Paid Skyrim Mod Turns Into A Clusterf**k

Paid Skyrim Mod Turns Into a Clusterfuck (UPDATE)

Valve has kicked off a new service on Steam Workshop that allows people to sell their mods. It only started yesterday. And today, things are already getting messy.

One of the mods Valve is promoting on Steam Community is for fishing called "Art of the Catch". However, the modder behind it has already taken it down following allegations that he had used another modder's work without permission to make money off that content.

Paid Skyrim Mod Turns Into a Clusterfuck (UPDATE)

Yet, as of posting, "Art of the Catch" is still one of the mods being cycled through the Steam Community site even though it's not longer for sale.

Here is the mod's page:

Paid Skyrim Mod Turns Into a Clusterfuck (UPDATE)

As Destructoid and PC Gamer point out, "Art of the Catch" was created by modders Chesko and aqqh. It also allegedly uses assets from another mod by a modder known as Fore without permission to make money off those assets.

Fore apparently confronted Chesko (though, the original comment seems to have been deleted). Here is a screencap via Furious George on Steam Community:

Paid Skyrim Mod Turns Into a Clusterfuck (UPDATE)

There are also allegations among Steam Community members that people are being banned from the forums for speaking out against this.

Via Destructoid, here's another screencap of a comment that's supposedly been deleted:

Paid Skyrim Mod Turns Into a Clusterfuck (UPDATE)

Yesterday, Kotaku reported that many Steam users were troubled by Valve's decision to allow people to charge for their mods. This certainly seems like one reason why.

UPDATE: The modder Chesko has written a long post on Reddit explaining that he had pulled Art of the Catch himself after a conversation with Fore. We've clarified this post accordingly.

Picture: Chesko


    Yep, the shit storm begins, the issue is that this will simmer down, people ripping people off will get banned the market will stabilize and then.... We will have paid mods on Steam. Which is horrible.

    Thank goodness, for a second there I thought Valve / Steam was better than EA / Activision thanks for clearing that up.

      Pretty much, I've gone from the attitude of loving Valve to 'Fuck Valve'.

        Yeah, I generally don't have any issues with Valve, but I'm liking them a whole lot less for this.

    Just a thought, where does this all stand legally in terms of consumer rights in Australia? Valve offers a 24 hour refund window, but consumer law trumps that if the product doesn't work as intended And mods can be extremely hit and miss at the best of times.

      Valve have to bow to our laws. For the most part they do.

    Well Valve. You truly have innovated in ways of fucking yourself royally.

    This right here. This is why, as a modder, I have big f*cking issues with monetising mods on Steam. I don't have too many issues with modders wanting something in return for their hard work, but ownership and fair use can be an absolute minefield already. Add money to the mix and tensions increase exponentially. This was a bad, bad idea and will only serve to hurt modding and modders.

    And since FNIS is one of the bedrock mods for Skyrim, this is going to MAJOR case of self-inflicted stupidity. This monetisation idea could seriously ruin modding in general, especially if devs get skittish decide to avoid the heat by making games more difficult to mod.

      Devs could always pull a Nintendo. Demand that mods either be blocked by Valve (YouTube) or sign up for a Dev-run program where all the profits go to the Devs (Nintendo) for using their work to create something entirely different but which makes money, and give the modders (Let's Players) a little cut. After all, Valve (YouTube) doesn't HAVE to facilitate income-generation for the product, they can always try to post it somewhere else that no-one visits. After all, people seem to be OK with Nintendo pulling off that kind of bullshit with Let's Play videos, and THOSE are much more likely to be found as not breaches of copyright law under Fair Use (if anyone will ever agree to test it in court instead of strong-arming the market).

      Frankly, I find this pretty disgusting. I always considered modding to be one of the last few havens of creativity free from financial influence. Like... maybe if a modder is fantastic or clever they get scouted thanks to their portfolio, but monetizing the entire arena? Where else is safe from money-grabbing bullshit?

      Get-rich-quick dreams and scams and profitable theft are the least of my concerns compared to the protective huddling everyone will be doing over their work to make sure they aren't getting fucked, instead of freely distributing their (credited) work to make something even better through collaboration.

        Like... maybe if a modder is fantastic or clever they get scouted thanks to their portfolio
        This. Isnt that how we got CounterStrike? And wasnt the BF42 Desert Combat mod a major influence on BF2?

