Scrabulous No More. Lawsuit Halts Popular Facebook App

Dennis Faas's picture

Your turn on Scrabulous? Too bad. As of July 29, 2008 the popular application will no longer be available to Facebook subscribers in Canada and the US. Before it was disabled, the app closely resembling Hasbro and Mattel's board game Scrabble had over half a million players daily.

The battle began in January as legal dispute between the Agarwalla brothers (Scrabulous' Indian developers) and the two distributors of Scrabble (Hasbro in Canada, Mattel in the United States). Both toy companies accused the Agarwalla's RJ Software company of intellectual property infringement. Currently, it is Hasbro's lawsuit against RJ Softwares that has ended Scrabulous' fantastic run on Facebook, calling the game a "clear and blatant" piracy of the original game.

News about Hasbro and Mattel's beef with Scrabulous and Facebook for allowing the game to remain on the site was scarce until July when Hasbro announced an official version of online Scrabble, developed in conjunction with video game developer Electronic Arts. The sanctioned version was to be released through Facebook, but only after the social networking site agreed to remove the illegal version of the game. (Source:

It was only a matter of time until the makers of Scrabulous were slammed with an intellectual copyright infringement suit. They made little attempt to invent a new game and no attempt to disguise the origin of their idea.

This week, Scrabulous was re-launched on Facebook as 'Wordscraper'. Few major differences are evident, since Hasbro doesn't have a copyright for the "general concept of lining up letters to form words and scoring points based on the letters used and where they are on the board." Thus, Wordscraper features only minimal changes to its design and colours to avoid treading on Hasbro's toes again (Source:

For the moment, it seems like the hubub has died down, and Scrabble-lovers, er, 'Wordscraper'-lovers, can get out their dictionaries and keep playing.

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