I can make some very basic music and sound effects, but prefer to have some actual real audio happening. There are some audio that does support game development - Artlist for one. They state that the music and audio is fine to include in a game, as long as you don't offer them as a jukebox style where the player can select tracks. They also stated that the license is not transferrable, so I would need to ensure to prevent anyone from extracting the assets and grabbing the sounds/songs directly.

I am using MonoGame for my project with .NET Standard and .NET Core. Is there really a perfect way to prevent someone from accessing the files? Would encryption be recommended? Should I instead have my game download audio assets on startup from a website?


1 Answer 1


There are no perfect ways to protect content. If your game can read it, then somebody else who reverse engineers your game code can potentially read it.

It is possible to make it harder and harder for somebody to directly read the assets, or reverse engineer your code, but it is not possible to make it completely impossible.

Even if you made it really really hard to do so, somebody with a microphone pointed at the speakers when the game reproduces the sound can pick it up and steal it. This is called the analog hole.


That said, the restriction is on sublicensing the content. Somebody stealing your content doesn't mean that you sublicensed it to them. In other words, the one breaking the law is the person who stole the content, not you, since you didn't sublicense it.

In general, the idea behind these licenses is that the creators of the contents are okay with you putting it inside a large project, and as long as the content is not trivially re-offered (for example, as a jukebox), they're okay with it.

If you're concerned, you could consult a lawyer to interpret the specific licensing terms, and explain to you what you can and can't do. At the very least, you could contact the owners of the content and ask for a clarification.

All in all, I'm not sure how common it is for people to try to steal individual sound effects from a game. Sound effects by themselves are not very useful to a potential hacker, so the incentives for stealing them are not very high. Also, sound effects are really cheap to make or license, so I find it really hard to think a case of somebody going all the way to reverse engineer your game just to steal some sound effects, just because.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much for your response! I would assume I will at least need to make it more difficult that someone browsing the .exe locations and looking at the music folder to see all the .wav files. Should I encrypt them at least? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ethosik
    Dec 17, 2020 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ethosik: No, you should not. As the answer explains, trying to protect these assets is a waste of time. It will always fail against a dedicated adversary, and it's not something the license requires you to do. Spend your time making your game better instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jan 16, 2021 at 13:29

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