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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WonderkarpI am not sure I agree that its Harassment, But I do agree that he doesnt bring anything to the conversation. Its too the point where whenever I see his name, I just Thumbs down and move on. Its all buzz words and accusations and rarely civil05/30/2015 - 6:22am
MattsworknameWell, best of luck on that, but im not holding my breath.05/30/2015 - 5:04am
Goth_SkunkI believe the time to pull the plug was long ago, but kept quiet knowing full well Iron Patriot cannot help themself. There is a mountain of evidence to support my claim. In my opinion, it is harassment, and it needs to stop.05/30/2015 - 4:35am
Goth_SkunkIt's not getting me down. Far from it. Nevertheless, the conduct is unacceptable and has gone far beyond what any patient human being ought to be expected to tolerate.05/30/2015 - 4:34am
MattsworknameDont let him get you down Goth, I just go look at kitten videos for a bit to get my posistive mood back05/30/2015 - 4:27am
Goth_SkunkIt is not conducive to a welcoming, open-minded environment that this site is supposed to be.05/30/2015 - 2:33am
Goth_SkunkIt's highly annoying. It adds nothing of note to any topic and is of no benefit to anyone. And the fact that it has not been stopped up until now is giving me the impression that site administration condones it.05/30/2015 - 2:32am
Goth_SkunkIron Patriot goes out of their way to attack, mischaracterize, dehumanize, and otherwise derail any topic where an individual is even remotely considering siding with GamerGate.05/30/2015 - 2:31am
Goth_SkunkI believe there is sufficient evidence to accuse Iron Patriot of harassment. I would like something done about it.05/30/2015 - 2:20am
Andrew EisenFirst I hear of the Frag Dolls in many years and they're disbanding. http://fragdolls.com/frag-dolls-farewell-2/05/29/2015 - 7:59pm
WonderkarpI'd love a real Conker. the Project Spark thing I am looking at. If they provide atleast 25 hours of original conker crazyness that I dont have to build.....05/29/2015 - 7:55pm
Matthew WilsonI think he was talking about wanting a real one.05/29/2015 - 7:19pm
Andrew EisenKarp - A real Conker game or are you content with that Project Spark thing?05/29/2015 - 7:18pm
Matthew Wilson if they are smart, they hire Hideo Kojima, give him his own studio, and rebew the partnership with Guillermo del Toro.05/29/2015 - 7:04pm
MattsworknameReally hope silent hills gets made, it really deserves to be released, and konami is being stupid riht now so if MS wants to take it, more power to them.05/29/2015 - 6:32pm
Wonderkarp80% complete? Well. If there was ever a reason to make me buy a Xbone, that would be it. That and Conker05/29/2015 - 5:24pm
Matthew Wilsonif true, a very smart move.05/29/2015 - 5:24pm
Adam802Huge if true: http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/05/29/silent-hills-reportedly-an-xbox-one-exclusive?abthid=5568e08e738dff6a4f00002305/29/2015 - 5:19pm
WonderkarpRegion locking annoys me. I cant tell you how many Japanese games I want to to play but need to own another console and learn japanese to play them!05/29/2015 - 5:13pm
MattsworknameThis kinda thing is why I have a very negitive view on things like region locking and games not being released universially. it creates problems like this where the game gets reduced as a result .05/29/2015 - 4:41pm
 

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