Valve has banned a couple of Steam Community contributors and released a candid statement to its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
creators, after discovering that the artwork for one of the most popular user-created weapons in the game was infringed upon.
The M4A4 | Howl was created by a pair of CS:GO
players, and usually sells for around $175 due to its rarity. However, Valve said today that
it has received a DMCA takedown notice regarding copyright infringement for the artwork on the weapon, alongside a community sticker submitted by the same duo.
It turns out that the artwork was not originally created by the pair. As a result, Valve has banned both players, and will not be sending proceeds from the sales of the weapon to these players.
"When we launched the CS:GO
Items Workshop, our goal was to provide artists with a space to share their creative ideas," explains the statement. "By design, the Items Workshop has very low friction for artists to submit their work – new contributions do not require Valve review or approval."
Workshop contributors must sign a legal agreement when they register for the Workshop, confirming that all their contributions are original. As a result, these two creators must now share liability for the claims of copyright infringement with Valve.
"The cost for everyone involved in the resolution of this issue has been significant, including our players and community members," the statement continues. "It takes considerable time and effort for the CS:GO
team to resolve copyright infringement disputes, but fortunately copying is rare – the CS:GO
community has submitted tens of thousands of unique entries to the Workshop, and we have shipped dozens of your designs without a problem.
Interestingly, Valve has opted to remove the weapon from the game, and replace the artwork on the weapon for anyone who has already bought it, while slapping a new "Contraband" level of rarity on the weapon. As a result, the price of the weapon has shot up to $400 in places.
Gamasutra delved into the underbelly of the Steam Workshop
in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
back in March, finding that players are trading and selling weapons outside of the Workshop.