Scrabble-Scrabulous standoff spells L-A-W-S-U-I-T

After unsuccessful take-down notice requests, Hasbro files copyright infringement suit against creators of popular Facebook clone.

by

It was only a matter of time before the Scrabble-Scrabulous feud came to a head, and that breaking point has now been reached. Hasbro said today that it has filed suit in the Southern District of New York against Rajat Agarwalla, Jayant Agarwalla, and RJ Softwares, better known as the creators of the popular Facebook application Scrabulous. As part of the suit, Hasbro said that it has served Facebook with yet another take-down notice for the application due to copyright infringement.

Though the application has been available since 2006, Hasbro began its crusade to have Scrabulous removed from Facebook earlier this year. The reason for the gamemaker's sudden ire toward the application, which draws more than 500,000 daily average users, can be attributed to the launch of the official Scrabble online game through EA's Pogo.com and Facebook this month. Currently, the official Scrabble Facebook application logs just under 20,000 users globally.

"Hasbro has an obligation to act appropriately against infringement of our intellectual properties," commented Hasbro general counsel Barry Nagler. "We view the Scrabulous application as clear and blatant infringement of our Scrabble intellectual property, and we are pursuing this legal action in accordance with the interests of our shareholders, and the integrity of the Scrabble brand."

Hasbro, which signed an exclusive licensing agreement with publishing powerhouse Electronic Arts in August 2007, has begun migrating a number of its prized casual-game properties to the digital gaming sector. Most recently, EA announced this week that Operation Mania--a spin-off of the surgeon-in-training precision puzzle game--will be available through Pogo.com and at retail for the PC beginning in August for $19.95.

Discussion

36 comments
kothos
kothos

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Slammer612
Slammer612

Devvy01 For the Sony/tetris part you do know that people actually pay for the license to reproduce such products right? Its not like Nintendo goes Hey lets make a tetris game, makes it, and sells it without paying something to the orignal creators (or the original creators sell the rights to be able to duplicate their models) As for water I don't think you can patent it, just the names they can copyright for the brand, otherwise Water Company/Faucet wins

sj420
sj420

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

sj420
sj420

this is the kind of publicity that will hurt hasbro. so, you're going to take down a game that thousands of people play free online, and you want to charge them 19.95? the smart think to do would be to make a deal w/ facebook, push rj to the side, and provide the real scrabble for free, for a share of the revenue. good pr for hasbro, imo, and no one would cry over spilt scrabble pieces. they have every right to sue, no doubt, and they should have made a move earlier.

Jason_Morris
Jason_Morris

As big a Scrabulous fan as I am - it's largely because it's a plain and clear, blatant copy of Scrabble. Hasbro really have a damned good case on their hands, TBH. Scrabble may be "an old school game", but it's one of the very best, perhaps the only real rival to chess; there really is a lot of skill and tactics involved in playing it well. Anyway, I'm just bitter that Scrabulous got blocked by the work servers last year. :-(

cooldude03
cooldude03

Scrabble is a classic there is no doubt about it. I suck at spelling so I hate the game, but it's still a classic.

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

acsam12304 its just a old school game that really will a hardcore gamer will want to play let alone care about? no Hasbro is just wanting attention I assume you either still at school or dont work in a office,this sort of game saves sanity.The amount of flash games i used to hammer at work was the only thing that kept me going,and it big business nowadays

yboucher
yboucher

2 things: 1- at least Hasbro waited for their own version to be ready, before asking to take Scrabulous down, therefore putting the players on their side. 2- don't nobody downplay the importance of Facebook or web games. I'm a hardcore gamer, but I'm also a hardcore Scrabulous player, simply because, hey, i can't play Devil May Cry when I'm at work or online at the airport, you see ? And there's tons of money being made there.

acsam12304
acsam12304

its just a old school game that really will a hardcore gamer will want to play let alone care about? no Hasbro is just wanting attention

jedikevin2
jedikevin2

Sad. If Hasbro was smart they would have done this lawsuit in way to give money to them and the other company. A good lawsuit where now Hasbro takes a big share of profit is better then shutting the game down and putting a new one at there sites where no one plays it.

Devvy01
Devvy01

how many SONY ps2 controllers copies can you buy. how many versions of tetris are there? How many different varities of bottled water are there? who owns what these days? Don't copy something, go and do something new yourself.

lewser5
lewser5

Shouldn't Hasbro have done this a long time ago? They wouldn't have this problem if they stopped them early. But i guess this is one way for them to get some free publicity and get people to notice.

