Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets Cease-and-Desist from Activision

December 29, 2011 -

Hacker Brandon Wilson decided to tinker with Activision's Skylanders action figures to see how they work. In case you don't know, Skylanders uses action figures that are placed on a portal peripheral that makes them appear in the game by reading the bottom of the figure.

After playing around with the action figure's RFID bases, he collected data and stored it in a .zip file on his personal website. He didn't think much of it at the time, but he would soon find out that some people didn't like him or his data very much. One day Wilson came home from work to find someone waiting for him at his door. It was a process server who handed him a legal notice (a cease-and-desist letter, to be precise) from Activision, accusing him of hacking and demanding that he take down all that work he stored on his website..

Wilson says that the most of the accusations from Activision are completely inaccurate. For instance, they allege that he reverse-engineered the Skylanders RFID code, is working with others to hack the game, and is collaborating those efforts on a message board.

Activision claims in its legal notice that Wilson's hacking efforts would enable changing the stats and equipment of the Skylanders without actually playing the game. They also say that the hacking could enable players to use something other than a Skylanders model to allow a user to switch back and forth between Skylanders they didn’t own.

Wilson points out in his response to Activision that none of the examples pointed out in the take down notice, including a link to a website where Wilson supposedly published his findings, are true. Wilson says that the only thing he had was a zip file with the file dump from one of the Skylanders, which wasn’t made public and wasn’t announced when it was put on his website. Despite all of that, Wilson removed the information from his website, and replaced them with the take down notice and his response.

You can read Activision's notice here and Wilson's response here.

Source: Geek.com


Comments

Re: Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets ...

Well, this makes me regret trying out the first Modern Warfare game.

Re: Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets ...

And people wonder why we need due process in copyright claims.....


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets ...

Streisand Effect in 3...2....1....

Re: Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets ...

I'm surprised that Activision actually found out about what this guy was doing. Must be that paranoid.

Granted, I'm surprised someone wasn't doing this before, because this whole 'toy' thing is complete bullshit and is just another way to make more money off consumers, but whatever.

Re: Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets ...

There may be a license included with the figures which says something to the effect that the user agrees not to hack or reverse-engineer the figures. Sure the guy didn't post them to forums, but does putting them on a website count as public dissemination? Interesting to see where this will end up.

Re: Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets ...

Most evil game publishers today? Activision, Ubisoft, and EA. In no particular order.

Re: Man Tinkers with Skylanders Figures, Gets ...

"Activision claims in its legal notice that Wilson's hacking efforts would enable changing the stats and equipment of the Skylanders without actually playing the game. They also say that the hacking could enable players to use something other than a Skylanders model to allow a user to switch back and forth between Skylanders they didn’t own."

Even if true, is any of that actually illegal?

 
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Andrew EisenWe're planning on doing the podcast Saturday evening, as usual.05/23/2015 - 12:32am
Matthew Wilsonmy bad was doing it from my phone.05/22/2015 - 11:34pm
Goth_SkunkMatthew, that's a PDF. Looks like a lobbying report. What's that got to do with The Witcher 3? EDIT: Thanks Mecha.05/22/2015 - 11:33pm
MechaCrashI think this is the link you meant to post: http://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-the-witcher-3-a-new-benchmark-in-player-/2300-6424964/05/22/2015 - 11:31pm
Matthew WilsonThe Point - The Witcher 3: A New Benchmark in Player Choice http://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-the-witcher-3-a-new-benchmark-in-player-/2300-6424964/ fixed05/22/2015 - 10:37pm
Matthew WilsonI assume no show this weekend?05/22/2015 - 10:27pm
TechnogeekKaylaKaze: I fail to see how "that key was obtained via theft by deception" isn't fradulent.05/22/2015 - 8:46pm
Wonderkarp*Sippin on Long Island Iced Tea*05/22/2015 - 8:24pm
james_fudgeIT was all me. I broke the site. Send your hatemail!05/22/2015 - 8:15pm
KaylaKazeESO banning people for buying thier game when it was cheap, claiming fraud. http://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline/comments/36womu/deactivation_of_fraudulently_obtained_esotu_game/05/22/2015 - 5:29pm
Matthew Wilsonwtf? wounder if its time for a site redo with modern tech. somthing cheap like the latest version of word press.05/22/2015 - 5:27pm
Andrew EisenJames pasted my copy into a new story for me and the crappy Word formatting it inherited broke the site.05/22/2015 - 5:21pm
Andrew EisenHere's what happened: some weird bug is preventing me from uploading an article pic. Stories can't be saved with out pics so I couldn't write a story. So, I wrote it in Word and pasted the text into an email and forwarded it to James.05/22/2015 - 5:21pm
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Andrew EisenOh, here it is. I thought it was gone. Yeah, I'm experiencing the same issue. Sent a note to tech.05/22/2015 - 10:43am
E. Zachary KnightAnyone else have the shout box pushed down to the bottom of the site?05/22/2015 - 10:38am
MattsworknameAndrew and EZK help me pull back a bit , still working on it05/22/2015 - 7:06am
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