Hasbro Trips Up Nerf Blogger With Dirty Tricks

Hasbro Trips Up Nerf Blogger With Dirty Tricks

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Hasbro has unleashed its lawyers on a blogger it claims to love.

Martyn Yang of Canberra runs the Urban Taggers: Apartment Warfare blog, a site dedicated to "all things to do with toy blasters," which of course includes Hasbro's extensive line of Nerf guns. So when he received an email from Leigh Gibson, Hasbro's Pacific product manager, offering to supply some Nerf Pinpoint Sights for a promotional giveaway, he was pretty excited. Gibson offered ten of the not-yet-for-sale items to give away to users, plus one for Yang himself - but they never actually arrived.

Instead, six days after giving Hasbro his mailing address, he received a letter from the Baker & McKenzie law firm demanding the removal of "commercially sensitive information and copyright protected images about its unreleased N-Strike Elite 'Rampage' Blaster" and, more disconcertingly, the name, address, email and IP address of whoever supplied him with the images and information.

Yang, to his credit, refused to roll over. He pulled the images from his site but refused to name the source, suggesting instead that someone at Hasbro check out eBay, the Chinese equivalent Taobao, or perhaps do a little Googling to dig up the information itself. In response, Baker & McKenzie lawyer Robert Arnold told Yang that Hasbro "has real concerns about [his] ability to access Nerf products before they are released to the market" and expressed hope that he'd reconsider and discuss the matter further. He also claimed that Hasbro's request for his mailing address had nothing to do with his letter.

"I can only assume that Hasbro really does want to send you some stuff. Hasbro actually admires what you are doing with your blogsite and has no wish to shut you down," Arnold wrote. "But you must understand that Hasbro has got to find out where these samples came from."

But three weeks after that, the situation went downhill even further when Yang's neighbors told him that a couple of "creepy people" had been hanging around his apartment. They turned out to be "representatives" of Baker & McKenzie, possibly private investigators hired by the firm, and they wanted to talk to him. Yang, "taken aback [and] shocked by the ambushing," agreed, but then fired off another lengthy letter to Arnold reiterating his position. He also forwarded a breakdown of the entire exchange to the Office of the New South Wales Legal Services Commissioner.

"I was very, very disappointed with Hasbro... People are often surprised that my blog is all done for free and for the geeky love of Nerf," Yang told Crikey. "As a consumer and long-time fan, I felt that the far from up-front emails from Hasbro and their lawyers were very poor behavior from such a large and sophisticated organization."

Representatives of Baker & McKenzie refused to comment on the matter, while Gibson hung up on Crikey when asked whether Hasbro had pulled the ol' switcheroo on Yang to get his address.

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Is Hasbro run by Nigerian Princes?

At least he doesn't have thugs in Rainbow Dash t-shirts waiting to give him a few lessons on the magic of friendship.

DVS BSTrD:
Is Hasbro run by Nigerian Princes?

Sounds like they are.

I think he's got a case if they take it to court.

Ouch. I'd always pegged Hasbro as one of those mega-corporations that actually wasn't too much of a dick.

So much for that.

"has real concerns about [his] ability to access Nerf products before they are released to the market"

Its. A. Fucking. DART GUN.

Its not some sort of super secret weapon that if it is leaked will end up in the wrong hands and the world will soon be conquered. Its an amusing little toy that looks vaguely like a gun that shoots soft rubber tipped darts.

WHO GIVES A FUCK?

jedizero:
Its an amusing little toy that looks vaguely like a gun that shoots soft rubber tipped darts.

WHO GIVES A FUCK?

greedy people, that's who. It's why I'm not a not fan of privatizing everything, the same petty bullshit will happen.

I never really understood why corporations go after their fans in lawsuits. Maybe it is just that we don't hear about the lawsuits against people genuinely threatening the franchises, but it seems to me that a lot of the cases we do hear about are game companies, or toy/recreational companies, going after their fans, suing the people who love and promote their stuff. It doesn't make any sense to me, all it can really do is hurt them by betrayal their most loyal followers.

If I were Hasbro's lawyers, I'd be more concerned about the tidal wave of pornographic My Little Pony art that's so widespread that its difficult even for people like me who dont give a darn about My Little Pony to avoid it sometimes.

That kind of stuff actually can demote the reputation of their brand.

In this case however, Hasbro is going out of their way to damage the good will and reputation of their brand.

These guys have stupid ass priorities.

SuperTrainStationH:
If I were Hasbro's lawyers, I'd be more concerned about the tidal wave of pornographic My Little Pony art that's so widespread that its difficult even for people like me who dont give a darn about My Little Pony to avoid it sometimes.

