The Great Console Mods Experiment of 2016
Well.... if you have been paying much attention over the last week, you know the answer to this already: It's BAD. I mean REALLY bad. Bethesda chose a package called Jive Software to run their new forums and mod site with. I'm sure I need not mention how awful this was when it was just the forum launch, but the mods site launch is even worse, and it's become an absolute disaster with the launch of mods on XBox One. A lot of things wrong with this system were pointed out repeatedly to Bethesda and they have ignored pretty much all of it, except for some minor bits here and there. Ten years of precedent exists elsewhere on how to run a site, and what not to do because those sites learned it the hard way. Nobody at Bethesda paid one shred of attention.
All that aside though, that's not the biggest of problems. Flaws in the design can be worked out. Providing authors with better controls for their mod entries can be fixed. Trusting their fans not to abuse powers provided them can be built up easily enough. Handling reports in a timely manner can be ironed out. If this was all that was wrong, there'd be no need for a dozen threads a day on Reddit about how bad it's gotten.
So what's the big problem that has everyone up in arms now, creating drama everywhere? Piracy. Straight up mod theft by console users. Over the last week, a whole lot of console users who also have access to Fallout 4 on PC have been collecting mods from Nexus with the express intent of uploading stolen copies of them to the new service. Doing this is bad enough, considering it's illegal and also expressly against Bethesda's site policies, but they're attempting to justify it as some kind of sick revenge for years of perceived abuse at the hands of PC modders. There is currently a group dedicating themselves to the purpose of stealing stuff from Nexus and putting it on Bethesda.net. They are doing this KNOWING that it is illegal and that they will be getting banned for it, but they don't care. You have people like this guy posting screeds about it right in front of Bethesda's nose: https://gyazo.com/45e324da9e35a0bfa06b8d4a8fcd08e9 Yes, the guy knows what he's doing is against the site's policy, knows it's morally wrong, and knows it's illegal, but he'd doing it anyway because he's just that much of a self entitled asshole.
For those of you inclined to invoke the whole "it's free, you put it on the internet, you lost your rights" argument, no. That's not how this works. We have full copyright to everything we produce and the lack of a price tag means precisely squat. http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html http://publishlawyer.com/top-10-copyright-myths/ - learn something for once.
From the Fallout 4 Creation Kit License Agreement - Section 2:
A. Ownership. As between You and ZeniMax, You are the owner of Your Game Mods and all intellectual property rights therein, subject to the licenses You grant to ZeniMax in this Agreement.
That ought to be about as crystal clear as it gets. It's piracy. Period.
Here's the thing. Not every mod can be ported to console. Some of them are simply too big, rely on non-standard tools (F4SE, etc), would violate the ToS, or would simply cause too much of a performance drain on already pathetic equipment. These factors are not being taken into consideration by the group of pirates currently operating on the site, like KCCM or 5000games. Instead, they'd rather risk the complete destruction of the one chance they have to get these mods at all.
To their credit, a great many console users are openly calling these people out for the thieves they are. Sadly, even with that many people against them, it isn't stopping.
Bethesda, what can you do about this?
1. Hire permanent staff to address the current lack of moderation on the mods site. No excuse for launching this without proper coverage. If necessary, supplement them with trusted community members to moderate things as well, in addition to your own volunteer moderators. This is a long term investment for you guys. Act like it.
2. Provide mod authors with the ability to remove toxic comments from their threads and actively report the deleted comments to moderators if they wish to.
3. Permanently ban anyone caught uploading *OR* downloading a stolen mod from using the service forever. That means block their games from even connecting to it. Yes, you have to stop those willing to benefit from the theft too or it will never end.
4. Provide mod authors with a means to file a DMCA against any stolen content they know is theirs. For Christ sake, if Steam Workshop can do it, Bethesda can.
5. Institute an approval system. I know this wouldn't be popular, but it may well be necessary. Get people to help you vet incoming material to make sure it's not stolen and doesn't violate any of your other terms, such as the ban on nudity or child killing, etc.
5. Get Microsoft and Sony involved if need be. Supporting piracy is as bad for them as it is for you, Bethesda.
This is something you as a company have wanted for 2 decades now. Time to step up and act like you mean it.
Modders, what can you do about this?
1. Speak up! Blog about it. Spread the word. The more people who know that this is wrong, the better! Don't just spend all day on Reddit bitching about it either. You've got to make sure you let Bethesda know in no uncertain terms that this will not be tolerated. They do not take feedback on non-official sources seriously, and never have. Most of the time they are also right to do so, but this time, no, they need to know this is endangering their plans.
