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Annette Singh @Troisnyx

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Lancashire, UK

Joined on 6/26/11

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On the GD fiasco: Time to clear up the air

Posted by Troisnyx - February 1st, 2017

First of all, a reading list BEFORE you tackle this post:

This should give you at least a little bit of background as to what has been going on, if your experience on this site as a regular or as a mod hasn't already (or, if you are uninitiated to what exactly the problem is).

From here on out, I am going to tackle a few misconceptions about what Newgrounds as a site is.


1. MYTH: Newgrounds will not exist without Geometry Dash

As EDM364 said, Newgrounds was responsible for the viral Numa Numa meme. You know, the guy with the dancing arms on his chair? We also brought TheWeebl, Edd Gould's stuff, Sexual Lobster, Egoraptor, James Lee and Hania Zdunek, and games like Alien Hominid, Cathode Raybots, Castle Crashers, Meat Boy. To say nothing about the rest of us users who are consistently bringing forth new content to keep it fresh.

Newgrounds is not solely about the audio. In fact, the primary function of Newgrounds has been to house animations and video games. Art and audio came later, if you recall your Newgrounds history.



2. MYTH: Newgrounds only exists to serve the needs of Geometry Dash


@TomFulp created this site as an oasis for game devs, animators, artists, musicians and writers and anyone else who wanted to be a part of this odd, quirky and close-knit community. He has been fighting this battle for 21 years and counting. (Yes, that is how long this site has been here for.)

A lot of us see it as a springboard to get onto something better. @Dimrain47 now has a AAA job, and @Jazza is now getting the funding and support from patrons (among others) to make his artistic dream a career, and a demanding but fulfilling one. @Bosa had his music used in the Rio Olympics 2016 screenings. @matt-likes-swords started off with poor animation but worked hard here, and is now producing one of the best indie RPG series of all time, Epic Battle Fantasy. You may not hear about these things, but these are everyday greats that come out of Newgrounds. There is no other platform that does these things, and has its users so close-knit together.

As for us musicians, we too see the springboard effect happening. Many of us have gotten our first gig as a video game composer from Newgrounds (myself included). And I'm not just talking about Geometry Dash either. I'm talking about those countless other games that wound up on Steam, the Game Jams and Ludum Dares, the competitions we hold.

Because of the fruits it has been producing, we of course need to go through upheavals and prune it every so often, protect this site should anything happen to it.



3. MYTH: Newgrounds music is copyright-free.


On Newgrounds, we use the Creative Commons licence, which is a form of intellectual property right similar to copyright. Therefore, rules apply when honouring the licence -- if not, your stuff can be DMCAed similar to when a copyright holder does it. Several Newgrounds users including @Envy and @Back-From-Purgatory successfully DMCAed their songs on YouTube, Soundcloud and iTunes just citing the Creative Commons licence, back when we had that prolific audio thief whose initials I shall only spell out as DH.

So what exactly does the CC licence entail? Well, there are two types:

  • Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike
  • Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works

There are also variations of that licence removing the "noncommercial" bit at the centre for people who allow their tracks to be used in paid games and stuff, but that is rare. Most of us have the Noncommercial bit slapped on to our licence.

On each audio track, you can find the CC licence on the bottom left that tells whether the work can be used or not. It's a small bit of text, but an important bit of text nonetheless that tells you that person's intentions when sharing the track.



4. MYTH: Royalty free music means completely free of charge music.


This, as we know, is complete nonsense. Audiojungle sells royalty-free music. Just because something is royalty free, doesn't mean it is completely free.

I had people condemning me for putting up that petition on the basis that we shouldn't be asking for funds for our music, since it's royalty free.

