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Scrabulous Returns To Facebook, As Wordscraper 262

Posted by timothy
from the annoying-but-beats-years-of-court dept.
porcupine8 writes "Good news for those that have had a hole in their heart (and Facebook profile) since Hasbro forced Facebook to remove Scrabulous over copyright and trademark issues. The creators of Scrabulous have wasted no time in tweaking the game and have launched a new tile-based game called Wordscraper. In addition to changing the name, they have changed the board look so as not to directly copy the colors, etc of a Scrabble board, and have even made provisions for players to create their own board layout! Interested Scrabulous fans can add the application now. Only time will tell if the changes were extensive enough to keep Hasbro's lawyers at bay."
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Scrabulous Returns To Facebook, As Wordscraper

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  • This is a pretty good example of broken copyright laws. How long has Scrabble been out, 60 years? And because of the crazy long copyright terms now, innovation is being stifled. This is not what copyright was intended for...

    • Re:Copyright broken (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:47PM (#24423401)

      Not copyright. Trademark infringement [timesonline.co.uk]. Entirely different legal structure...

      • Re:Copyright broken (Score:5, Informative)

        by lgw (121541) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:55PM (#24423539) Journal

        No, copyright too. You can't copyright the idea of how you play the game, but you can copyright the board artwork. Of course, you can significantly aletr the board artwork so that it's different enough to avoid copyright infringement without changing how the game is played. Most game ripoffs do just this.

        Sadly, the Scrabulous guys didn't take this step, and they could still be facing a lot of trouble over that. The new game solves this problem - guess they finally bothered to care what minimal steps they needed to take to be legal.

        • by stonecypher (118140) <(stonecypher) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:14PM (#24423819) Homepage Journal

          You can't copyright the idea of how you play the game, but you can copyright the board artwork.

          There is nothing broken about this. At all. This is, in fact, exactly as it should be. Otherwise, all someone would have to do to duplicate my game would be to change the title.

          Game designs and rules are unprotected. Titles, presentation, artwork and appearances are protected. This is ideal. No brokenness here.

          • by kesuki (321456)

            "Game designs and rules are unprotected. Titles, presentation, artwork and appearances are protected. This is ideal. No brokenness here."

            so, who owns chess, and who owns shogi?

            and if all you have to do is change the design, why isn't there a boardgame out there at wal-mart for $5 made in china that has alphabetical discs, instead of tiles, with the same basic rules as scrabble?

            the only game i can recall having 'dupes' are kismet 'the modern game of yacht' and yahtzee. and kismet went so far as to change the

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by 2nd Post! (213333)

              You're claiming a failure to trademark or copyright chess or shogi implies trademark or copyright is broken?

              As for the "why no knockoff Scrabble", it's because people don't want to play a knockoff, they want to play Scrabble. If you want a proper example...
              Witness the multitude of playing cards available; every single one is interchangeable, but each one is still protected by trademark.

              • by iamhassi (659463)
                "it's because people don't want to play a knockoff, they want to play Scrabble."

                Exactly. They've been stealing Scrabble's design for years and have become rich from it. I hope Hasbro sues them for years of theft because what good is copyright or trademark if someone can steal it for a few years, make millions from it, then say "Oops Sorry!" and then give it back and walk away with the money?
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by PinkPanther (42194)
                  WHAT MONEY?

                  Hasbro has an ancient game that they has spent zero time innovating on. A market demand opens for the game on the Intertubes and Hasbro failed to identify and fulfill that niche.

                  These other guys built it, made money off it, and likely sent money Hasbro's way that they would not have otherwise had (new players wanting an offline version). I highly doubt people avoided buying the game because they could play it online...they wouldn't have FOUND the game if it wasn't online.

                  Hasbro has been r

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by poot_rootbeer (188613)

                    WHAT MONEY?

                    The money you mentioned three sentences later:

                    These other guys built it, made money off it

                    I can't believe the furor over this. The only way that it could have been more clear that the Scrabulous developers were profiting off of intellectual property that did not belong to them would be if the app had literally been named "Scrabble" and scanned in the artwork directly from Hasbro's product.

                    Whether you believe intellectual property, as a legal concept, is just or not is a different issue, but unde

            • Re:Copyright broken (Score:5, Informative)

              by stonecypher (118140) <(stonecypher) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:38PM (#24424169) Homepage Journal

              so, who owns chess, and who owns shogi?

              Nobody, just like Shakespeare and The Odessey. A basic familiarity with the law might help you here. Nobody ever filed for or was granted protection on those items, and if they had been, they'd be several thousands of years expired by now.

              and if all you have to do is change the design, why isn't there a boardgame out there at wal-mart for $5 made in china that has alphabetical discs, instead of tiles, with the same basic rules as scrabble?

