For a while now, a development team has been working on releasing a mod called Skyrim Together that would allow players to jump online and make their way through Bethesda’s RPG together. And for almost as long, they’ve been facing long-standing accusations of having stolen code from another team.
The guys behind SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) have for years been feuding with the Skyrim Together crew over allegations of code theft, with SKSE even going so far as to write this in their code’s license:
Due to continued intentional copyright infringement and total disrespect for modder etiquette, the Skyrim Online team is explicitly disallowed from using any of these files for any purpose.
That of course hasn’t stopped Skyrim Together from working on their project, which is accepting backing on Patreon and is raking in over $33,000 (£25k) a month at time of posting.
The mod scene is always full of drama, and projects like mod packs that bundle a lot of other people’s work and pass it off as their own have always been a source of controversy.
But a mod that’s making money off other people’s work, when modders tend to do what they do for love and release it for free is a big deal, and so are these accusations. For the technically-minded they’re spelled out in this thread.
In response, a Skyrim Together team member posted this comment on Reddit:
“We have had disagreements with the SKSE folks in the past, I have tried to communicate with them but they have never replied, so we stopped using their code. There might be some leftover code from them in there that was overlooked when we removed it, it isn’t as simple as just deleting a folder, mainly our fault because we rushed some parts of the code. Anyway we are going to make sure to remove what might have slipped through the cracks for the next patch.”
To which an SKSE member replied:
So, to be clear - you are saying that you:
- started using our code
- then asked for permission
- never got permission
- continued using it
- eventually removed part of it yet somehow left some of it in
- continued to charge for access the entire time?
- promise to totally clean up a now license-tainted project?
The Skyrim Together team’s Patreon page says they “hope to release the first stable version of the mod during the year 2019", but the same Reddit post in which they defended their use of SKSE’s code also says “We are far from a real release, currently the mod is unstable and has a lot of features disabled.”