The USB-IF has long had a VID/PID process for hobbyists.
The letter sent wasnt a "screw you and your OSS tendencies", it was more of a "no, you cannot transfer PIDs like you want to; please cease pursuing that plan":
Arguably claiming "A two thousand dollar fee for your unique VID" combined with "hobbyist" is pretty dishonest at best.
The fact of the matter is, before Arachnid Labs requested a VID for this purpose the policy DID allow transfers and sub-allocations!
Very few hobbyists have that type of money to purchase one VID nor has need of all 65535 PIDs contained within.
I would also venture a guess that of the subset of hobbyists that can afford it, it is a smaller percentage wanting and willing.
Worse, the usb.org used to have two methods to obtain VIDs.
You can either become a member, which includes VIDs with your yearly dues (plus justification for blocks after the first), or you could out right purchase a VID.
If you purchased a VID, it was completely and totally up to the VID holder how to allocate and manage PIDs. This is the policy they just recently changed, and seemingly right after the hobbyist community started discussing this very project earlier this year.
Perhaps it really is just "bad timing", but I too am pretty full of cynicism and thus don't believe that to be the case.
If it was nothing more than usb.org enforcing their own policy, this issue would be nothing more than a "doh!" moment. The problem is their policy said one thing, they were asked to use a VID this way, they went and updated their policy right that second and responded with the newly ink-still-wet policy with nothing more than "that isn't allowed - see, the policy says so!"
If you are going to have a policy in the first place - you best damn well live by it or accept when people call out the lies.
If you can't live by your own policy, then what is the point of even making one in the first place?