Quick and decisive are not words recently associated with Valve given the recent seepage of questionable greenlit and Early Access games rife with dishonest advertising and even copyright infringement. Air Control, for instance, is still being sold on Steam despite numerous complaints and media attention revealing how customers have been misinformed and assets have been taken from others without permission.
But a very different Valve reacted to copyright infringement in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Valve was sent a DMCA takedown notice in regards to two community created weapon skins, the M4A4 Howl and a sticker, and action was swift and punishments were strict.
“Recently we received a DMCA takedown notice regarding copyright infringement with respect to the the M4A4 | Howl, and a community sticker, Howling Dawn, claiming that the artwork was not originally created by the stated contributors. This matter is extremely serious, and we have taken appropriate action to resolve it,” Valve told the CS:GO Community.
Valve listed the steps it's taken to not only resolve the issue, but ensure that it doesn’t happen again; at least from those particular creators.
- Both contributors have received Steam Community bans. They receive no proceeds from either item, and both items have been removed from the game.
- For owners of the M4A4 | Howl and Howling Dawn sticker, those items have been replaced by an alternative designed by the CS:GO team. These items will never be produced again, and have been assigned the ‘Contraband’ rarity.
- All other in-game items that involve at least one of the contributors in their revenue share have been discontinued.
- The Huntsman Case and Community Sticker Capsule have been revised to replace the copied and discontinued items.
- Moving forward, we will no longer work with the contributors and we will not ship any existing Workshop submission that credits their involvement.
On top of Valve’s quick response, how they’ve managed to deal with those who purchased the skin is admirable. Those customers have, in fact, lucked out, as they are now the owners of a skin designed by the CS:GO team.
To make such a snafu less likely in the future, Valve asks that the community be vigilant. “To ensure that we don’t have issues in the future, we need your help. Please only contribute original work. If you see any items that appear to violate the Workshop copyright policy, please direct the copyright owner to tell us via Valve’s DMCA takedown page. Together we can keep the Workshop a safe place for artists and their hard work.”