An axe puportedly designed by the Defence of the Ancients 2 community has been withdrawn by Valve after it was discovered the item had been copied from South Korean MMO Aion.
Valve allows the community to make and design items for sale in some of its games with the Steam Workshop service, and even shares some of the profit with the creator.
Items are only released to consumers after they recieve a certain number of community ratings, but the copycat escaped undetected, and 25,000 players purchased the axe before it was removed.
Valve has banned the item’s ‘designer’, severed axe-related profits from his account, and reimbursed customers who bought the weapon with an alternative bit of digital craftsmanship.
"The vast majority of contributions to the Workshop are incredibly creative and fundamentally original," wrote Valve designer Alden Kroll on the Steam Workshop blog.
"Where that hasn’t been true, community reporting has led to the take-down of over 1400 items from the Workshop to date."
This self-policing policy has worked well until now, and Kroll worries about the consequences of copying.
"This has worked great for content that exists only on the Workshop, but it becomes more complicated if a Workshop item becomes offered for sale on Steam or in a game, and the item later turns out to infringe on someone else’s work," he said.
"We depend on the community to ensure originality, by requiring all Workshop contributors to promise that their contributions are original, and allowing the community to identify copies and plagiarism via the report flag."
"The copying has had negative consequences for everyone involved."