I imagine they don't go after MLP porn stuff because...

1. it's not just one person, it's a lot of different people so it would be nearly impossible to track them all down.

2. if they did go after those people it's just going to draw more, perhaps less "common internet user" (i.e parents) attention to it. And lets be honest if they did people will start to make more just to troll.

3. rule 34 no exceptions.

As for the OP I have no idea why they would do this sounds like someone at Hasbro thinks they are fucking Jack Bauer or Snake Plissken and has to track down the stolen goods or find the leak or some shit

This is why lawyers (specifically ones that specialize in copyright and patent law) must be kept on a very tight lease. They are extremely rabid and foam at the mouth if anything resembling an infringement comes within their peripheral vision. In this instance, I think it has less to do with Hasbro being the standard evil corporation and more them not paying attention to what their legal team is doing. Once the master hears that his dogs have been mauling small children on their way home from school there is certain to be rolled-up newspaper thrashings aplenty.

Nerf guns sell surprisingly well considerin how expensive they are. You know what else flourishes because of how expensive nerf guns are? Knockoff nerf guns. What can a company do if they find a competitors new whatever before it gets released and make their own? Suddenly the first company is the knockoff despite havin the idea first.

I'll never understand how people don't understand how companies get all antsy when stuff that hasn't been released yet gets in the hands of people who shouldn't have it.

jedizero:
"has real concerns about [his] ability to access Nerf products before they are released to the market"

Its. A. Fucking. DART GUN.

Its not some sort of super secret weapon that if it is leaked will end up in the wrong hands and the world will soon be conquered. Its an amusing little toy that looks vaguely like a gun that shoots soft rubber tipped darts.

WHO GIVES A FUCK?

I think they want to keep it a secret because if it's leaked then the fakes will come out even before the real thing is released.

Andy Chalk:
Yang, to his credit, refused to roll over. He pulled the images from his site but refused to name the source, suggesting instead that someone at Hasbro check out eBay, the Chinese equivalent Taobao, or perhaps do a little Googling to dig up the information itself.

I have no idea why they would check Taobao. Every last worker in those Chinese factories is forthright and upstanding and keenly aware of American intellectual property laws. They would NEVER sneak out a new product that just started manufacture and sell it to an American enthusiast for the equivalent of two months' salary.

NEVER!

In the United States, I think the situation would be handled differently. He could have made a case for entrapment, a serious and provable offense, not to mention illegal. This reeks of entrapment to me, which is to bait someone to commit a crime.

TitanAura:
This is why lawyers (specifically ones that specialize in copyright and patent law) must be kept on a very tight lease. They are extremely rabid and foam at the mouth if anything resembling an infringement comes within their peripheral vision. In this instance, I think it has less to do with Hasbro being the standard evil corporation and more them not paying attention to what their legal team is doing. Once the master hears that his dogs have been mauling small children on their way home from school there is certain to be rolled-up newspaper thrashings aplenty.

This.

Also, kudos on the awesome anaogy and the C&H avatar.

Formica Archonis:

Andy Chalk:
Yang, to his credit, refused to roll over. He pulled the images from his site but refused to name the source, suggesting instead that someone at Hasbro check out eBay, the Chinese equivalent Taobao, or perhaps do a little Googling to dig up the information itself.

I have no idea why they would check Taobao. Every last worker in those Chinese factories is forthright and upstanding and keenly aware of American intellectual property laws. They would NEVER sneak out a new product that just started manufacture and sell it to an American enthusiast for the equivalent of two months' salary.

NEVER!

This so badly. Maybe if you stopped paying the people who made your super-secret-high-tech-toy-gun such shite wages, they'd be less inclined to piss on you for financial gain the first chance they get.

The guy is in the right, but this is a WIERD case.

What fun!

Bravo, Hasbro, you gave us RollerCoaster Tycoon, and now you give us a fun story. Bravo.

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jedizero:
"has real concerns about [his] ability to access Nerf products before they are released to the market"

Its not some sort of super secret weapon that if it is leaked will end up in the wrong hands and the world will soon be conquered. Its an amusing little toy that looks vaguely like a gun that shoots soft rubber tipped darts.

They must have thought that he got the plans for Metal Gear, rather than the scopes he did get.

Next thing you know, Snake's bursting into the guy's apartment, expecting to find the plans for Metal Gear-NERF-1.

Lear'sFool:
The guy is in the right, but this is a WIERD case.

What fun!