V-r0cK
V-r0cK

This may be out of topic here but the majority of comments are against the people that used Hasbro's work thus wanting Hasbro to win. But when it came to Nintendo and the recent lawsuit more people were for Nintendo for using someone else's work. Just shows bias here. Everybody here knows the law about copyrights etc yet it seems people forget it when it deals with their love for such companies like Nintendo. Funny.

dngrx
dngrx

Nemephosis - "Okay, so did Hasbro invent Scrabble? I'm thinking unless they were Parker Brothers, then... no. My original comment stands, they're whine" Entrepreneurs have been selling their ideas/inventions to the likes of Hasbro for decades. You're comparing a group of individuals who have brought the rights to distribute said product with one that simply copied, repackaged and distributed said product without the Copyright owner(s) consent. Which is comparable to what DVD rippers do.

yboucher
yboucher

Although I'm a big Scrabulous fan myself, I have to say, it's their fault they weren't cooperative. Block Star creators cooperated when the Tetris guys came to them... and now everyone's happy. But Scrabulous... frankly... did they really think they could get away with it ?

km1498
km1498

Stealing others work should never be tolerated, so Hasbro has a right to sue.

Nemephosis
Nemephosis

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Nemephosis
Nemephosis

Okay, so did Hasbro invent Scrabble? I'm thinking unless they were Parker Brothers, then... no. My original comment stands, they're whiners.

AzureWind213
AzureWind213

Scrabulous "creators" are screwed. RJ Softwares stole. Not like Hasbro needs the money, but you can't just go stealing people's copyrighted material and distributing it to build your popularity! Go Hasbro on this one.

stakex007
stakex007

There are reasons why you can't copy other peoples work, and call it your own without paying them... and since Hasbro is making their own online version, this was only a matter of time. Its theirs, they have the right... Hasbros doing nothing wrong. Think of it like this... how would you feel if someone took your property and called it their own, and it cost you money? You would run and sue them, as its the right thing to do. Don't copy others work, and you won't get sued.... that simple.

tiki_rebb
tiki_rebb

100% blatant copy right infringement = I-L-L-E-G-A-L. You go Hasbro.

Nemephosis
Nemephosis

Here's Hasbro's complaint in a nutshell. "BOO HOO, WE DON'T WANT POEPLE GETTING FOR FREE WHAT WE WANT TO CHARGE $20 FOR. BOOOO HOO HOO HOO." **** Hasbro. Greedy bastards.

go5u
go5u

more like a LOL-suit AHAHAHAHAHA fail.

Killer2401
Killer2401

I hope Hasbro wins here. Facebook is stealing; plain and simple.

PieCrusher
PieCrusher

Come on its scrabble who cares... hehe im only saying this because i suck at scrabble.

KingOfOdanata
KingOfOdanata

Well, it is Copyright infringement so the lawsuit holds. But, whenever a company waits until they themselves release a similar concept to sue when they've known the program existed for sometime, it just feels a bit unethical. It seems they're just using the law to eliminate competition (the little guy). But if Scrabulous isn't making money from it, I don't see the problem. I know other people do similar things (Magic Workstation, etc).

ronniepage588
ronniepage588

lol pathetic. i cant believe shareholders of scrabble even existed.

Tenjikuronin
Tenjikuronin

While I haven't played it myself, I've heard that Scrabulous is insanely popular on Facebook....

Jaysonguy
Jaysonguy

Wow, when you steal people get upset and contact lawyers? Astounding! What gets me is who thought this was a good idea on the theif's part? Who walked into the board meeting and said "Ok guys I have an idea, we STEAL EVERYTHING and call it our own. It's the internet, who's going to be paying attention?

GrimJesta
GrimJesta

Agreed with Mercanis. It doesn't matter how long it took them to do it or whether or not this has anything to do with the electronic version of Scrabble coming out. Scrabulous is IP infringement and they have every right to pursue this avenue, especially when you consider that they already served those take down notices. -=Grim=-

Mercanis
Mercanis

Not to be a downer... but it IS a blatant copy of a copyrighted property, as awesome as it is. Why can't we all just get along?

TristanH12
TristanH12

lol I dont even know what Scrabulous will do, it was fun and all.