This brings me back to the CC licence above: a lot of the tracks will say, you cannot use this track without making specific arrangements with the artist. A "specific arrangement" does not mean a carte blanche to use a track in Geometry Dash without permission -- which, unfortunately, is what most people think it is. A specific arrangement would involve you actually asking the permission of all involved. The same applies to RobTop as well. A track unknowingly entered into Geometry Dash is a track which unknowingly breaks the law at times. And on top of that, thinking that no artist should be given any recompense for these pieces of music is bad enough as it is.



5. MYTH: RobTop spent a year or so on his game and you musicians only spent 2-3 weeks on your pieces at most, therefore he should be getting all the funding and not you.


There goes the old adage of treating musicians like shit again. No, seriously, this thing did indeed get brought up.

Music is what makes the game, and without it, the game might as well be a bland piece of crap not worth selling. By that same logic, the musician deserves his just wages.



6. MYTH: Dimrain47, Waterflame, Xtrullor, and RealFaction got popular because of Geometry Dash, and nothing else.


This, of course, is a complete and utter load of bollocks. They were popular long before Geometry Dash even came into the scene. I will grant you that Geometry Dash did give them a lift in the number of fans at times.

But to attribute their popularity, and by extension, the site's popularity, solely and only to Geometry Dash, is false.

Personal anecdote: Nearly every year there is a high-profile audio contest here called the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch (NGADM for short). I say 'high-profile,' because the whole site watches it pretty much. It's quite ruthless, the competition. Anyway...

In the 2012 NGADM I met @Waterflame in the semi-finals. The first thing I told myself to do was to steel my nerves and not be fazed by his popularity and his fans. We talked, and we even became net friends. Of course, owing to his hard-earned fans, there were a lot more responses on his track.

Yes, because (gasp!) Waterflame was popular and had fans even back then. This concept somehow seems foreign to a good number of people who commented on my last newspost.

I'm not saying this out of spite -- I'm just saying this for purposes of illustration. Back then, none of us musicians had it cheap. Yes, certain games gave more fans than others. That's often the way it goes. But with the exception of a few isolated cases, everyone was fairly respectful actually. I mean, I look at, for example, @Phyrnna with her fanbase, part of which came from Epic Battle Fantasy because she scores the games, but she has also earned praise for her solo work. And bar a few, her fans have been a very respectful bunch.

While there are level-headed Geometry Dash users around, which we are all grateful for, the problem is when you've got the really toxic ones, turning the game into a box of nails as someone else put it, attributing the site's popularity solely and only to the game, and therefore doing with it, and its musicians, as they please, trampling on them and treating them like crap.

This is not so. Newgrounds may have its dark and edgy and sometimes even 18+ bits and pieces, and the General forum can sometimes be a cesspool, but otherwise, we're built on respect. The same with its musicians. We would be more than happy to respect you -- just treat us the same.



7. MYTH: Troisnyx, RealFaction and EDM364, among others, want Geometry Dash removed forever.


I will give you that there are indeed some of us regulars who are sick of how a big portion of the GD community has treated us on NG, and take it as grounds for the complete removal of the game. But many of us simply wanted change. We were fed up of being taken for a ride.

I cannot speak for @RealFaction and @EDM364 (and my other fellow mods @NekoMika and @Mich), but I can speak for myself, and here is my stance on the state of affairs:

For one, that petition brought to light a lot of issues happening as a result of the influx of disobedient GD users. The garden variety GD users actually helped our Audio Cleanup Thread, flagging songs as they went. Examples I can think of right off the top of my head are @GDHexhammer and @BlueAlpha14. But even they, too, were sick of the state of affairs. As were a lot of us regulars, who saw these things happening day by day.

That the game got removed from Steam as a result of copyright flagging by RealFaction set off a spark, which was long believed to be as a result of that petition I wrote on change.org. But if anything, it also brought to light just how important cooperation with all of us was needed, which we on NG found was severely lacking for three years. Seriously, three years of contacting RobTop and no joy, and not one of us knew the upper echelons were already at it working at hotfixes for the game, until after the petition was written. There must have been a communication error somewhere.