              Brand recognition. People periodically try to replace Scrabble. It happens every several years.

              the only game i can recall having 'dupes' are kismet 'the modern game of yacht' and yahtzee.

              This is primarily an indication that you don't know much about the games market. Games that perenially get copied include Uno, Sorry, Yahtzee, Connect 4, Mille Bornes, Scrabble, Rubik's Cube, Battleship, and on and on the list goes.

              Perhaps you don't understand market forces. Clones aren't absent because they're illegal. They're absent because nobody buys them.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Wildclaw (15718)

                Nobody, just like Shakespeare and The Odessey. A basic familiarity with the law might help you here. Nobody ever filed for or was granted protection on those items, and if they had been, they'd be several thousands of years expired by now.

                That is just insane. What about the ancestors of those great authors and game creators. Why shouldn't they have the right to protect their forefathers creations and make sure that they aren't misused, not to mention profiteered on.

                I hereby suggest a slight change to the copyright law. How does an even 10000 year retroactive copyright law sound. I think that is a nice and even number that should adequatly protect the rights of the creator and his progeny, while still being constitutional. Copyright ensures t

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by croddy (659025) *
              Well, the reason there's no scrabble clone with discs instead of rectangular tiles is that discs don't tile as well, and the board would be a mess. This is not a problem for a computer game, of course, but would be impractical in a physical game set.
              • by kesuki (321456)

                you've never played othello have you? round discs, no problems playing it ever.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Kangburra (911213)

                  How do you keep all the discs upright, you don't. Disc orientation is irrelevant, whereas in Scarabble it's critical. Words with upside down and slanted letters would inhibit the fun of the game. No making italic words isn't worth extra points! ;-)

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Mistshadow2k4 (748958)
            No brokenness? You can't copy a game that you played before you turned ten when you're an old man, and you say that's not broken? That's ridiculous! At this rate, everything in our culture now will still be copyrighted/trademarked when our great-grandchildren are adults and we're long in our graves. Copyrights were not meant to be extended across generations. They were meant to protect innovators for part of their lives to generate income, not grant a corporation a monopoly on part of our culture for 6 deca
            • Re:Copyright broken (Score:4, Informative)

              by stonecypher (118140) <(stonecypher) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:43PM (#24424239) Homepage Journal

              No brokenness? You can't copy a game that you played before you turned ten when you're an old man, and you say that's not broken?

              Uh, sure you can. You just can't steal their title or artwork.

              Copyrights were not meant to be extended across generations.

              I'd be a lot more inclined to take you seriously if you were at least getting the right branch of the law. This is not and never was a copyright issue.

              They were meant to protect innovators for part of their lives to generate income

              No, that's patents. Copyright has nothing to do with innovation, and this is neither a copyright nor a patent issue. Please settle down until you have at least a basic familiarity with the laws or case in question. This is a waste of time.

            • by p0tat03 (985078) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:59PM (#24424473)

              Actually, in this case I think the claim was that Scrabulous was infringing upon the Scrabble trademark. IMHO trademarks *should* last as long as the company is in operation. There's no reason why a company should have to lose its trade name over the course of time.

          • by multisync (218450) *

            There is nothing broken about this. At all. This is, in fact, exactly as it should be. Otherwise, all someone would have to do to duplicate my game would be to change the title.

            The part that is broken about it is the sixty years. Copyright should be a limited monopoly to give people an incentive to continue to make creative works, not an unending monopoly - enforced by the taxpayer - that enables people to stop creating and simply milk the same idea in perpetuity.

            I think that after sixty years - in fact, af

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by stonecypher (118140)

              The part that is broken about it is the sixty years.

              Because this is not a copyright issue, there is no sixty year timeframe involved.

              Once a work of art has been around long enough to become part of our collective culture, it should belong to no one.

              As a game designer, I would like to remind you that in the eyes of the law, for a very good reason, game designs are not art.

              Incidentally, Scrabble was clonable the first day it was released. You just had to use a different name and color the board differently.

              • by multisync (218450) * on Thursday July 31, 2008 @06:30PM (#24424951) Journal

                Because this is not a copyright issue, there is no sixty year timeframe involved.

                I'm just going by what the various articles have said. Like this [pcworld.com] one, which says "News wire service Reuters is reporting Hasbro and Mattel are demanding that Facebook remove the popular Facebook application Scrabulous due to copyright infringement." Or this [cnet.com] one, which says "Hasbro on Thursday filed a copyright and trademark lawsuit in New York against the creators of the ad-supported Scrabulous application, which boasts an astonishing half-million daily users." Or this [nytimes.com] one, which says "Hasbro, the Rhode Island company that owns the trademark to the 60-year-old board game, Scrabble, on which Scrabulous is closely based, has also asked Facebook to remove the game under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ..."

