The newest case of skins in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has sparked controversy, after it was alleged that at least two of the skins have used stolen artwork for their designs, including one from a very popular YouTuber, Vexx.
CS:GO weapon skins are most often created by talented and creative community members, who submit their designs to the Steam workshop.
Those that gain particular popularity within the community and/or catch the eye of Valve, will then be selected to feature in a new case or operation.
Such was the case with the latest case, the Revolution case added on February 10, which features striking and colorful designs for the game’s most popular weapons, including the AWP, the M4A4, and the AK-47.
AWP Doodle Lore and M4 Temukau accused of stolen artwork
It is the former of these skins that have sparked drama in the CSGO skins community. All designs submitted to the Steam workshop must be the sole creation of whoever uploads it, as well as any named collaborators.
The skins in question are the AWP Doodle Lore and the M4A4 Temukau (see images above). Both feature vibrant designs, with the anime art on the M4 a particular favorite. However, the creators of these skins have been accused of either copying the art, or at least taking a little too much inspiration from existing art.
In the case of the AWP, it was discovered that popular YouTuber and artist Vexx had created a very similar dragon design to what is seen on the weapon skin.
Vexx himself has responded, and is filing a DMCA claim. “Welp… my art got stolen for a brand new skin on CSGO,” he tweeted.
The case of the M4A4 Temukau is a little more complicated. The disagreement is over the female figure that appears on the weapon, as well as other skins that the creator has uploaded to the Steam workshop – although these are not officially in the game.
Fellow skins creator Danidem made the claim public on Twitter, accusing the M4 creator, f0rnez, of “cheating his way into the CSGO Steam workshop.”
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However, f0rnez has responded, confirming that while he did take direct inspiration from existing anime artworks, the final product on the weapon is his own work. He spoke at length on a stream with CSGO Twitch streamer OhnePixel, showing his original illustrator files with the layers.
This was challenged again when a ‘hair tutorial’ image was found with almost identical hair to that of the character on the weapon skin.
While some argue this is too close to other artworks, some have taken the skin creator’s side, arguing that anime art is often very similar in its features, and that it is a very commonly used pose for characters.
Will the skins be removed from CSGO?
No – skins are not removed from CSGO as players have spent money on them. What happens next, depends on two parties: Valve, and the artists behind the original work. In the case of the AWP Doodle Lore, it appears Vexx is already in the process of filing a DMCA claim to Valve. This would likely force their hand into redesigning the skin, or making it contraband – although this is unlikely.
In the past, skin designs with stolen artwork have made it into the game, such as the infamous M4A4 Howl. Valve banned the creator, had to change the design, and made the skin ‘contraband’. This limited its supply, and made it one of the most expensive skins in the game as a result.
When this happened again, this time on the M4A4 Griffin, Valve simply redesigned the skin instead, and did not make it contraband. This could be for a number of reasons, but probably because the skin was already in high supply, and they wanted to avoid a repeat of the Howl situation.
If Valve makes skins contraband again, it could even encourage users to upload stolen art, hope it is accepted, and then stock up on the skin before it is made contraband, profiting in the process. For context, the cheapest M4A4 Howl is at least $2,000 today.
As of now, the Doodle Lore has been replace by the AWP Duality. All traces of the Doodle Lore has been removed from the game, and all existing Doodle Lores has been replaced with the new skin.