It set off a strong message, that we musicians weren't gonna be taken for a ride by people who either didn't know, didn't want to know, or didn't care about intellectual property rights. (I mean, allowances can be made for those who legit didn't know, but those are few and far between among the bad apples.)

I remember when @Zhenmuron started the thread for Geometry Dash back in 2013 on the Audio Forum. I remember how thrilled we were with the initial idea. And let that be the spirit of the agreement with which NG and RobTop decided to collaborate:

The music would be used by GD users, to give NG musicians time in the spotlight which they previously did not have. People would ask for permission for use, and there would be a respectful air all around.

But instead, from day one of its release, many of its users who did wind up here on Newgrounds did not honour that. We were treated as a weaker partner in this agreement, with many people bullying me saying "OH GEOMETRY DASH IS A BIGGER COMMUNITY THAN YOURS SO YOU'RE GONNA GET FUCKED IF YOU STAND UP FOR YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS." I had several hateful messages along those lines. And I'm probably not the only one who got them.

Is that the way to honour RobTop's intentions? Come on, I think not.

Ideally, if the game remains but with an overhauled permissions system for musicians here on NG (and within the game's coding), I would not mind giving this another chance. I also welcome reconciliation between the GD community and the NG community, and for us to understand the culture behind those two. However: if none of this is accorded properly, and push really comes to shove, then and only then, will I campaign for the game's total removal. I probably am not able to do it just now, but I think that the petition can be voided soon, if it means that progress is happening.

Comments (52)

Do not blame the game or Robert. Play the game first and then you'll change it all differently.

No, I have played the game before through my fiancé's phone. I still hold the exact same views.

So you played the game...

Would it better i've the game gets a new system? RobTop would be the one, who choose the songs, that are allowed.

Do you like the game? It would be better if you talk with Lord RobTop himself.

I don't like how it ends, so...

Yes, stealing other songs for Geometry Dash makes me angry, but hey. Please, Steam is enough, please give us the mobile versions, this end is just...i'm just sad :(

I could cry, but i have no person who talk with me, i could cry for my entire life... Unnecessary, please to with Robert Topala.

We tried. For THREE YEARS.
It finally took that petition for something to happen.

Just dont blame the game. I also feel angry to people upload pirated songs. If GD is a human, the the song pirates are the cancer cells.

The ridiculous responses you've been receiving even in the face of pointing all this out just sort of proves our point, doesn't it? Well done writing this post. All of this needed to be said, because some people just don't get it.

I'd leave the petition up until changes are in place. The game violates our rights UNTIL it no longer requires us to totally disable downloads to disallow use in GD despite ALREADY selecting non-commercial licenses. Without pressure I suspect there will be no change except for disallowing IDs of RealFaction's music, which is the lazy route that has been taken so far to "solve" any issues.

Oi... somebody remembers me. <3

((No, I'm not coming back... just a surprise hello))

Do you know that Robtop works alone in his game?

No, @BrentHeMan works with him.


Waterflame's response, in case you missed it

Excuse me but ya'll thinking about yourselves. Have you ever thought about the innocent kids playing geometry dash on their pc's not minding the issue about your music being illegally downloaded? Just because you're trying to contact RobTop for "three years" and not getting a reply means that you want to eliminate geometry dash for good. RobTop is an indie gamedev. If you don't know what an indie gamedev means then i suggest you search it on google. Being an independent (there i said the un-abbreviated word for indie) game developer requires A LOT of time to make your game. Making your game for 24/7. Even i myself can't get in contact with robert topala himself via email. Nobody else can i believe. And you're just here ranting about wanting geometry dash taken down? Geometry dash was born in 2013 if i can recall correctly. Robert himself and only himself has been developing it for 5 years. Imagine deceloping your game "for people to enjoy" for 5 years and until one day your game that you've been working really hard on gets taken down on a game store. And you guys want it down for not getting a reply on an email regarding illegally downloading music for 3 years? I won't even care about that.

