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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MattsworknameConster, I vet what your saying, but lets not bring up Baltimore, that place had a very bad week.05/03/2015 - 5:48pm
MattsworknameFair enough Infophile, regardless of my own issues with the gaming industry and press, im just sorta tired of the whole GG thing as it is. it just seems pointless now you know?05/03/2015 - 5:46pm
ConsterThe trolls hiding behind GG may be too busy pretending to be looters in Baltimore right now.05/03/2015 - 3:32pm
InfophileWhich is to say, GG isn't people writing articles about GG; it's the swarm of people lashing out. That's still going on, even if not as many articles are being written about it05/03/2015 - 7:32am
InfophileIt's not about the articles, but about the people receiving threats. Found an article from just last week which says Zoe Quinn is still receiving daily threats: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2015/04/28/gamergate/05/03/2015 - 7:31am
Mattsworknameup hating the game industry on a more general level .05/03/2015 - 7:25am
MattsworknameIts funny, you know what i just realized, I love video games, and I hate the industry that has been forged around them. I hate the big name publishers, the press, all that jazz. But I still love gaming. that kinda sucks that I love games and still wind05/03/2015 - 7:25am
MattsworknameIt's like teh whole thing just went quiet.05/03/2015 - 6:28am
MattsworknameInfophile, I haven't really seen much activity either way, other then a few minor articles here or there, its like GG just sorta went dormant. I dont deny that I have some concerns with gaming press and industry, but I followed GG the last few months05/03/2015 - 6:28am
Infophile@Mattsworkname: It's more of a case that many media outlets have lost interest in their usual actions. "GamerGate still viciously harassing Zoe Quinn" isn't exactly news. Even if they are. *puts on sea lion hunting gear* Come at me, GG! I dare ya!05/03/2015 - 4:40am
MattsworknameAs much a I have some of the same concerns GG supposibly crusades against, i was really under the impression GG had sorta gone into dormantcy , it had been kinda quiet the last feww months05/02/2015 - 7:42pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bxcc3SM_KA if you guys haven't seen it, john oliver goes after patent trolls.05/02/2015 - 6:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I dont like the guests, who ever did this is stupid. I can understand not liking GG, but come on.05/02/2015 - 6:17pm
Wonderkarpwell how about that shi.....poop05/02/2015 - 6:07pm
Andrew EisenKotaku caught it. Ran the story an hour ago. http://kotaku.com/gamergate-meetup-evacuated-after-apparent-threat-170176164505/02/2015 - 5:36pm
Wonderkarpevent was treading pretty hardcore on twitter last night. course thats just twitter. I'll agree with you if it does get reported05/02/2015 - 5:25pm
Andrew EisenAwkward wording on my part but "event" was referring to the bomb threat. It's silly to chastise mainstream press for not covering something that happened a mere 12 hours earlier, well after close of business on Friday, at a gathering very few knew about.05/02/2015 - 5:14pm
Wonderkarpthey arent "uppity" over the event not being covered. they are uppity over the harassment/bombthreats not being reported.05/02/2015 - 5:09pm
Andrew EisenWe've known that for quite a while now but I agree, completely cutting the feature is not a good move.05/02/2015 - 3:49pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/2015/05/02/splatoon-multiplayer-online-shooter-wii-u/ excuse my language, but I call bullcrap. enough with this crap Nintendo its stupid.05/02/2015 - 3:27pm
 

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