Last week I reported (opens in new tab) that the waters of paid modding were cloudy as ever: the debut game mode for Dota 2's $1 Custom Game Pass was found to use others' assets without permission. That's in spite of Valve's assurance to our Chris Thursten (opens in new tab) that "the Dota team's curation of the process addresses this, requiring a custom game to be free of copyrighted materials to be considered for a pass."
Having adopted a less than conciliatory tone at first, over the weekend Roshpit Champions creator ChalkyBrush apologised and removed the offending content.
"I made a mistake in responding as if I knew what I was talking about without having an actual understanding of how it works," ChalkyBrush wrote on Reddit (opens in new tab). "The truth is you are right, the workshop art belongs to the artists. If this custom game is offering a Game Pass, it is not fair to the hours of time put into drawing the amazing images that you see in game.
"So the following actions are being taken:
- I am removing all unacceptable item icons from the game. I will push an update in a few hours. Once it is live all items that have icons from the workshop will only have a generic image. We will slowly recover item images by curating our own content. This is the only fair way to do it.
- I want to apologize to all the artists who I did not consult in using their amazing works. They spend hours pouring their hearts into this creative content and it is unfair to showcase them within Roshpit Champions with no credit to them."
The update is now live. ChalkyBrush has also asked artists interested in the project to get in touch and see if a deal can be reached. It's a much cleaner, more honourable end to the fiasco than we saw in the first round (opens in new tab) of paid modding.
Valve has yet to comment publicly, but the feeling is those copyright checks will need to be beefed up if the Custom Game Pass is to survive.