SHOT ACROSS THE BOW
The inevitable has happened, with the BBC reporting that "Facebook asked to pull Scrabulous", by Hasbro and Mattel, the owners of one of my life-long addictions, Scrabble. What are we talking about you ask? Here's the back-story:
"Lawyers for toy makers Hasbro and Mattel say Scrabulous infringes their copyright on the board-based word game.
The move has sparked protests by regular fans of Scrabulous keen to keep the add-on running...
"Scrabulous is currently one of Facebook's ten most popular applications - little programs that Facebook members can add to the profiles they maintain on the site.
The request to remove the add-on came from both Hasbro and Mattel because ownership of the Scrabble trademark is split between the two. Hasbro owns rights to the game in the US and Canada while Mattel has rights everywhere else in the world..."
"The Scrabulous add-on was not created by Facebook but was built for the site by Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla - software developers based in Kolkata (India).
According to the Scrabulous website it has 594,924 daily active users - about a quarter of the total that have signed up to play it."
Hopefully, this legal action is but an opening move by Hasbro and Mattel to negotiate a buy-out and/or a licensing deal with Scrabulous.
I don't know the parties involved here personally, but would venture to say if Hasbro and Mattel were able to bring this game and it's founders in-house, they'd have a shot at building a more vibrant and successful online franchise for their other properties.
In any case, the game has just begun when it comes to Scrabulous.