Despite RobTop unrating Geometry Dash levels with stolen assets in the past, "GD10" by Floppy was rated by RobTop. In this level, every part is stolen from another level.
The Geometry Dash commuity is divided by this decision. Some players believe the level deserves a rating due to it being in the credits of the Geometry Dash 10 Year Anniversary video. Others believe that is not a valid excuse to rate the level while unrating levels that use far less stolen assets.
I share a less black-and-white view.
Now, let's switch from fact to opinion.
Instead, I believe that all levels should follow the same rules. If GD10 is eligible for a rate, then so should levels like Natural Disaster that feature much less stolen assets.
I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with GD10 getting rated. Instead, I'm saying that if GD10 deserves to get rated, then so does other levels with stolen assets. The rules should apply to all levels.
In a nutshell, my opinion is: I think it’s cool that this is rated but I don’t think it’s fair.
I don't care what the rules are. Perhaps stolen assets should be allowed. I'm just saying the same rules should apply to all levels just the same.
This is where I recommend you stop reading this article. But if you have the patience to read through a more tradition, long-form article, feel free to continue.
Natural Disaster getting unrated set a new rule: levels with stolen assets cannot get rated. But is that a good rule? I'll discuss that after a few counter-arguments for why GD10 deserves to get rated, but other levels like Natural Disaster, shouldn't.
In my opinion, the third argument is the most valid, and I think that's where future discussion should stem from
Many will say that the situation is different for GD10, and that it deserves a rate because of its place in the official GD10 video. But I've yet to hear a good excuse for why that makes this level worthy of special privileges.
Some also say that since GD10 doesn't try to pass the parts off as their own, that makes it worthy of a rating whereas Natural Disaster unworthy due to its stolen assets being much more discrete. But this is an unfair comparison as GD10 features entire parts that are very well known whereas Natural Disaster only steals a couple assets at most.
And regardless, even if Natural Disaster recognized the creators of the original stolen assets (which it did before removing them altogether), I doubt the community would let it get rated. Hence why this argument doesn't make much sense.
By this logic, creators should be allowed to make an entire level from stolen assets and get it rated so long as they credit the original creators. Perhaps you agree with this idea, but I think many of the people that use this argument do not. If you use this argument but also agree with this idea, leave a comment on this article! I'd love to hear your reasoning.
This is one of the better arguments I've seen. And I can almost see myself agreeing with it, but it has some fatal flaws.
Unlike Natural Disaster, GD10 uses its stolen parts in a different context. In GD10's case, it uses the stolen parts in a montage of popular community levels.
If this is a rule, however, then that means all "montage levels" should be rated. And perhaps that's a good thing. I won't say whether it is or isn't. All I'm saying is that no matter the rules, they should apply to all levels, not just GD10.
If you believe that GD10 should be rated, then you should also believe that all "montage levels" should be rated. If you don't believe this, then you shouldn't use this argument as a defense. Instead, take a look at the first argument in this article, as with this logic, you are giving GD10 special privileges just for being in the official GD10 video. If you think there is another argument not discussed here that works with this logic, feel free to leave a comment on this article.
However, if you use this precedent, you will probably have to come up with a very weird list of exceptions. The way I see it, if your precedent needs to list exceptions, then it's not a great precedent.
Perhaps the only kind of context stolen assets should be allowed to be used in is montage levels. I see that as very unfair, however. Perhaps other contexts should be allowed.
Natural Disaster uses its stolen assets to compliment original designs rather than rip off the original level. Even Culuc, whom some assets were taken from, agreed that the level was original enough to deserve being rated.
Perhaps using stolen assets in such a way should be allowed. Culuc seems to think so. The problem with this argument is where we draw the line between allowing the use of stolen assets and disallowing their use.
While some might argue that there doesn't have to be a line, I would argue that there has to be. Stealing a part from a level to put into your level should probably not be allowed, at least not without significant modification.
Personally, I'd be fine if people used some assets I made for their own levels. But I might not be if they rip off an entire part from one of my levels and don't make significant transformations.
Perhaps something like fair use should be allowed in Geometry Dash.
This is the argument I would like future debate to stem from. The community needs to set some ground rules for when stolen assets should be allowed rather than making exceptions to certain levels for something as vague and undefined as "context."
Perhaps there should be some guidelines for rated levels. Guidelines that allow the same freedom we have now, but specifically disallow things like stolen levels and stolen assets in contexts that are not transformative.
Yes. It has since removed all stolen assets, yet remains unrated. Despite this, RobTop and Geometry Dash moderators have not yet given a reason for why it still remains unrated.
However, I share a view similar to Culuc. I think it should've remained rated even with its use of external assets. I would argue they were used transformatively, and with the level being original enough on its own, it deserves to get rated.
The biggest problem with this controversy is the lack of ground rules. We don't know what acceptable use of stolen assets are. As such, here is my proposed solution:
- We need some defined rules for rated levels. What is acceptable use of stolen assets? "Unspoken" rules are not good enough.
- No level deserves special privileges. The rules should apply to all levels just the same. Someone shouldn't get a rated level just because they are popular or had it featured in a popular video.
If these two points could be met, I believe controversies like this would be far less common. The issue is nobody really understands the rules—if there even are any.
Feel free to let me know your opinion in the comments. I'd love to spark some healthy discussion about this topic, as this is a discussion that needs to be had in order to determine what precedents there are for rated levels. And there are precedents—such as stolen levels not being allowed.
I did not go into this expecting to write a 1300 word opinion on the matter, but here we are.