UPDATE 25/04/2015 1.20am: Fishing mod Art of the Catch creator Chesko is furious at Valve for not removing their mod from the Steam Workshop entirely after they requested it be taken down and offered refunds to everyone who purchased it.
In a Reddit post about the issue Chesko clarified that it was his decision to remove the mod from sale, not Valve's. "After a discussion with Fore, I made the decision to pull Art of the Catch down myself. (It was not removed by a staff member.) Fore and I have talked since and we are okay."
Unfortunately, Valve won't let the modder remove their own work from the Workshop entirely, as those who purchased it already still have access to it. Chesko would prefer to refund everyone and reclaim their work to distribute as they please.
"I was just contacted by Valve's lawyer. He stated that they will not remove the content unless 'legally compelled to do so', and that they will make the file visible only to currently paid users," Chesko said. "I am beside myself with anger right now as they try to tell me what I can do with my own content. The copyright situation with Art of the Catch is shades of grey, but in Arissa 2.0's case, it's black and white; that's 100 per cent mine and Griefmyst's work, and I should be able to dictate its distribution if I so choose. Unbelievable."
Given this whole unfortunate ordeal, Chesko has chosen to leave the Steam Workshop completely. "With the complete lack of moderation control over the hundreds of spam and attack messages I have received on Steam and off, I am making the decision to leave the curated Workshop behind," he lamented. "I will be refunding all PayPal donations that have occurred today and yesterday."
"I may just host my mods on my own site for anyone who is interested," he stated. "What I need to happen, right now, is for modding to return to its place in my life where it's a fun side hobby, instead of taking over my life. That starts now. Or just give it up entirely; I have other things I could spend my energy on."
We have requested comment from Valve on why it won't allow modders to remove their own work entirely, even if they issue refunds. We'll let you know what the company says should it issue a response.
UPDATE 2PM BST: As people have pointed out below (thank you), Skyrim is free to play on Steam this weekend and also heavily discounted (down 75 per cent to £2.49) should you decide you want to buy it.
ORIGINAL STORY 12.30PM BST: A paid-for Skyrim mod has already been removed from sale on Steam Workshop.
The mod used someone else's character-idle animations without prior consent. When a community member enquired on the Fishing Mod comments section whether Chesko had permission, the creator of the idle animations mod - Fore - stepped in.
"No, he has not. And making money with mods is totally against my attitude," wrote Fore - screenshots of the conversation posted on Destructoid. "It's the end of a working and inventive modding community."
Chesko then replied, saying he had been prevented asking permission by a non-disclosure agreement. "I would like to make it clear that I have been under a non-disclosure agreement for over a month, and was unable (not unwilling) to contact others. I asked Valve specifically about content that requires other content, and was told that if the download was separate and free, it was fair game."
Chesko said Fore's animations were not vital and the Fishing Mod worked without, but then ceded to Fore's wishes and refunded all buyers of the mod.
Allowing modders to make money from their work is a bold step by Valve - and the publishers allowing it for their games. It's an idea that will take some getting used to and there's negative immediate reaction swirling around. There's even a Change.org petition to remove the paid mods from Steam Workshop that has reached more than 19,000 signatures. Naturally, there will be teething issues.