Rajat and Jayant Aggarwalla have blocked access to their Scrabulous Facebook app for US and Canadian users, according to this NY Times article called Scrabulous Barred to North American Users and anAssociated Press article called Popular Scrabble knockoff suspended on Facebook. There are lots of blog posts available, including my own billso.com post called Scrabble vs Scrabulous, Mashable’s Actually, Scrabulous Shut Themselves Down. Sort of., eFlux Media’s Scrabulous is no more and Marketing Shift’s Facebook Shutters Scrabulous; Hasboro Smiles. (Note: the spelling error was made by Marketing Shift, not me.)
It sounds like Facebook asked the brothers to take this step, after multiple requests from Hasbro.
Some Facebook users really need a lesson on copyright as well. Scrabulous may be fun, but the online groups that are defending the game are displaying their ignorance and contempt for intellectual property laws. It wouldn’t surprise me if many of Facebook Scrabulous players also downloaded unlicensed movies, songs and books from peer-to-peer services. I disucssed textbook downloading on yesterday’s billso.com post called A torrent of textbooks.
Perhaps some Scrabulous users will actually try to play Scrabble in real life, while Hasbro and Electronic Arts try to get their licensed Facebook Scrabble app to run in a reliable manner.
I’m a big fan of fair use and the Creative Commons, but I really hope Hasbro and Mattel pursue their court cases. The brothers are several weak arguments in their defense, and have shown poor judgment by collecting advertising revenue from their web site. A settlement would set an ugly precedent, and encourage more developers to create unlicensed versions of copyrighted works.
Related posts on billso.com
- Copyright and fair use
- Creative Commons
- 8 July 2008: Scrabble vs Scrabulous
- 11 March 2008: Widgets won’t work without a plan
- 25 February 2008: Social media 101
- 19 February 2008: Social media gets too sticky
- 4 February 2008: Better than free
- 28 January 2008: Crazy money
- 3 January 2008: Impression management and Facebook
- 5 October 2007: What’s wrong with copyright
- 17 July 2007: A quick explanation of copyright law
- 10 August 2007: Forty-somethings flock to Facebook
- 20 June 2007: Facebook vs MySpace
- 29 September 2006: US copyright law in verse
- 5 August 2006: Isolated Americans trying to connect