Valve Drops the Hammer On Infringing Dota 2 Mace

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Dude committed plagiarism. When Zynga does it they're the devil, but when it's one dude punishing him makes *you* the bad guy? The hell sort of attitude is that?

I usually hate the idea of a universal ban over stupid crap, but usually that stupid crap is something relatively minor like "Talked smack" or "Made an angry forum post". Even cheating in a game, or modding a game can get you banned in a lot of these "services", but people usually just gloss it over with "lul he deserved it". But some guy actively breaks the law and now you have people running to his defense "Well he just lost a thousand dollars worth of games!" Nevermind the 24000 people he apparently ripped off, I guess. Or the trouble he cost Valve. Or the company he was plagiarizing. I mean, dude lost his video games. Harsh!

Could you imagine if he'd gotten into actual legal trouble(as he easily could have since plagiarism, and I can't stress this enough, is actually illegal)? The forums would explode into rage and fury and anon would probably hack Brazil or something.

Andy Chalk:
Call me old-fashioned, but I equate this with, say, EA sending a guy over to your house to take away all the games you legally purchased from EA because it caught you making and selling copies of one you didn't.

Fixed that for you.

If you bad-mouth an EA game on an EA forum and lose your Origin account and the games you purchased on it, that's evil.

If you pirate and sell an EA game and lose your Origin account and the games you purchased on it, then EA is well within their rights.

Let's not go throwing around the "ban" word, if we don't know what they banned him from. Was it a Steam ban, resulting in the loss of all his games? Was it a VAC ban so that he can no longer play DOTA 2 online? Was it a ban from adding things to Steam Workshop?

What VALVE said was vague. I think we'd be wise not to jump to conclusions about what they meant.

P.S. Thanks

Mr.Mattress:
Wait, Dota 2 isn't even officially out yet, at least not according to everything I'm hearing. How can 25,000 people have it if most people can't have it yet? I don't understand...

It's already the most played game on Steam, although it's still in closed beta.

OT: Yeah, yeah whatever. Now undo the last patch, since then every things fucked up.

This is why I would never use Steam, no matter how convenient it is. Just the thought of having hundreds of games you've payed for stolen/erased is enough to make my hands shake.

Also, LOL at "everybody loses". Pretty sure valve is going to keep ALL THAT MONEY, including what was supposed to go to the banned guy.

The guy violated the TOS, tried to make money by passing off someone else's work as their own, and opened Valve up to possible legal liability; any one of those things would have been worth a ban or even worse. But my disagreeing with you is not why I'm upset about that final comment in this article. I'd be upset with it even if I agreed with it, because it shouldn't be there at all. Is this a news article, or a personal blog post? If it's the former, keep your opinions out of it. If it's the latter, don't call it "news."

People are saying that being banned from games you paid for is justified because it is like being slapped with a legal fine for the infringement, and that is reasonable.

However, what if it was a infringement of a player made asset, or some other bannable infraction that did not have any influence over money? Surely then they would issue a ban on just forums and other community propelled functions. I mean, they already make you use a completely different account for the forums so I should not be that hard?

Locking them out of multiplier would be equally draconian, because while it is through Steam that multiplayer is directed, that specific multiplayer is the games and bans from multiplayer should be on a game by game basis.

Steam should be able to separate its commercial platform from its community.

Andy Chalk:
Call me old-fashioned, but I equate this with, say, EA sending a guy over to your house to take away all the games you legally paid for because it caught you making copies of one you didn't. I don't think any of us would stand for that, so why is it okay for Valve to take away legitimately-purchased Steam titles for an unrelated matter?

They didn't take away his games.
They took away his Steam service. There is a difference.

Your example is flawed. A proper analogy would be the EA guy coming and taking away your computer which you were renting from them because there was evidence of copyrighted material on it. You still wouldn't be able to play all your games, but you still own them.

Same case here. Technically, he still owns all his games. He's lost nothing except access to the steam service. If that's a problem for him, then perhaps he should have abided by the rules of Steam, and especially by his word as given to the Steam Workshop.

Regardless of whether or not Valve was too heavy handed with this, I don't see that they had much choice. This seems to me to be more about making an example of this one infringer in order to discourage other people from doing the same.

