Valve has warned Dota 2 players after 25,000 users obtained a community-designed axe that was discovered to have broken intellectual property law.
The unassuming weapon was created using Valve's Steam Workshop service. After receiving the necessary number of community ratings it was made available within Dota 2 as an item in a chest unlocked when players bought a key. But the axe was not really user-created. It had been copied - from South Korean MMO Aion.
Valve was forced to act on the IP claim, leaving 24,603 players with an alternative weapon instead. The axe was axed, the designer of the axe was banned and all axe proceeds cut from his account.
"The vast majority of contributions to the Workshop are incredibly creative and fundamentally original," Valve designer Alden Kroll wrote 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 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.
"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," Kroll concluded.