Skyrim paid mod pulled from Steam

One of Valve's featured user-made mods removed for using animations from another mod without permission

Valve expanded its Steam Workshop yesterday, allowing Skyrim mod-makers to commoditize their efforts and, as it turned out, the efforts of others. As reported by Destructoid, a fishing animation mod among the initial batch of add-ons Valve featured was pulled from sale after it was found to contain content from another user's mod.

The fishing mod was created by Chesko and aqqh, but incorporated animations from Fore's New Idles in Skyrim, a free mod created by Fore. When a user in the mod's Steam page asked if Chesko had received permission to monetize those elements, Fore stepped in to answer the question.

"No, he has not," Fore posted. "And making money with mods is totally against my attitude. It's the end of a working and inventive modding community."

Chesko responded to say that a non-disclosure agreement with Valve was in place that prevented talking to others about the rollout of the new Steam Workshop program, much less seeking permission. Chesko mentioned asking Valve specifically about selling mods that rely on content from other mods, and "was told that if the download is separate and free, it was fair game." However, Chesko did agree to pull the mod and issue refunds.

Valve's latest Steam Workshop initiative has drawn plenty of criticism early on. Beyond grousing over the 25 percent cut of revenues mod creators currently receive (an amount determined by the modded game's developer or publisher), a petition to have Valve remove the paid mods from the Steam Workshop entirely because "mods should be a free creation" has attracted almost 27,000 signatures as of this writing.

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Latest comments (7)

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 2 years ago
Chesko mentioned asking Valve specifically about selling mods that rely on content from other mods, and "was told that if the download is separate and free, it was fair game."
I think this is the first time, I have disagreed so heavily with Valve. Fair game? Seriously? Just because someone releases something free, does NOT mean you can then go and take their work and use it for yourself without permission. Is their code under creative commons? No? Then ... hell no Valve, it's not "fair game".
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
Yeah, I genuinely can't believe Valve said that. Or, rather, I can believe a junior member of staff said it, but can't believe that's the official word from higher-up. Considering copyright infringement has occured in the recent past with a CS:GO skin, it seems a very strange stance to take.

All that said, I'm pretty sure/hopeful that this stance will be corrected, and that permission and attribution will be required soon enough.
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Logan Borsos2 years ago
The problem with that, Brook Davidson, is that the mod is already a derivation of Bethesda's IP. The rights belong to Bethesda, and if they've opted in to Valves program, agreeing to certain terms, then I can certainly see that being an official and legitimate stance for valve to take. I dont claim to side either way on this issue though.
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Show all comments (7)
Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 2 years ago
It does not matter if it's Bethesda's IP. The code written for a mod isn't theirs regardless, and they do not own it. If the person joins the program, the only code they now own is THAT persons code. Code that isn't the mod authors code, can't legally be used since he or she doesn't have the authority to. It's not theirs to sell.

A mod author can sell their own code, not other peoples code.

Unless of course there is some loop hole that I don't know.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 2 years ago
Hmm, tricky subject. Is it really different to include a free mod in your paid one, than to say it requires it to be installed to work?

Simply re-packaging someone else work is obviously wrong, and plagiarism is also wrong.

But as long as the sources are given credit, can it not simply be left up to the user whether they want to pay for what is on offer or not, or simply use the free component?

Not know more technical details makes it awkward to decide specifically about the merits of this particular case.

@Brook, I'm pretty sure legally Bethesda own everything, regardless of who wrote it. Ethically is something else.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 2 years ago
How can Bethesda own code they didn't write? Are you saying their agreements state somewhere that any code written as a mod belongs to them? If that is the case ... that would mean they could take everyone's mod and sell it without giving the original mod author any of the profit.

I somehow doubt this is actually the case. I think a citation is in order lol. Keeping in mind, I a not saying I am write here. I could be wrong, I just would like evidence this is actually the case.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
@ Brook

Yup, he's right. Skyrim Creation Kit EULA (presumably it's been updated now.):
You automatically grant to Bethesda Softworks the irrevocable, perpetual, royalty free, sublicensable right and license under all applicable copyrights and intellectual property rights laws to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, perform, display, distribute and otherwise exploit and/or dispose of the New Materials (or any part of the New Materials) in any way Bethesda Softworks, or its respective designee(s), sees fit.
And, yes, they could've just stolen people's mods and sold them on, but even Bethesda isn't that dumb. Which makes this paid mod system even better, imo, since the mod creators have (apparently?) more rights than before (even if the split is still crappy).

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 27th April 2015 2:45pm

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