Harsh punishment? I dunno.
Steal from others and have your stuff "stolen"(or taken away) in return. Seems about right.

triorph:
Full on plagiarism and you think being locked out of steam is too heavy? If you were caught doing this at university you'd be banned from graduating. There are many cases in the real world where you get charged thousands of dollars for this sort of willful infringement. I think he got off lightly really.

I'd agree with you on that. Some folks at my campus got fingered for using premade and paid-for book reports and assignments. I remember the campus paper carried a pretty epic story around September 2005. Some guy faked his doctorate's thesis, and the revision committee didn't notice anything until months after the fact. The argument used is always lack of time, along with the usual case of "I really fucking need this grade but I didn't study for shit, fuuuuuuu-".

It also reminds me of the pretty endemic plagiarism on art portals. I remember a few DevART and Elfwood users who got the shaft after submitting dodgy recolors of other works and claiming them as their own. The deeper you go in any DevART search, the crappier the results turn out to be. The crappier they get, the more you start seeing generic Anime crap taken from the same five or six sources and copy-pasted ad nauseam.

On the other hand, I can sort of understand why it is that people copy. The only way a crappy artist can absorb more styles and techniques is if he relentlessly apes them until they become second nature. Only then can he hope to break them down and end with an original approach. Some people just take refuge in that fact and assume that simply reproducing something popular makes artists out of them.

If you're going to make fan man mods, don't upload them to the company's website, use a third party website.

Wouldn't he still be able to access his games from going into his program files? Opening games from there doesn't make you open Steam first. If he's banned from Steam he should still have the games on his computer, he just can't sign in to Steam.

Also, a little off topic and i'm not going to bother testing it. but you can probably open games without the internet, bypassing the Steam DRM. Simply go to Computer > Program Files > Steam > Steamapps > Common > Select the game you want > Launch the application

CriticKitten:

Andy Chalk:
I don't know how much money the guy made off the mace (and will thus lose) but the part that really stings is the ban from Steam, which means the loss of all the games in his library. I would never condone plagiarism, but that's an awfully harsh punishment and one that I don't think necessarily speaks well of Steam. Transgressions must be punished, but stripping someone of games he's rightfully paid for is a little too heavy-handed for my liking.

Um, how does it not speak well of Steam? It shows that Steam will ban you if you violate their Terms of Service and open them up to potential legal liability and/or lawsuits. That's an admirable trait, not one deserving of scorn.

It's also actually pretty common policy. I know of at least one or two companies that have open suggestions submissions for their games....and they will ban you from their forums entirely (and sometimes from the game as well if the incident is bad enough) if you present suggestions for game content that infringe on the copyrights of others, whether art or otherwise. The obvious reason being that it opens the company up to a lawsuit. Most companies that employ an individual who violates another company's copyright will be quick to fire that employee to free themselves from liability. It's not unusual at all.

So no, I don't think it's heavy-handed in the slightest. If you're stupid enough to steal someone else's work, pose it as your own, and then attempt to make money off of it using Steam's marketplace, you deserve the strictest of penalties. You're breaking Steam's Terms of Service, and you deserve to be punished for that. You can whine about how it's heavy-handed all you like, but I'll bet you he learned his lesson and won't do it again.

Well, there is a difference between being fired and being fired and then stolen from.

The person in question presumably had a library full of games that he paid for taken away. Now, in this case you could justify it slightly by saying that the money he lost was the equivalent of what he earned with the weapon and with some other fines put in but that depends on the value of his library.

In the case of the forum you mentioned that is completely out of hand. From what I gather if I was to refer to a games existing art and say that something like this would go well in your game, I could be banned and have the game which I payed for taken away. Not for actually doing something, mind you, but for posting a suggestions which the company might and might not (probably not) use. Art is usually inspired by similar art and sometimes people mix things up and do not realize that that awesome sword you saw on deviant art actually belongs to an obscure South Korean MMO. For example, the Beatles tasked Ringo to create a song. He comes back and shows him his idea only to find out that it is actually a real song by another musician. I should not be held accountable for the company not checking on whether my ideas are original or not.

