Copyright, Intellectual Property, Scrabble / Scrabulous, Social Networking Websites

Bring Back Scrabulous or I Will F_ _K_NG (17 pts!) Cut You.

avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition that will determine ATL’s next editor. It is marked with Sophist’s avatar (at right).]
This is why people hate lawyers. This is why lawyers hate lawyers. Scrabulous was too much fun for lawyers to leave it alone.
Hasbro has a legitimate issue, because Scrabulous is clearly ripping them off. Facebook had no choice but to remove Scrabulous once Hasbro smacked them around with a DMCA notification.
Scrabble rack Scrabulous.jpgBut there are other legal issues that Hasbro would like you to ignore. There are split IP rights for the Scrabble franchise; Hasbro owns the North American rights (licensed to Electronic Arts for online play), Mattel owns the rights elsewhere.
Scrabulous’ real sin is that it allows you to log on in New York and play someone living in York. Hasbro’s and EA’s exclusively North American products can’t compete, and that puts panties in a bunch.
Aside from Facebook-stalking counsel from Hasbro and Mattel, what is the solution? Hasbro’s open contempt for the consumer does nothing to change the fact that they have a solid case. They’ve even offered to pay Scrabulous’ creators Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla handily just to go away. But as Real Networks CEO Robert Glaser points out, the real problem is that Hasbro and Mattel must merge their rights.
They’d better get on that soon or I’m going to have to go back to anime porn to pass the time.
(Photo credit: Flickr.)

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