Thursday, August 28, 2008

Scrabulous removed from Facebook: Indian developers in legal hassle

A popular application Scrabulous that was built around the concept of Scrabble has been banned by Facebook. The developers, brothers, Rajat and Jayant, have been served a legal notice by toymaker Mattel, that owns the rights to the original word-building game outside the United States.
Hasbro and Mattel launched their own official Scrabble app on Facebook but it has only 70,000 active users,as compared to the 500,00 daily users on Scrabulous (Only 10 percent of the number of Scrabulous users at its peak.)
Mattel approached the Indian courts earlier this year and the case is still pending. As a result India is the only country where Facebook users can still access the application. In light of their legal troubles, the Agarwalla brothers have launched another word-building game 'Wordscraper' which uses circles instead of squares, has a marginally different scoring system and lets users design their own boards.
The Agarwalla brothers renamed their app Wordscrapper and tweaked it so users could design their own boards, in a bid to avoid legal proceedings.
Jayant Agarwalla said: "It surprises us that Mattel chose to direct Facebook to take down Scrabulous without waiting for the decision [of the Indian courts]. Mattel's action speaks volumes about their business practices and respect for the judiciary."