Stormz:

Deathfish15:

Stormz:
Wonderful, glad to know me not supporting steam anymore is valid. He does something as small as this and gets banned for it and loses access to all the games he paid for.

Small? He stole another person/company's Intellectual Property and passed it off as his own for SALE in a different game product. That's not small, that's HUGE! He deserved his ban.

Yeah and he spent who knows how much off games on Steam. Ban him from ever playing the game again and prevent him from making money off the item , but losing 1000s of dollars worth of games is not fair. I'm never replacing my discs if getting banned is this easy.

How do you mean "if getting banned is this easy"? He plagiarized someone's product for his own personal gain. That's cheating, and against several state and federal laws. If you see cheating and illegal activities as easy things that are common place for you, ....well, I recommend reading a book on morality or going to church.

CriticKitten:

Owyn_Merrilin:
An eye for an eye makes the world blind. You infringe on someone's intellectual property, your property gets stolen. Makes perfect sense. And that's what "banning" someone from a single player game does. Software is a product, not a service. EULAs are nothing but shiny baubles for overpaid lawyers to dangle in front of aging judges.

Andy Chalk:
Call me old-fashioned, but I equate this with, say, EA sending a guy over to your house to take away all the games you legally paid for because it caught you making copies of one you didn't. I don't think any of us would stand for that, so why is it okay for Valve to take away legitimately-purchased Steam titles for an unrelated matter?

He stole someone else's work and used it to make thousands of dollars of profit for himself. Losing access to his inventory of Steam games is a small price to pay compared to the charges that could easily have been filed against him for what amounts to an actual criminal act. He could easily have faced jailtime and a lawsuit directly from Aion's lawyers that would have drained him of many thousands of dollars. >_>

Steam is a service, not a product. Steam is a marketplace that allows you to BUY products, but Steam itself is most definitely a service (like any physical store). In addition to giving you a virtual marketplace, they're offering you free social networking with other gamers and making it very easy for you to locate like-minded groups of players and play with them, often running multi-player connections through their services. And they're storing the game data you use to play the game as well as your save data via Cloud networking on their servers.

Ergo, they are actually offering you many services, and all of them are entirely free. You're paying for the ability to play a game on their servers, and you're getting these other things as extras. They have every right to say that you no longer deserve access to those services (including access to their game servers) if you don't play by their rules. Don't like it? Don't use Steam. The rest of us are perfectly happy with getting games at far cheaper price tags in exchange for following a few very simple instructions like "don't steal other people's stuff".

Besides, if you want to keep claiming that software is a "product", then it should follow the same rules as any other product....including laws regarding theft. You can't have it both ways. So either it's a product (and therefore he should be punished as if he stole a product, including jailtime and the fees incurred from the legal proceedings) or it's a service (in which case it's well within Steam's right to decide the proper punishment for a violation of its Terms of Service and Use). They're in the right in both cases.

Not necessarily eluding to the issue at hand, but I was interested at what you said about Steam being a service selling products. So the games he had were, in your opinion (and mine) a product, as in something that no one can tell you how to use or can ever be taken away involuntarily by the retailer(Steam).

triorph:
Full on plagiarism and you think being locked out of steam is too heavy? If you were caught doing this at university you'd be banned from graduating. There are many cases in the real world where you get charged thousands of dollars for this sort of willful infringement. I think he got off lightly really.

Indeed. I was expecting him to be sued.

Arent instances like this common on third party sites though? I know I've seen a few plugsuits in Fallout and even Oblivion and don't get me started on this.

Fuck, I am really bad at tags...

Fine, here is the boring old link...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCP9Jn2Q0cQ

Bloodstain:

triorph:
Full on plagiarism and you think being locked out of steam is too heavy? If you were caught doing this at university you'd be banned from graduating. There are many cases in the real world where you get charged thousands of dollars for this sort of willful infringement. I think he got off lightly really.

Indeed. I was expecting him to be sued.

He's very lucky he hasn't been. I also really do really love the plagiarism apologists that we seem to have here in abundance.

All I have to say is that at least they didn't ban him on quoting someone swearing, on the official forums.

Compared to EA's Origin, Steam is very benevolent.