                But, hey, some random stranger on Slasdot assures me this has nothing to do with copyright, so I guess I'll just go with that.

                As a game designer, I would like to remind you that in the eyes of the law, for a very good reason, game designs are not art.

                As an intelligent human being who has actually looked around and noticed what happens in the real world, I would like to remind you that a can of Campbell's soup can be art. Art is not a thing, it is the act of creation and appreciation. I've even taken some pretty artistic dumps in my day.

                Spend less time worrying about what should or should not be, and more time understanding the situation correctly.

                Spend more time actually reading up on the subject we are commenting on, and less dispensing unsolicited advise to people who didn't ask for it.

                • by geekoid (135745)

                  read the damn DMCA, it applies to more then Copyright.

                  In fact, if you don't know how it applies to boat hulls, then you don't understand it at all.

                  "Spend more time actually reading up on the subject we are commenting on"
                  oh, Irony.

                  • by multisync (218450) *

                    read the damn DMCA, it applies to more then Copyright.

                    Read the damn complaint [nytimes.com]. It alleges trademark and copyright infringement.

              • by multisync (218450) *

                Just in case you missed it, here [nytimes.com] is the complaint. I draw your attention to the first paragraph of the Introduction:

                'This is an action for trademark and copyright infringement against Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla and their company, RJ Softwares, for creating and publicly displaying an online game that copies the essential and original elements of Hasbro's venerable and famous SCRABBLE crossword board game and for promoting and profiting from it in the commerce of the United States under the confusingly simila

          • by rickb928 (945187)

            Absolutely!

            This isn't broken. Let Scrabulous redesign, re-engineer, um, dare we say it, 'improve' on the game.

            I hope they copyright their work. Let Hasbro compete, if they can.

            Sheesh. The best part of this is the apparent poor knowledge of history amongst Facebook users. Wonder if they know where Facebook came from, or where the term 'Facebook' originated... Hypocrisy...

            • Re:Copyright broken (Score:4, Interesting)

              by stonecypher (118140) <(stonecypher) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @06:15PM (#24424743) Homepage Journal

              I hope they copyright their work.

              Games are not subject to copyright. (The binaries of computer games are, but that's a seperate issue.) This is a trademark issue, and no amount of trademarking their title will make any difference to Hasbro.

              The facebook traffic is a drop in the bucket in the Scrabble world. This is really about protecting the Scrabble copyright, so that newspapers can't use the name. If Hasbro didn't say "stop it", other people would be able to say that the trademark was out of defense and therefore invalid.

              None of this has anything to do with copyright.

              • by rickb928 (945187)

                "This is really about protecting the Scrabble copyright..."

                "None of this has anything to do with copyright."

                Which is it, exactly?

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Number14 (168707)

                Arg... this is both. The Trademark issue is over the name, and the Copyright issue is over the identical board. The look of the board, unlike the rules of the game, CAN be copyrighted.

                • by multisync (218450) *

                  The look of the board, unlike the rules of the game, CAN be copyrighted.

                  According to the complaint, the rules can and have been copyrighted since 1948 under registration No. AA 104547.

    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      Far be it from me to RTFA, but the summary implies that the miss-application of copyright laws seems to have inspired some innovation.
      • If you think that legal loop-holery, and copyright aviosion is advancing the state of the art, then by all means, innovation took place. Myself, I think the purpose of the "intellectual property" laws has a more noble purpose than baiting a legal trap: to allow the creator to recoup the development costs in order to have finances to create again.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Bad example. In this case it caused innovation.
    • by geobeck (924637) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:09PM (#24423753) Homepage

      How long has Scrabble been out, 60 years? And because of the crazy long copyright terms now, innovation is being stifled.

      If you define 'innovation' as copying someone else's idea in almost every detail.

      • no no, if you apply the standard patent office standards, then scrabulous is totally and absolutely innovative, new and unprecedented, because it's exactly like something that's been around for 60 years, but it's on the internet!
    • by 2nd Post! (213333)

      So copying Scrabble is innovation?

      Is that like adding "internet" to an old patent and getting a new one?

      Innovation is making the game new, not copying someone else's game onto the internet.

      • by Wildclaw (15718)

        99% of progress is improving already existing ideas.