2. Remain respectful. Not all console players are assholes. This PC elitism needs to stop. While we all know consoles do not compare to a good gaming PC, this is the circumstances we have and this is what the developers are paying attention to. So don't fault the people who choose these platforms for whatever reasons they do. Attacking them is the fastest way to make your argument lose credibility. Stick to calling out the thieves. Attacking Bethesda and calling them childish names like "bethesda.aids" does nothing as an argument either, so don't make yourself look dumb by doing it.
3. Don't be a kneejerker. Pulling your mods offline in some kind of misguided protest solves nothing and only hurts your fans and the community at large. Neither the thieves nor Bethesda will care one bit that you did this. In fact, in a perverse twist of fate, it might even make it HARDER to prove that the work was stolen. No, you don't need to put it up on Bethesda.net yourself, but having something tangible you can point Bethesda's moderators to to prove it's yours will help YOU, not the thieves.
4. Register your copyright. Oh yeah, I know, that's a horrible attitude blah bla blah. Except it works, is legal, and the current Terms of Service specifically say we as modders have copyright in our work. So why not protect it? Nothing could be more powerful than registering your work, because it will give your legal claims against people much bigger and sharper teeth.
If this crap is left unchecked long enough, you're going to find that mod authors will simply deem Fallout 4 to be too big a minefield to bother with. Modders won't put up with this kind of thing for long. It's very likely you could see modders simply closing up shop permanently and never releasing anything ever again for this game. I can say for certain I already know of at least two prominent Fallout 4 modders who have done exactly that and have publicly stated they will not be coming back EVEN IF THIS IS FIXED. So the pirates have already caused permanent damage to the community and will only continue to cause more. Everyone needs to stand up and denounce this or there won't be anything left here to defend.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil
Well. I guess that's that then.
How the FUCK is that FAIR?
I see no reason to treat people who consume pirated content any differently. Suspend them for a week or so at the very least. Permban those who upload even ONE stolen mod. This shit is a real problem and needs to be treated like one.
IMO, it's a good start. So we should allow them the time to roll these things out. They won't happen in the span of a few days, so put your pitchforks and torches away.
The mention that beth is working with microsoft and sony to imcrease the storage size for mods would seem to sujest that beth is not the problem, and that the problem lies with the console maufacturers. Either thier own usage rules or the limitations of thier product are limiting mod storage space, but hopefully it will only involve a software update to fix otherwise negotiations would be useless. Or it will be fore the next gen consoles to be announced at E3😎. That last comment was not ment seriously but on the whole it looks like most of the problems of piracy and mod storage space are at least being looked at with an eye to resolving said problems.
I am only posting anonymously as I could not be bothered to register, I am mostly known as Kregen on the net.
I have this nagging fear that they exchanged one bad actor for two others when they decided to cut Valve loose on FO4 mods.
For the Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch:
PC: Since April 19, 2016 on Fallout 4 Nexus: 160,601 Downloads, 561,959 views.
PC: Since April 19, 2016 on Bethesda.net: 133,854 Downloads, 1,451,638 views.
XBox One: Since May 11, 2016 on Bethesda.net: 219,371 Downloads, 4,952,095 views.
PS4 has yet to get started, but still. For all the bluster so many people are spouting off about Nexus superiority and how everyone and his dog only gets PC mods there, the numbers don't lie. The Bethesda.net site is generating a healthy amount of traffic all on its own, and so far the XBox One users are representing quite a bit more on their own in one month less time.
I'm sure most the users of such stolen mods have no idea it is actually a stolen mod. We should focusing on punishing those that download the mod thinking the individual that posted it did not take credit from someone else's work. I agree that these mod user that post stolen work without obtaining permission nor give credit to original user that created the mod should be ban for sure. Last time I check, mod creator want other users to enjoy their mods so why should people downloaded the mod be punished? For example, I had no idea about all this stolen mod business until today and if I get banned for using a mod that i thought was from the creator of the mod that would rather bring more problems than solution. However, uploading stolen mod is unacceptable. I believe to solve stolen mod problem is have the community itself to keep an eye out but also speak out within the community or under the post of the mod that is it stolen. We must find and identify stolen mods and report it for our part within the modding community. Moreover, Bethesda must step up and follow up on those reports and punish those taking credit of other people's work as their own. Again, yes, we need to punish and remove those individual that post stolen mod. No, we shouldn't punish those that download the mod because many people do not know it is stolen and simply downloading the mod because they enjoy the creator's work.I don't believe it's right to ban someone that had no idea the mod they are using is stolen.
Anyway, it seems Bethesda took the biggest of the important steps so far and has the CK linked to your Steam account now so getting banned from uploading suddenly becomes a lot more expensive to circumvent.