Bravo, Hasbro, you gave us RollerCoaster Tycoon, and now you give us a fun story. Bravo.

image

jedizero:
"has real concerns about [his] ability to access Nerf products before they are released to the market"

Its not some sort of super secret weapon that if it is leaked will end up in the wrong hands and the world will soon be conquered. Its an amusing little toy that looks vaguely like a gun that shoots soft rubber tipped darts.

They must have thought that he got the plans for Metal Gear, rather than the scopes he did get.

Next thing you know, Snake's bursting into the guy's apartment, expecting to find the plans for Metal Gear-NERF-1.

He got them off of an Asian equivalent to eBay. Since most of these guns are manufactured in China, it's not hard to see how many of these guns get leaked to the online markets before street date. This isn't anything new.

Zer_:

He got them off of an Asian equivalent to eBay. Since most of these guns are manufactured in China, it's not hard to see how many of these guns get leaked to the online markets before street date. This isn't anything new.

Ah. This changes everything.

Oh well. Still, Hasbro gets kudos for RollerCoaster Tycoon.

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Roboto:
In the United States, I think the situation would be handled differently. He could have made a case for entrapment, a serious and provable offense, not to mention illegal. This reeks of entrapment to me, which is to bait someone to commit a crime.

Entrapment is when they trick you into committing a crime you normally wouldn't have. They did not trick him into a crime, they tricked him into giving up his address, thus not entrapment.

You know at first I was going to make fun of them for so rigorously defending the designs to dart guns, but then I remembered those darts had a tendency to simply vanish. Perhaps they are defending dimensional transportation technology they don't fully understand yet.

Fr]anc[is:
You know at first I was going to make fun of them for so rigorously defending the designs to dart guns, but then I remembered those darts had a tendency to simply vanish. Perhaps they are defending dimensional transportation technology they don't fully understand yet.

Nah, it's obviously cloaking technology. That's why you don't find the darts until years later. Their cloaking fields ran out of power.

jedizero:
Its. A. Fucking. DART GUN.
(...)
WHO GIVES A FUCK?

The day you invent a product you can market to children and possibly man-children I am going to steal it and make a profit out of it and ask "Who actually gives a fuck?" when you try to sue me.

I'd countersue. If someone's brought out the lawyers, it's time you did too.

ElPatron:

The day you invent a product you can market to children and possibly man-children I am going to steal it and make a profit out of it and ask "Who actually gives a fuck?" when you try to sue me.

I'm sorry, when in this article did it state that someone was stealing anything and making a profit off of it? Or are you in fact talking out of your ass?

'Cause to me it seems more like he's showing information about something that is going to be made available to the US on a blog that is maintained for free. Not selling anything, not stealing anything, just sharing information.

Lear'sFool:

Zer_:

He got them off of an Asian equivalent to eBay. Since most of these guns are manufactured in China, it's not hard to see how many of these guns get leaked to the online markets before street date. This isn't anything new.

Ah. This changes everything.

Oh well. Still, Hasbro gets kudos for RollerCoaster Tycoon.

image

Actually, it was made by Chris Sawyer and MicroProse. Hasbro Interactive just published it. Then, they got detached from Hasbro, changed their name, and disintegrated into the wind.

So... Nope.

But, really, if they were so intent on finding out where he was getting this sort of info, they could've been- no, they should've been less intimidating about it.

jedizero:
Not selling anything, not stealing anything, just sharing information.

In the piece of news it is clear that Hasbro has no idea from where the "samples" could have come from.

If you are producing a product and samples are leaked before release, you can lose a lot of money. I'm going to compare it to gaming: imagine a Call of Duty game would have a leak a few days before launch. People would start pirating like crazy because at that point even people who considered paying for the game just got it for free.

Now imagine a sweat shop in China reverse-engineering your products because of a "sample" you don't even know where it came from.

Lugbzurg:

Actually, it was made by Chris Sawyer and MicroProse. Hasbro Interactive just published it. Then, they got detached from Hasbro, changed their name, and disintegrated into the wind.

So... Nope.

But, really, if they were so intent on finding out where he was getting this sort of info, they could've been- no, they should've been less intimidating about it.

I KNOW Mr. Sawyer made RCT. But it was Hasbro who published it, so don't they get a little treat for helping?

But it's still Sawyer who gets the main credits.

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I am getting the impression that two or more parties crossed their wires here.

ElPatron:

In the piece of news it is clear that Hasbro has no idea from where the "samples" could have come from.

Yes, this is true. I can understand their getting upset, but they're suing someone who has done a blog that has given then free advertisement for a long time. Under the guise of giving him freebies to hand out in a contest.

That is why I say that its not a big deal, not a big enough deal to murder your good will with the customer.

 

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