ThingWhatSqueaks:

Bloodstain:

triorph:
Full on plagiarism and you think being locked out of steam is too heavy? If you were caught doing this at university you'd be banned from graduating. There are many cases in the real world where you get charged thousands of dollars for this sort of willful infringement. I think he got off lightly really.

Indeed. I was expecting him to be sued.

He's very lucky he hasn't been. I also really do really love the plagiarism apologists that we seem to have here in abundance.

I think people are slightly dazed by the last instances of being banned from content for far lesser offences, as was the case in being banned from Origins or more specifically Mass Effect 3 if you said something rude or modded the single player game.

It is a knee jerk reaction and in general people do not like the idea of their stuff being taken away for any reason.

SacremPyrobolum:
Well, there is a difference between being fired and being fired and then stolen from.

The person in question presumably had a library full of games that he paid for taken away. Now, in this case you could justify it slightly by saying that the money he lost was the equivalent of what he earned with the weapon and with some other fines put in but that depends on the value of his library.

I'm somewhat doubting that the total value of his Steam library is anywhere near the costs to Valve and Aion for the legal costs incurred during the process. The item has made somewhere around $60k on the market. And that's without getting into the mess caused by having to replace the art at the last second and all the dissatisfied players.

In the case of the forum you mentioned that is completely out of hand. From what I gather if I was to refer to a games existing art and say that something like this would go well in your game, I could be banned and have the game which I payed for taken away. Not for actually doing something, mind you, but for posting a suggestions which the company might and might not (probably not) use. Art is usually inspired by similar art and sometimes people mix things up and do not realize that that awesome sword you saw on deviant art actually belongs to an obscure South Korean MMO. For example, the Beatles tasked Ringo to create a song. He comes back and shows him his idea only to find out that it is actually a real song by another musician. I should not be held accountable for the company not checking on whether my ideas are original or not.

Let me get this straight:

You want to be able to suggest ideas that open a company up for potentially massive lawsuits and reap the monetary rewards for stealing, but when caught in the act, you want to blame the company for not having the time to perform extensive searches through the thousands of other games on the internet? And you don't believe you should be punished at all, beyond returning the money?

And you believe this is a reasonable point of view, do you?

Frankly I think they should have just slapped him with legal charges, but if they want to just cut off his Steam access, that's their call. It is their service, ultimately.

EDIT: Plus, it's not even made clear that his Steam account was banned. All it says is "banned", which doesn't necessary mean that his Steam account was banned. It could, as others have said, be a DOTA or VAC ban.

I don't understand everybody saying that Valve is evil for banning the guy. He broke the rules, could have caused a lot of legal trouble for Valve, and of course was stealing another company's property to sell for a profit.

Why are people worried about losing all their Steam games? It takes an incredibly serious offense to ever be brought to that level. I doubt there are a ton of people making these serious offenses.

I'm sorry, but anyone who says the contributor is a "victim" rather than a criminal is condoning plagiarism, which is unnerving.

Yet one more reason to envy pirates. Some company can't come along and essentially delete your game library.

Maybe this perp deserved it but who among us is really comfortable with that WMD hanging over their heads? I can picture a consumer law requiring the refund for the destruction of any "digital property" like this. A long term Steam library is not an investment to laugh away.

Andy Chalk:
I don't know how much money the guy made off the mace (and will thus lose) but the part that really stings is the ban from Steam, which means the loss of all the games in his library. I would never condone plagiarism, but that's an awfully harsh punishment and one that I don't think necessarily speaks well of Steam.

It doesn't say whether this ban is just for DOTA 2, a VAC Ban (no steam based multiplayer) or has had their Steam account terminated, and only the last one means losing your entire Steam library.

No point of accusing Valve of 'stealing' people's stuff if that isn't what has happened.

Since I don't cheat, don't plan on plagiarizing other people's work and calling it my own and won't be suing Valve in a class action lawsuit, I don't ever have any fear of losing my games that I bought on Steam.
You know too many people get away with dumb shit and keep doing it again and again because they don't get proper punishment. Sometimes a heavy hand is a better deterrent than just slapping them on the wrist. You may not agree with it, but then again you may not repeat that guy's mistake either.
Is it equivalent to stealing? not in my opinion. At least not as bad as what this guy was attempting to do, profit off the hard work of someone else... Professional plagiarism. Zynga is just as bad btw.

