Skyrim Paid Mod Removed Amid Controversy

Steam's new program will lead to the "end of a working and inventive modding community," writes one modder.

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One of the first paid mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released on Thursday as part of Steam's new program has been removed from sale amid claims that it contained the work of another modder.

The mod in question was for a fishing animation for the open-world fantasy RPG; Valve even promoted this mod on the new Steam Workshop page (though it's since been replaced).

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The mod was developed by Chesko and aqqh, but as detailed in this Destructoid report, it actually contained assets from another modder Fore's New Idles in Skyrim creation without his permission.

Fore wrote in the Steam forums in a since-removed post (but captured by Destructoid) that Chesko and aqqh never asked for his permission to use his assets in their Skyrim fishing mod. He went on to say that "making money with mods is totally against my attitude" and claimed that Steam's new paid-for mod system will lead to the "end of a working and inventive modding community."

Chesko and aqqh removed the Skyrim fishing mod from sale, providing the following explanation:

"I would like to make it clear that I have been under a non-disclosure agreement for over a month, and was unable (not unwilling) to contact others. I asked Valve specifically about content that requires other content, and was told that if the download was separate and free, it was fair game."

"In the case of this mod, the animations are not required and the mod continues to work. However, I will defer to Fore's decision, which will issue a refund to all subscribers."

On Valve's new Steam Workshop website for paid mods, the developer says people who see someone posting content they've created should issue a DMCA takedown notice right away.

However, modders are allowed to use the work of other modders, provided they get approval first. The Steam Workshop even has a revenue-sharing option to allow creators to allocation portions of item revenue with other collaborators or co-authors.

Other Skyrim paid mods
Other Skyrim paid mods

But Valve again reminds modders: "If your creation builds on another mod or utilizes content from another mod, you should first ask their permission."

You can see all the paid (and free) Skyrim mods here.

In announcing the new Steam Workshop paid-for mod support, Valve said it is a way for gamers to support their favorite modders to allow them to build even more unique creations.

"By paying for mods and supporting the people that made them, you enable those artists and creators to continue working on their mods and inspire new modders to try their hand in creating new, higher quality items and experiences," the company said.

Meanwhile, Bethesda--the first publisher to allow paid-for mods with Skyrim as part of Steam's new program--offered the following statement on Thursday as part of the original announcement.

"Modding has been important to all our games for such a long time," Bethesda said. "We try to create worlds that come alive and you can make your own, but it's in modding where it truly does. Thanks again for all your incredible support over the years. We hope steps like this breathe new life into Skyrim for everyone."

Valve's new modding program launched only with Skyrim, but other supported titles will be announced in the coming weeks.

What do you think about Steam's new paid-for mod program? Let us know in the comments below!

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