        I'm old so may be remembering things wrong.

          Yeah. Major influence, and the team behind it got hired and worked on BF2. Not that things worked out that well for Trauma studios after they got bought by DICE for that mod... they worked on that for about a year before getting closed. After they got closed, they re-formed under Kaos studios and got paid by THQ. They made Frontlines: Fuel of War and Homefront. Which... dropped 25% off THQ's stock price and they were dismantled again. I think I remember reading an article about the shift from modding team to dev team and how handling the cultural shift was rough.

          They can't all be Portal-like success stories. :/ Once you actually get IN to the business, you're... well. Subject to the fuckery of being in the business.

          Half of the people id recruited for Doom II got the position thanks to being able to freely create .wads for Doom. Then there's the original Dota and Quake Team Fortress...

      Presumably this paid mod thing is only going to be available in cases where the publisher has enabled it. A mod is a derivative work of the original game, and while non-commercial distribution may fall under the US copyright "fair use" provisions, a paid mod probably doesn't.

      I suspect that the publisher gets a cut from every mod sale in exchange for allowing the sale to go ahead. If that's the case, why would a developer want to make their game more difficult to mod?

    If you want high quality mods you need people who can earn money from it. Look at dota. The money you can make from your community stuff is enough to be a full time job for some.

    I have been making games professionally for over 15 years. I strongly support this move by Steam to help lift the quality and sustainability of high quality mods.

    Last edited 25/04/15 11:02 am

    The reddit post from the author of the infringing mod is the most reasonable thing I have seen written on the Internet for a long time.

    Of course, the modding community is a complex, tangled web of interdependencies and contributions. There were a lot of questions surrounding the use of tools and contributed assets, like FNIS, SKSE, SkyUI, and so on. The answer we were given is:
    [Valve] Officer Mar 25 @ 4:47pm
    Usual caveat: I am not a lawyer, so this does not constitute legal advice. If you are unsure, you should contact a lawyer. That said, I spoke with our lawyer and having mod A depend on mod B is fine--it doesn't matter if mod A is for sale and mod B is free, or if mod A is free or mod B is for sale.

    Sounds pretty much like he explicitly asked how dependencies would work and was given an answer that he acted on. He probably should've got a lawyer. But it's a fucking mod for chrissake.

    At any rate... Copyright working right:
    After a discussion with Fore, I made the decision to pull Art of the Catch down myself. (It was not removed by a staff member) Fore and I have talked since and we are OK.
    Or... is it working? Here's Copyright showing how you have to be careful what rights you sign away:
    I have also requested that the pages for Art of the Catch and Arissa be completely taken down. Valve's stance is that they "cannot" completely remove an item from the Workshop if it is for sale, only allow it to be marked as unpurchaseable. I feel like I have been left to twist in the wind by Valve and Bethesda.
    Real-time update - I was just contacted by Valve's lawyer. He stated that they will not remove the content unless "legally compelled to do so", and that they will make the file visible only to currently paid users. I am beside myself with anger right now as they try to tell me what I can do with my own content. The copyright situation with Art of the Catch is shades of grey, but in Arissa 2.0's case, it's black and white; that's 100% mine and Griefmyst's work, and I should be able to dictate its distribution if I so choose. Unbelievable.
    So. Copyright... Not working, then.

    And the champions of justice - Nexus? Not as clean as you might like to think.
    I am also considering removing my content from the Nexus. Why? The problem is that Robin et al, for perfectly good political reasons, have positioned themselves as essentially the champions of free mods and that they would never implement a for-pay system. However, The Nexus is a listed Service Provider on the curated Workshop, and they are profiting from Workshop sales. They are saying one thing, while simultaneously taking their cut. I'm not sure I'm comfortable supporting that any longer.

    So. Don't just read what people say, look at what they do. It'll be interesting to see Nexus rationalize their use (and profit) from the system.

    Last edited 25/04/15 11:47 am

    this can of worms is open, just wait till devs stop patching things, and instead release paid mods to fix deliberate issues, increase inventory space mod $5, being able to bind keys to actions mod $2, mod to fix mouse scrolling not changing weapons $4

    first they stripped out cotnent for dlc releases, now they will strip out features for mod releases.

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