5ilver:
This is why I would never use Steam, no matter how convenient it is. Just the thought of having hundreds of games you've payed for stolen/erased is enough to make my hands shake.

Also, LOL at "everybody loses". Pretty sure valve is going to keep ALL THAT MONEY, including what was supposed to go to the banned guy.

If you think the company that was defrauded is gonna let that happen without a flurry of expensive lawsuits you need to realise how protective people are of their copy righted material? Remember scrolls from mojang and Skyrim fiasco? Yeah this time they have a real reason to be pissed. Valve is gonna have to cart all that money their way or face crippling llegal attacks for making money off someone elses work their fault or not.

Guy made a lot of money by stealing and selling someone elses intellectual property. He is lucky he hasnt been arrested. Losing his games is the least of his worries.

I can't believe anyone is even supporting this guy for plagiarism. I'm not the first to say it, but whole sale ass has been taken to court for a lot less then this and had pretty much their entire life ruined for copying a few lines of information without giving credit where it's due. He's lucky all they did was take away his games. and good for steam for sticking up for the rest of their legitimate community. As they say one bad apple can spoil a bushel.

Get real guys.

CriticKitten:

SacremPyrobolum:
Well, there is a difference between being fired and being fired and then stolen from.

The person in question presumably had a library full of games that he paid for taken away. Now, in this case you could justify it slightly by saying that the money he lost was the equivalent of what he earned with the weapon and with some other fines put in but that depends on the value of his library.

I'm somewhat doubting that the total value of his Steam library is anywhere near the costs to Valve and Aion for the legal costs incurred during the process. The item has made somewhere around $60k on the market. And that's without getting into the mess caused by having to replace the art at the last second and all the dissatisfied players.

In the case of the forum you mentioned that is completely out of hand. From what I gather if I was to refer to a games existing art and say that something like this would go well in your game, I could be banned and have the game which I payed for taken away. Not for actually doing something, mind you, but for posting a suggestions which the company might and might not (probably not) use. Art is usually inspired by similar art and sometimes people mix things up and do not realize that that awesome sword you saw on deviant art actually belongs to an obscure South Korean MMO. For example, the Beatles tasked Ringo to create a song. He comes back and shows him his idea only to find out that it is actually a real song by another musician. I should not be held accountable for the company not checking on whether my ideas are original or not.

Let me get this straight:

You want to be able to suggest ideas that open a company up for potentially massive lawsuits and reap the monetary rewards for stealing, but when caught in the act, you want to blame the company for not having the time to perform extensive searches through the thousands of other games on the internet? And you don't believe you should be punished at all, beyond returning the money?

I was not aware of how much money the Mace had garnered and yes, i believe in that case the Steam games are compensation enough, even though the games, which are software, do not really have any real life value. To this end, they should have just charge him money.

If I am suggesting something on a company forum chances are I am not a draft artist or anything of the like, and therefore cannot provide my own concepts and ideas in a visual for other than that already represented in existing art. For example, if I was to say that I want a piece of clothing in the game that reflects something from a popular TV show or movie, like ruby or crystal slippers, then I would probably provide a picture of the shoe and say that something like this would compliment your game well. I am not saying that they should put the ruby slippers in the game whole-stop.

It should also be remembered that sometimes artist just happen to be influence by other art and end up making something that looks very similar to or exactly the same as the original, like the Ringo story I alluded to or, more relevantly, the whole C&C Generals controversy with some of the tanks looking a lot like the Warhammer 40K Baneblades. Many people thought that EA did it on purpose, inclueding me, because they are EA, but upon reflection it is much more likely that such and icon from nerd culture could have unawaridly influenced the artist and therefore prompt him making the tank.

CriticKitten:

And you believe this is a reasonable point of view, do you?

First of all, no need to be rude, and yes, I do. I, a random forum dweller, do not influence the internal decisions by the company to not do further research into a random forum dweller's suggestion that they are implementing into a game, which they know can come from anywhere, which might have copy written content, and therefore should not have any legal responsibility thrusted on me should the company get into hot water. I do not see how that cannot be seen as reasonable.

