You know, I'm mainly a modder, or mod author, in my free time, and while I'm not yet able to create Skyrim mods myself, still lacking the game and free time to do anything with it, I'm very much interested in the Elder Scrolls modding scene and caring quite a lot for its community of great, talented modders, real artists in their own category no less.
Right now we're having a situation at the Steam Workshop which the community decided is no longer bearable. The Skyrim section of the Steam Workshop currently is more or less a 'law-free' zone. Its own rules and EULA are not enforced at all. It's totally unmoderated at times, or at best horribly under-moderated by one single Bethesda official doing this job next to his real job and this is by far not enough. The amount of illegal game rips, which is a direct breach of Bethesda's own rules and copyright infringement on multiple accounts, and mods uploaded without the permission of their original creators, sometimes even knowingly against their will, or ripped apart and used in other mods uploaded to the Workshop without permission, giving credits to the original author or not, has skyrocketed lately and using the Steam Workshop's own "report" button so far has not led to any results.
The only way to get an unauthorized upload of one's hard work removed from the Workshop is to email the one Bethesda official in charge directly and it must be the original author doing so, nobody else! My condolences to those modders who left the scene long ago, leaving behind a simple line like "don't upload to anywhere else without my permission" in their readmes, believing this was enough, now having their hard work plundered and dissected with no way to stop it but to return to the modding scene themselves and complain about it in person. And even then this one single moderator can only remove the uploaded file. Nothing will stop the offender to upload it again a day after, and they do so.
Some thieves even got the gall to announce the mod authors stating such restrictions to re-use and distribution in their readmes would be violating Bethesda's EULA now, and they would have any right to do with the work however they please once it was released to the public! We all know this is utter nonsense and no EULA in the world can ever take your Intellectual Property rights away from you just by agreeing to it, but as the officials at Steam don't react to the incidents, the thieves take their opinion as confirmed and keep doing it.
More and more great modders I was looking up to since I joined the community years ago have had enough with the hassle now and simply stopped sharing or left the scene completely, and their numbers keep rising.
I myself dropped any plans to release mods for Skyrim I possibly might be creating in the far future, too, due to this. It's not that I'd care for the stuff I create and release. Far from it, and who knows me also knows this. But if it's no longer feeling right to share my work with the public, I have to act, and when it comes to my inner piece with things, I can be very selfish, too, sometimes. Right now it just isn't 'worth it' to me anymore. It just feels wrong to share under these conditions. I was told "When you can't live with this, maybe you shouldn't be releasing your mods to the public to begin with?" and I'm going to agree with them for now, and won't share anymore.
(As this is not a matter with Oblivion modding, nothing will change there. I will still try to keep my projects going and release everything I feel release-worthy, just as always.)
But I won't just stand back and watch the ongoing mod theft and the Exodus of top-class modders I've known and enjoyed the mods of which for years, only because Valve can't get their act together and enforce their own rules.
This is not against the Steam Workshop in general, far from it, as we're trying to improve the situation and make it a viable place to upload your mods to. But if an author expressly does not wish his or her mods uploaded anywhere else or used by anybody else in another mod without his or her express permission, and 'no' means 'no', this has to be obeyed to, or the place isn't worth it. There are ideas of self-made DRM (Digital Rights Management) measures in discussion, rendering your mods unusable with the Steam Workshop's subscription and one-click-install mechanism, so they can't be stolen and reuploaded there, but that's besides the point and only hurts the Workshop instead of improving it. But as negative as it may sound, to most authors this is a more welcome solution than the usual "The best way to prevent your mods from being uploaded without permission is to upload them yourself first, and all will win."-nonsense they regularly get to hear as an answer. If they don't want to, they have their reasons to, and it's their damn right to have their reasons to, and nobody's entitled to question them or disrespect their wishes and upload it anyways.
All fellow modders thinking alike put this on your page to get attention to this issue:
*** Support the rights of modders to publish as they see fit ***
*** Sign our wall to show support and help bring change ***
All mod users or even Steam Workshop downloaders think about it and try to look at it from a mod author's point of view who just got robbed the work of his life and uploaded to a place outside of his reach without ever being even asked. Would you want to continue sharing your hard work, when you know that's what you get as a thanks? Keep in mind most modders aren't modding for You. If this entitlement and disrespect doesn't stop, you will loose them, and their mods.