Most musicians in newgrounds... wait lemme change that... around the world including non-newgrounds musicians make music because their fans enjoy it. Waterflame remained neutral to this situation, not picking anyone's side. Xtrullor is mad at the gd community because of Waterflame, not people illegally downloading his music. Maybe you're the one who's in it for the money, not them.

Speaking of Nintendo, maybe Cartoon network's next... ;) if there will be a hot fix, IT WOULD TAKE LONG TO MAKE IT HAHAHHAAH... like I said ROBTOP WORKS ALONE hahahaha... Keep it up Rub and NG

To rephrase everything that i said in my previous comment

It's not your petition that got gd taken down on steam. It's not even your website that was responsible. It's just robtop himself who took it down. Him and your website are just fixing the ways how audio works on geometry dash. So get that in your pretentious little head.

I'm not gonna lie, I really didn't like you after I saw the petition and how you responded to people in the comments. After reading this, though, I can see where you're coming from a bit more.
Like I said, I suggest a "usable in GD" setting. that artists can enable or disable whenever they upload a song. Honestly, I don't know why it wasn't like that from the beginning.

Ok. Sorry for being so hateful to you mods out there on newgrounds on my previous comments. But taking down geometry dash itself from steam IS NOT A VIABLE SOLUTION. Come on, you're mods. You can do more than just that. Not everyone uploads copyrighted songs.

Ya know what i'd suggest? Put a big fat warning for everytime they try to upload a song. But considering that (i assume) kids don't just read warnings, then I don't know what more i can think of. You're mods, you've got to be smarter than i am. Please reply if you can, i would like to know your thought.

All is well, all is forgiven.

Warnings have indeed been put in place but you are spot on: they ignore these warnings. There is even now a banner to be put in place but we are more than certain it will not work.

While I agree you have to go from the ground up, the 3 year silence and the ignorance led us to send shockwaves.

What is being worked on now is a hotfix by BrentHeMan and RobTop, but as of this point, it is being kept under wraps and we do not yet know what it is.

Read this point and had to laugh:
"5. MYTH: RobTop spent a year or so on his game and you musicians only spent 2-3 weeks on your pieces at most, therefore he should be getting all the funding and not you."

Even if it only took 2-3 weeks to write a particular piece, it took the composer/producer their whole life to write that piece. Without the knowledge acquired and years of practice to get to the point to writing that piece, it wouldn't exist. Those years before composing are vital to be able to get that voice and sound for their music. Time spent not writing does not deduct from one's composing life. Moreover, it is even necessary before a piece is even conceived. Music doesn't make the composer, but rather it is the composer that makes the music. Well, duh.

I'm going to be updating my post to reflect this. Our outpouring of frustration and suffering of digital slings and arrows is not for nothing.


I will update it when I get back onto my PC.

I got TRIGGERED because of all these myths.

Hehehehe, what did you expect, a trigger warning? I don't do trigger warnings mate. Maybe others do, but I personally don't.

Take your time. To his credit, Rob did basically tell people to STFU hating on us

And he was proactive about it from what I heard. Props.

idk how dumb most of our community is to you guys but i never believed any of those myths. hopefully you understand that even if you saw some dumb gd players commenting stupid stuff, we're not all the exact same and there are people in this community that aren't completely braindead. i dont care about anything else besides that you know that every single person in the community is not as stupid as the ones you see.

I did mention, there are level-headed, garden variety GD players, but in light of everything that has happened, they seem to be overshadowed by hatred.

Very happy an amicable agreement was reached, but disappointed with how the Geometry Dash community has handled this situation. It's a shame to be associated with the community in any way here, since any logic is eclipsed by the sheer immaturity of many involved. I stand by my claim that GD is full of decent people, but based on immediate material evidence, that's not a claim I can really back up.

I'm glad musicians' rights are being defended here, despite the drama, and proud to call myself a member of the audio portal.