SacremPyrobolum:
Arent instances like this common on third party sites though? I know I've seen a few plugsuits in Fallout and even Oblivion and don't get me started on this.

Fuck, I am really bad at tags...

Fine, here is the boring old link...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCP9Jn2Q0cQ

The difference is mainly that no one is making money on that MLP Skyrim Dragon mod, so it is simply equivalent to any kind of fan art, the guy who got banned for that mace was commercially selling it.

So instead of getting sued and possibly ending up with a huuuge fine, he gets his account banned. And people are against this..why exactly?
Get a fucking grip. You can't compare this to your own personal fear of losing all your games "because of a mistake". This is a man deliberately trying to earn money off of others hard work. In real life, the punishment would be much harsher. Tbh he got off easy.

The scale of the crime was exacerbated by the popularity and scale of the game.
And thus, so was the punishment.

Apart from that, the only other thing I see in this topic are people getting a cold reminder that Steam is still a service, and only pretends to sell products.

(no, do not quote me to "correct" me about it always being a service. I am quite well-versed in the legalese of the matter, and repeating it will just be a waste of your time.)

I'd be fine with him getting sued, whether he'd owe a bunch of money would be up to a court if that was the case. And he almost certainly would. What I don't like is this "service" talk regarding Steam, when clearly their service is presented as a digital retailer selling a product. I've bought boxed copies of games only to be redirected to Steam. The fact that they can take away games I own the disc for is bullshit. And anytime Valve does it to someone I'm going to call bullshit.

SacremPyrobolum:

Well, there is a difference between being fired and being fired and then stolen from.

The person in question presumably had a library full of games that he paid for taken away. Now, in this case you could justify it slightly by saying that the money he lost was the equivalent of what he earned with the weapon and with some other fines put in but that depends on the value of his library.

"equivalent" is not the correct term for this situation; the word u seek is Punishment. It is quite impossible for the value of his library in any way resemble the amount of money he would have to pay in a court case. The court fees alone would run into the tens of thousands. Never mind lawyers, mandatory minimum fines, and the inevitable settlement for copyright infringement, plagiarism, and damages valve will face in the fallout. Once you are out of the safety of the warm little hole you carve out of the internet and enter the real world, these are very serious charges.

Losing the games was an entirely fair trade off. It seems we have all forgotten the days of Napster lawsuits in which the lowest settlements resulted in multi million dollar, life ending fines that today, are probably still being paid off. it is obvious that steam holds blame in not catching this before it went to release because people are paid to do so, however the account holder plagiarized resulting in the situation. To allow him an entitlement is to allow the offense to continue. He screwed up and he damn well knows it now. There are some things you can't say sorry and make all better.

Face the consequences of your actions.

Andy Chalk:
Call me old-fashioned, but I equate this with, say, EA sending a guy over to your house to take away all the games you legally paid for because it caught you making copies of one you didn't. I don't think any of us would stand for that, so why is it okay for Valve to take away legitimately-purchased Steam titles for an unrelated matter?

The way I see it, the guy essentially faced two possible outcomes. Either:

A) He loses access to his Steam account, which may not even have been his main account, and anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars worth of games.

Or...

B) He gets to keep his Steam account but gets slapped with a $25,000+ fine. Paid to, likely, both Valve and NCsoft.

Now you tell me. Which of those options sounds more harsh?

Stormz:

Yeah and he spent who knows how much off games on Steam. Ban him from ever playing the game again and prevent him from making money off the item , but losing 1000s of dollars worth of games is not fair. I'm never replacing my discs if getting banned is this easy.

That's quite an assumption.

For all you know, the account that was banned may have been an alternate account. As in, separate from his main account and only containing a handful of games. Hell, it may have even only contained free-to-play games. Meaning he actually lost nothing.

For that matter, his account may have only been VAC-banned. The article isn't very clear on the details, so the "guilty party" in this may only be banned from the multi-player components of his games.

Besides, even if he did lose a thousand dollars worth of games, it's still better than the amount of cash he'd lose having to pay a hefty plagiarism fine.

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