Graphing calculator programmer Brandon Wilson likes to tinker with machines and post his findings online, for no reason other than entertainment and curiosity. Recently, he turned his attention to Skylanders, the unique game that uses physical toys to interact with a virtual world. Activision apparently didn’t like it, slapping him with a cease & desist order.
Wilson worked out the encryption protocol used for storing data on the toys, and intended to emulate his own Skylanders portal peripheral. While his activities involved working around security chips, his intent was purely innocent and clearly wasn’t intended for piracy. Lawyers don’t discriminate, however, and Wilson has agreed not to continue publishing his findings.
It’s a shame that genuinely interesting projects like this get shut down in the earth-scorching war against piracy. While I certainly understand why lawyers don’t discriminate, it doesn’t make it any less sad.