In the past few days I've been browsing 3D asset marketplaces and repositories (I've been doing it for ages, but a lot recently). Many assets are paid for, others are free. In the past few days I've found suspicious activity on these sites, for example something sold on one site and given free on another site. I've recently reported many of these cases to the respective sites. The problem is, that now I look really closely at these models before buying them. I try to compare textures, geometry where I can, and poly count as tools for sniffing out property theft (copyright infringement).
I have bought some real bargains lately, and I know they're the real deal because I have spoken individually with the artists and am 99% I know it's the real deal. However how can I approach a store and have any confidence that what I'm buying isn't some reskinned asset ripped from a commercial game? (These are harder to spot as comparing geometry is harder)? I've tried to stick to reputable and popular sites, but I've already reported a number of people on these for abuse. It's worrying how often sellers aren't discovered by the site's owners or anyone else before I say something. For example there might be multiple thumbs up or 5 star reviews for people buying models that I've found out are actual rip-offs, or have been ripped off by someone else.
How can I know that a model I buy didn't come from some commercial game from 5 or 10 years ago, or from some mod from some point in time? Do I have any protection for example in future I release a commercial game and it's discovered that one of my assets from someone's mod or a commercial game from the past?
A while back I'd bought some products that seemed to be real bargains, and now that I'm a lot more cautious about these issues, I regret buying them.