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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http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

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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Papa MidnightKyle Orland's response: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/addressing-allegations-of-collusion-among-gaming-journalists/09/18/2014 - 12:41pm
Papa MidnightJames, I say this as a person who has managed a gaming press website before: This article is horrendous sensationalism: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/18/2014 - 12:41pm
Krono@james I never said you did. I was responding to Andrew's statement that he'd seen a mere two articles suggesting that the term gamer was tainted, by pointing him to a list of the articles that were more or less the orgin of the idea.09/18/2014 - 12:09pm
E. Zachary KnightBut james, you replied to my tweet when I tweeted about one of those articles. That is basically the same thing as writing an editorial on GP in support of it. ;)09/18/2014 - 12:04pm
james_fudgeNot only did we not write one, we didn't cover any of them either.09/18/2014 - 11:46am
KronoThe underlying suggestion most of the articles had that gamers supporting the issue were just the young men stereotype pissed off a lot of people, and sparked the #NotYourShield tag09/18/2014 - 9:41am
Krono@andrew Just two? The whole reason #GamerGate gained real traction was that 9 op-eds including arguments to that effect dropped in 24 hours: http://markdownshare.com/view/a524affd-e679-40be-8aa1-72058065dc2a09/18/2014 - 9:38am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.gog.com/forum/general/double_fine_abandoned_spacebase_df9_development ITT: People who don't know what Early Access is.09/18/2014 - 9:32am
ZippyDSMleeFF2/4 remake now on steam.09/18/2014 - 9:13am
james_fudgeThis what they really think of us: http://www.donotlink.com/framed?54192709/18/2014 - 9:10am
ConsterAh yes, nothing quite says "I take offense to being associated with an awful few" like siding with said awful few.09/18/2014 - 9:07am
Michael ChandraSo be smart, and if you want to be part of the good guys, separate yourself from the bad guys. Don't attack those upset you won't.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraMeanwhile, Gamergate is tainted and wise people already use a different tag to defend decent arguments. Keeping it up is like going #KKK while arguing about PoC.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraSo while claiming to be unfairly attacked for the actions of a selected few, you unfairly attack an entire crowd for the actions of a selected few? #notagamer #butahater09/18/2014 - 6:30am
james_fudgeQuiknkold: Let me ask you- how many of those 'gamers are dead' articles did you see here? Because apparently i'm part of some vast conspiracy.09/18/2014 - 5:18am
NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
 

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