Personally, I don't see this as an issue that should be left to us modders to resolve. God knows the community has been left on the hook to fix a number of other issues relevant to this game because "the powers that be" either can't or won't (the work of LocalHost and AlexNez, for example).
Making our mods only available to a select group is our way of protecting our work because it seems to be the only viable recourse we have to do so. While I understand the perspective of those that can't make their own mods (we've all been there before we started making stuff on our own, waiting and hoping for some talented folks to release/update their mods, and hoping that the features we asked them so nicely for get added but ultimately understanding if they didn't get added) I also intimately understand the situation from the perspective of the modders who dedicated countless hours of their lives to creating that content for little or no reward.
Modders, to me, are like seasoned tradespeople; you don't "pay them" for their half-hour of actual work, you "pay them" for the years of training and practice that are the reasons why they can do that job in a half-hour.
As long as unprotected digital content exists, theft/piracy will be it's bedfellow. Cultures exist whose members apparently cannot (or simply WILL not) even comprehend that these types of practices are immoral, and either don't understand or choose to ignore (and effectively condone) the consequences of their actions. I can think of a particular instance where someone even blatantly posted "how do I pirate this game?" on the game's official FB group, and then proceeded to try to justify it when the "Seriously dude, can you even brain how stupid it is to ask THAT question HERE of all places?" comments started rolling in (including similar comments from the game/site admins).
So if the ire of the community is going to be aimed at somebody, the modders who removed their content because of a lack of better options are definitely NOT an appropriate target. The "bad apples" who, through either ignorance or malice, have been the catalyst for the actions of said modders absolutely should be the target. I have as little desire as anyone else here to start any kind of "witch hunt" because ultimately it's up to the individual to dedicate their time and energy to helping the community that has kept this game going, or to destroy that community by alienating or outright ingratiating it's members and contributors.
We can ride the fine line between hope and wishful thinking with the desire for the pirates to develop a sudden case of intelligence and morality on this issue, but I for one am not holding my breath...