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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ConsterNeeneko: I thought they cancelled it because the major cinema franchises were too scared of terrorist attacks to show the film?12/18/2014 - 9:55am
Neeneko@Wonderkarp - there is still a lot of debate regarding if the movie was a motive or not. Unnamed officials say yes, the timeline says no.12/18/2014 - 9:10am
NeenekoSomething does not smell right though, Sony is no stranger to being hacked, so why cancel this film? For that matter, they are still not giving in to hacker's original demands as far as I know.12/18/2014 - 9:06am
PHX Corp@prh99 Not to mention the Dangerous Precedent that sony's hacking scandal just set http://mashable.com/2014/12/17/sony-hackers-precedent/12/18/2014 - 8:25am
Matthew WilsonI hope its released to netflix or amazon12/18/2014 - 12:11am
prh99Basically they've given every tin pot dictator and repressive regime a blue print how to conduct censorship abroad. The hecklers veto wins again. At least when it comes to Sony and the four major theater chains.12/17/2014 - 11:55pm
MaskedPixelante"It's not OUR fault that our game doesn't work, it's YOUR fault for having so many friends."12/17/2014 - 9:48pm
Matthew Wilsonapparently tetris did not work because he has a full friends list12/17/2014 - 9:21pm
WonderkarpSo Sony cancelled the release of the Interview. was it ever confirmed that the Sony hacking was done because of that specific movie?12/17/2014 - 8:54pm
MaskedPixelanteWow, Ubisoft went four for four, I didn't think it was actually possible.12/17/2014 - 8:37pm
MechaTama31Oh, ok, I was mixing up "on Greenlight" and "Greenlit".12/17/2014 - 8:23pm
Matthew Wilson@phx you beat me to it. how do you screw up tetris?! my ubisoft this is just stupid. no one should ever preorder a ubisoft game again! ps people should never preorder any game regardles of dev.12/17/2014 - 6:28pm
PHX Corphttp://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-tetris-ps4 I give up on ubisoft12/17/2014 - 6:01pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://comicbook.com/blog/2014/08/16/exclusive-original-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-trilogy-to-be-rele/ Yeah, this'll never happen.12/17/2014 - 5:03pm
NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
E. Zachary KnightValve's editorial control comes from removing problem games and accepting games to Steam. They make no claim over any games otherwise.12/17/2014 - 12:52pm
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, It is not at all a form of endorsement. Grenlight is an open forum for game developers to pitch their game to Valve/Steam and Steam users. Does Valve have some editorial control? Yes, but not to the point that they preapprove games.12/17/2014 - 12:51pm
Neeneko@EZK - I disagree. Greenlight is built off Valve's brand. While not an explicit endorsement, it is a form of it, otherwise Greenlight would have no value over other platforms.12/17/2014 - 12:05pm
 

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