-emptive grants of permission and all Creative Commons licenses explicitly grant permission to share as long as the other terms of the license are satisfied so, if it isn’t an attempt to add extra terms to the CC license, then it has no effect because you automatically give everyone permission.

However, even if it’s intended to come across that way, a Reasonable Person (in legal terms) would feel uncertain about whether it’s an attempt to add an extra term to the license, and that makes it a violation of Creative Commons trademark policy which only grants you permission to use the Creative Commons name, CC-BY-ND, and the CC logos to describe completely un-modified CC licenses.

(Otherwise, you cast uncertainty on the meaning of seeing a CC badge and dilute the value of their brand, which is exactly the kind of thing trademark law is intended to allow trademark holders to sue people over.)

Here’s the relevant section of the policy:

License Modification:

To prevent confusion and maintain consistency, you are not allowed to use CREATIVE COMMONS, CC, the CC Logo, or any other Creative Commons trademarks with modified versions of any of our legal tools or Commons deeds. Specifically:

  1. If you make a change to the text of any CC license, you may no longer refer to it as a Creative Commons or CC license, and you must not use any CC trademarks (including the Creative Commons name) or branding in connection with the license. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes translations of CC licenses that have not been made and approved by CC in accordance with the Legal Code Translation Policy.
  2. If you place any restriction on use of a CC-licensed work that has the effect of limiting or further conditioning the permissions granted to the public under the standard CC license, you must not use any CC trademarks or branding in connection with the license or in any way that suggests the work is available under a CC license. These restrictions often appear in terms of use on websites where CC-licensed content is hosted, or as part of terms for downloading CC-licensed content.

(Boldface emphasis mine)

I’m interested in adding this to my Libre Game Assets.

Would you mind putting a proper license on this? The Free Software Foundation has a good explanation of why “informal licenses” are bad. (TL;DR: In some countries, the law might interpret a not-precise-enough license statement as invalid and, thus, “All Rights Reserved”.)

(If you want to see how far that “other jursidictions” thing goes, take a look at this analysis of how far the CC0 has to go to achieve “like Public Domain” status in Germany’s “protect the creator from giving away too much” system.

(eg. Germany’s legal system prevents you from giving away rights that didn’t exist at the time you made your statement, so the CC0 includes a clause where you make a legally binding promise not to sue over rights that get written into law later.)

I’m also willing to add any of your other assets to my list if you add a suitable license declaration to them.

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I’d love to add this pack to my Libre Game Assets collection but, currently, it’s in a legal gray zone.

Specifically, “Creative Commons”, “CC-BY” and so on are trademarks and you’re only licensed to use them if you don’t hang additional restrictions off the license, which your “DON’T RE-SELL THIS PACK!” counts as if it carries the weight of law rather than just being a very emphatic “Please don’t do this”.

Here’s the relevant part of their trademark policy:

If you place any restriction on use of a CC-licensed work that has the effect of limiting or further conditioning the permissions granted to the public under the standard CC license, you must not use any CC trademarks or branding in connection with the license or in any way that suggests the work is available under a CC license.

In fact, given the way the law works, if they chose to sue you, they’d probably win based on the “How would a reasonable everyman interpret this?” test seeing it as a legal requirement.

Basically, trademark law cares a lot about protecting the value of a brand, and hanging additional restrictions off a CC license adds uncertainty, which makes the CC name and badges less valuable as a signal to non-lawyers.

It’s the same reason ads say “better than the next leading brand” instead of naming that competitor. Trademark law doesn’t allow them to piggy-back off their competitor’s brand recognition without permission.

…plus, your restriction would only apply to the person who downloads it directly from you. Because the CC-BY governs them giving copies to other people, only the CC-BY would apply to other people they gave it to. (Basically, CC licenses work because they do an imaginary copy-paste of the rules/permissions every time someone makes a copy… and they only copy-paste the ones inside the CC-BY.)

That said, you can make it unattractive to resell by taking advantage of this clause of the license…

identification of the creator(s) of the Licensed Material and any others designated to receive attribution, in any reasonable manner requested by the Licensor

…to require a byline that explicitly says it can be downloaded for free at the given URL.

(That would more or less leave resale to cases where people are adding value, such as selling DVD-R compilations in parts of the world with flaky Internet or selling the service of having filtered through all the free stuff to find the best stuff matching a certain theme.)

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Also, you can’t say “This license does not cover repackaging and reselling these assets as assets. You have to do something with them!”

It’s right there in the Creative Commons trademark policy if you scroll down to “License Modification”.