Likewise, I am glad too. Hug?

Being in the firing line by many of these uncouth people, I cannot help but think that the decent people are a minority, but again, I am open to being wrong on this.

Alright, I agree with most of these points, although there are a few I would like to address.

First of all, yes. Music does make the game, and it would be more bland without it. The base of the game used songs that were approved by the creators. People would have been fine with using just those. They dealt with it for about two years before RobTop implemented the custom music mechanic. Now that there will be an option to choose for music not to be used in Geometry Dash, it shouldn't be a problem. I think your logic is a bit skewed when you say that the musician deserves their wages. Let's think about that for a second. The game is normally two dollars. There are 21 songs that are hardwired into the game, all of which have the artist's approval. There are also the game mechanics and art. Those three things make up the majority of the game. Now, if you do the math, the amount the musicians get would be minuscule, and I mean a fraction of a cent for each copy of the game sold. It's a genuine concern that musicians get something in return, but paying them that little would be close to doing nothing.

Now, the second thing I have more of a problem with. You, as moderators of this website, represent the website. Your actions and responses become the website's actions and responses. No matter how much Tom can say that Newgrounds is not responsible, the moderators, especially RealFaction, EDM364, and yourself showed that Newgrounds was responsible. You also generalized the Geometry Dash community and then proceeded to say pretty mean things about them. If this website got taken down, I'm positive some members of this community would be just as hostile as members of the Geometry Dash community were. You say you want us to make up to each other, and you have what you wanted, but I have yet to see an apology from any of the moderators, especially one from yourself. You've had your justice. Now it's time to say sorry.

You may ask why you need to apologize. It's quite simple actually. You acted on your own, and quite ignorantly for that matter. Just because RobTop hasn't responded to you in two years doesn't mean he's not trying to fix the problem, but you assumed that he didn't care. It's been made quite obvious that he was working on a solution. It's also been made quite obvious that TomFulp didn't hear about this, because he posted a couple things about it on his Twitter. Maybe you should have tried more than one solution to the problem you think you're having?

I mean no disrespect or ill will with this post. I feel that since you have what you wanted and you started a bigger problem with it, you along with a couple others should apologize. That doesn't mean the Geometry Dash community was justified in saying what they did. They weren't. In the end though, words are words and the posters are just kids hiding behind their monitors. You were the one that took action, and for that I feel you should at least let them know that you acted on your own. You, by doing this, caused the whole Newgrounds website to go under a lot of fire.

So if you'd really like recuperation, you need to take responsibility for your actions.

Negligible ad revenue is STILL ad revenue, and Newgrounds is very strict about this sort of thing. I still get my few cents' worth from each song here where ads are enabled, and believe me, especially for a popular artist, it does add up. If for me, who has only 555 fans, it can get to about $10, how much more will it be for someone who has 10,000+?

I did not act on my own, by the way. I acted with a lot of support from EDM364, and a number of regulars. The other mods tacitly gave me their support too. And it wasn't just me who tried to contact him over three years. @EDM364 did. @NekoMika monitored his postings and tried to find a decent time to communicate with him, but no joy. If I recall correctly, @GDHexhammer and @BlueAlpha tried to contact others on the forums who would get in touch with him over the same issue.

It's nice to see that you raise these points -- but as far as I am concerned, I did what I felt was right. I, too, went under the line of fire, not just Newgrounds. In fact, I took most of the flak for standing up for those issues in probably what was the only way to get this resolved for good. Anyone who was trying to contact a person who had in his hands the key to the solution of one's problems would be desperate if their contact failed for so long.

Or put it this way: if you had an acquaintance, and only he could help you with a major issue you had, and no one else, because he had the capability, would you not go ballistic if he didn't respond for so long?

I take responsibility, yes -- but no way am I apologising for something which is effectively right.

ok, that is good enough for me. thanks for being aware that the community isn't all bad :)


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