Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Facebook removes Scrabulous game; an authorized version of Scrabble to be launched in August

Facebook has reportedly removed its “Scrabulous” application, after Hasbro and Mattel filed a lawsuit against the creators (Rajat and Jayant Argawalla from India) of Scrabulous for copyright infringement. Technically this is a copyright action involving the notion of derivative works and fair use, but it’s obvious that there could be trademark questions as well.

Mattel (and its publisher Electronic Arts) has offered a legally authorized version of Scrabble for Facebook, to be implemented in August 2008.

The Scrabulous controversy was first discussed on this blog March 22, 2008.

Facebook users said that the Scrabulous game enhanced their social networking experience, in a way that went beyond the experience of the game itself.

A typical news story appears in Digital Journal, here. That story maintains that Facebook had received a (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) DMCA “safe harbor” takedown notice in advance of the litigation.

Even so, the Scrabulous link at Facebook was still working this morning (July 30) when I tried it around 9 AM EDT. The direct link is this.

Aug. 1, 2008

The Washington Post Express reports (on p. 10) that Facebook has reinstated a legally acceptable version of this program called "Wordscraper" with different graphics. It may well have the official Mattel product soon, however.

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