If you place any restriction on use of a CC-licensed work that has the effect of limiting or further conditioning the permissions granted to the public under the standard CC license, you must not use any CC trademarks or branding in connection with the license or in any way that suggests the work is available under a CC license.

…and that’s just about not diluting the efficacy of the trademarks by illegally inducing uncertainty in what it means to see a Creative Commons mark.

(Part of the more general “you can’t use a competitor’s trademark to hurt them” thrust of various aspects of trademark law that’s also behind not being more specific than “compared to the next leading brand” in advertisements.)

The license itself is structured so that your restrictions would slough off as soon as the person who got it directly from you gave it to someone else, because your restriction isn’t part of the license that gets reapplied in the hand-off from someone who isn’t you to someone else who isn’t you.

Also, in pursuit of fostering that sense of safety in a world of scary legal documents, Creative Commons licenses are irrevocable if you had the legal right to apply them in the first place.

You’re fully within your rights to stop offering new downloads under a CC license, but anyone who received them under that license still retains their rights and, even if your restriction is held to be legally valid, it’s gone as soon as they upload it without repackaging or charging for it for others to download.

The Debian Free Software Guidelines also have a test to ensure that when evaluating software licenses, called the tentacles of evil test, which is a thought experiment about a company buying the rights and then trying to make existing licensees’ lives miserable.

I believe the Open-Source Definition also covers the same “can’t limit resale” thing under the “No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor” rule.

The MIT license achieves that effect through the pieces I’ve emphasized below:

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions

…though, without the parts ensuring it’s kept separate from additional restrictions, people might have to ask a friend to enter into the initial exchange and then redistribute it to them to get free of such requirements.

I assume that MIT would be the ones whose trademark you’d potentially be sued over if you tried to change that in the MIT license without wiping out all mention of MIT.

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Would you mind setting the license fields in the “More information” blocks for the Everything Library uploads?

(Or, if you’d prefer, adding license declarations to the descriptions.)

I’d like to add them to my Libre Game Assets collection and I’d feel a lot more comfortable about doing so if didn’t rely on a license declaration on a completely different domain.

(UPDATE: Also, I need that “constraining a CC license is a violation of trademark law” part resolved first.)

Just a reminder that the abbreviation for “Creative Commons Attribution” is “CC-BY”, not “CCA”.

Not critical to fix, since the Asset license metadata field is set properly, but it can be confusing.

I’m interested in adding this to my Libre Game Assets list.

Would you mind putting a formal license on it? The Free Software Foundation has a good explanation of why “informal licenses” are bad.

(For example, Germany errs on the side of protecting you from giving away too much when there’s ambiguity, to the point where things can get very surprising. This analysis of how far the CC0 has to go to achieve “like Public Domain” status in Germany has more detail on that.)

That is the downside of globalizing the amateur art world. The people who create for the joy of creating and/or getting attention turn it into a buyer’s marker within a generation or two.

Anyway, thanks for that. Now that everything is nice and clear, it being under CC-BY certainly means it’s suitable for my list of libre-licensed assets.

Here’s hoping it’ll add a donation or two to what you receive. (I certainly plan to donate something to each set of assets I use when I get back to working on my platformer project… given that the public domain tileset that inspired it isn’t set up to accept donations, I’m planning to CC0 the extension to it that I’ve drawn once the platformer comes out. I think I’ve at least doubled the number of available tiles.)

By your description, the price should have gone up to $5 as of Aug 09, 2018, but this is still free to download.

Was that an oversight?

Thanks. I’ve added it to the list.

(And sorry for taking so long to reply. Itch.io doesn’t e-mail me about messages and the interval at which I check for replies manually is highly variable.)

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Ahh, so not relevant to me then.

Aside from the non-redistribution clause being counter to all three major definitions of Libre/Open content (FSF, OSI, DFSG), the requirement to prevent recipients from being able to extract them from the game is antithetical to the creation of open-source games.

(Not to mention, even for closed-source, commercial games, it makes me nervous, given that things like Unity Asset Explorer, UE Viewer, etc. exist, since it’s never clear how much of an effort I’d be required to make to discharge said legal obligation.)

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Would you mind specifying a specific CC-BY version to make sure the legalities of this pack are perfectly clear?

(If you don’t have a preference, the simplest solution would be to pick CC-BY 4.0 for the Asset License field in the More Information box.)

I ask because I’m interested in promoting it in my Libre Game Assets collection.

Would you mind setting a formal license in the “More Information” box?

There are good reasons to do this to protect the people who want to use your creations… especially for users in jurisdictions like Germany.