UPDATE 7th June 2016: Bethesda has told Fallout 4 mod creators who believe their work has been stolen to file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown request.
In a post on the Bethesda forum, the company insisted it takes reports of users uploading mod content that does not belong to the mod creator seriously.
The issue was brought to light after the launch of mods for the Xbox One version of Fallout 4. A number of the most popular mods on Xbox One were found to have used mods already on PC and without a credit.
In the post, Bethesda outlines the process of issuing a DMCA takedown request (this is the kind of thing publishers such as Bethesda use to get leaked videos removed from YouTube).
The reaction from the modding community has been mixed. On the one hand, they have praised the acknowledgement of the rights of mod creators. On the other, they have criticised the effort required of them, which in effect means mod creators will have to file legal documents with Bethesda parent company ZeniMax every time someone steals their work. That's a lot for mod creators, most of whom improve games in their spare time, to do.
The hope, however, is the DMCA takedown process will put off people from stealing mods in the first place, thus acting as a preventative measure. But maybe we'll see Bethesda actively remove some mods from its download platform, too.
Meanwhile, the person accused of stealing a mod created by DDProductions83 has told Eurogamer he no longer holds the views expressed in the comment, below. "GamerAim" said he has since apologised to DDProductions83, and revealed he has helped create an official port of two PC mods to Xbox One.
ORIGINAL STORY 6th June 2016: There's an ongoing row over "stolen" Fallout 4 mods.
It appears that some of the most popular mods available for the Xbox One version of the game include mods made by PC players. And in some cases, these mods are not credited.
The issue emerged last week in a thread on Reddit when a mod creator accused "Spawn Items" - at the time of publication the second-most popular mod for Fallout 4 on Xbox One - of including a copy of a popular mod already available for the PC version.
Another mod was found to have lifted a popular mod created by DDProductions83, who made a lengthy rant video about the situation and uploaded it to YouTube. (Warning, there's plenty of swearing in the video. It's NSFW.)
Last week Bethesda said Xbox One's Fallout 4 mod traffic Was 50 times bigger than the PC's at launch, so it's clear the initiative has been hugely successful. But PC modders complain that they suffer a lack of recognition when their mods are ported to Xbox One uncredited. Another issue is that many of these mods were not designed for console, where there is a 2GB limit. There are reports some of these mods result in game crashes and corrupt save files on Xbox One - and the original creators are having to bat off complaints.
It doesn't help that it's impossible to create mods on Xbox One. Bethesda's set-up means all mods available on console were created on PC first. So, console players benefit from PC players' hard work - and there's no current way to return the favour.
The situation has got to the point where some mod creators are "hiding" their mods on PC so they cannot be stolen and made available on Xbox One. Others have said they're considering giving up mod creation altogether.
The rights and wrongs of the situation are being debated in a thread on Reddit. One popular Fallout mod creator, DogtoothCG (the artist behind the NCR Veteran Ranger mod that was used in the Spawn Items mod), summed up the stance from the modding community in a post on their website:
It will sort itself out in time, but in the meantime, without any sort of compensation, the notoriety of being THE author of a file is all that a mod author gets. That control over the file has been the standard since Morrowind, and has suddenly changed with the introduction of console modding, so naturally, there is some aggression and assumption on both sides.
The debate was fuelled by the age-old "console vs PC master race" rivalry. One person accused of stealing a mod created by DDProductions83 defended his actions, railing against "PC elitists". He was, clearly, unrepentant.
Now, many are calling on Bethesda to step in and do more to block mods comprised of stolen mods from popping up on Xbox One.
Bethesda PR and marketing chief Pete Hines suggested users report mods believed to have stolen content.
whether it's for consoles or not is irrelevant. report it, it gets looked into and addressed.— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) June 3, 2016
Meanwhile, Eurogamer's Ian Higton had a dig around the Fallout 4 mods for Xbox One and made a video, below, about a handful of the best.