        The remaining 1% is progress from smart people with all the prerequisite societal knowledge who by chance stumble upon a good idea. Often around the same time as someone on the other side of the globe gets the almost exact same idea because he also have the same prerequisite knowledge to make the deduction needed.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:43PM (#24423325)
    So if Hasbro takes them to court for infringing the board design (which IIRC is far shakier than the misuse of the trademark) then they can just delete that. The immediately available user-created boards which look like original Scrabble are, of course, not Wordscraper's fault.
  • hexagonal scrabble? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peter303 (12292) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:46PM (#24423373)
    I googled this and saw at least five different software versions. I presume you could also play on a 3D tesselation, should you be able design a convenient user-interface. (I guess it wounld start to look like sparse building girders.) I wonder if Hasbro has gone after any of these.
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:55PM (#24423537)
      If you threw in some pentagons, you could play Scrabble on the outside of a buckyball.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I doubt that any of these have reached the popularity or notoriety necessary to trigger the Hasbro Lawyer Machine. Scrabulous was an extremely popular Facebook app, hence why the litigation was directed at that rather than the less important clones.
      • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:12PM (#24423787)
        Let's not forget that Hasbro hasn't so much as a patent on Scrabble itself, just a vague claim to copyright on the rules (which may not apply) and a trademark (Scrabble name, and perhaps the appearance of the board and tiles). If there's no risk of mistakenly assuming that the Scrabble-likes are actually Scrabble, then there's no trademark infringement to answer for.
      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "Scrabulous was an extremely popular Facebook app"

        Yes, to the tune of $25,000+ a month [cnn.com]

        Also the english pronunciation of Scrabulous is very similar to Scrabble. No one questioned why Lindows was sued by Microsoft for sounding like Windows, so why are we shocked when Scrabulous gets sued?
    • 2D is 15^2 with 100 tiles (55.5% empty).

      Perhaps 3D is 15^3 with 1000 tiles (66.6% empty) with same letter frequencies, but ten'ed. Or should we make it 1500 tiles, so the same empty fraction is preserved?

      It would take ten (or 15) times longer to play since the words themselves don't change. Or maybe I'd shrink the overall palying cube to 10^3 or 12^3 to keep playing time more reasonable.

      The bottle neck is adequate visualisation. I'd like a convex holograph with high transparency. If you selected
      • I was thinking if you make some sort of sticky/locking children's blocks, then you could physically build some wormy-branchy play-object by locking the cubes together into words. Then each player could rotate the play-object with their hands to look for good attachment points for future word bars.

        The only difficulty is implementing bonus squares (cubes) visualization this way. Thats an important, but not absolutely essential part of the 2D game. Maybe the playing board could be simulataneously physical
    • I presume you could also play on a 3D tesselation, should you be able design a convenient user-interface.

      As long as they don't do it like Upwards. That, my friends, was a game that sucked. Unfortunately, since it somewhat leveled the playing field for the vocabularily challenged, it was the word game of choice in my house.

  • confused (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SirShmoopie (1333857)

    Scrabulous is stil available for me, I'm in the UK.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bigfatdeal (1272820)
      Yes, because it was only blocked in the US and Canada.
    • by Kimos (859729)
      Hasbro owns the rights to Scrabble in the US and Canada and it was them that took legal action against Scrabulous. When last I tried to play my Scrabulous games I was greeted with a message telling me that the application was no longer available to users in US and Canada. Presumably, until Mattel takes legal action in the UK, Scrabulous can stay active.
    • by Kugrian (886993)

      It died earlier sometime this morning (had the facebook app version of a 404), then reappeared this afternoon. I tried out the Wordscaper app, but really can't get used to the circular tiles. Surely just changing the special placements (double words and such) around would fix any issues with Scrabble - square tiles on.. well, squares surely wouldn't get them in more troubles.

      • I don't know specifically what the wording of the scrabble trademarks are. If they specify square tiles with numeric score values, then I can easily see why the current wordscraper tiles are circles without score values.

        • Nevertheless I wish they would do something to indicate the point values. I memorized them years ago but still find it distracting that they're not shown in Wordscraper. And it will be downright confusing to people who are not so experienced at Scrabble.

          There are plenty of ways they could do this. e.g., little dots around the outside of the circle, or colors that varied from white for 1 point to intense for the 10-point letters.

  • by the_weasel (323320) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:50PM (#24423443) Homepage

    So far, I like it. The custom boards are going to take some getting used to. I am in one game where every tile appears to be a double word score or more, and we are seeing scores of 4000 in some places.

    I much prefer the sparse tile versions, where it takes a LOT of planning to get a good score.

    Right now, i don't like it as much as scrabble, but I am willing to keep playing until things start to settle.

    In my personal opinion, scrabulous was always in clear violation of the law (I am not interested in discussing the ethics of that), and the takedown was inevitable.

    If Hasbro had learned from scrabulous instead of acting like spazzes, I would have switched to playing their client.

    They needed to release a client equal in speed, slickness and functionality. Then they should have negotiated a wrap up period of several days with the makers of scrabulous, where no new games could be created, but existing games could be wrapped up.

    They did neither, and you won't see me switching to play their version as a result.

    • by drcagn (715012) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:21PM (#24423919) Homepage
      I've just recreated the Scrabble layout. You can play a original Scrabble game on facebook by clicking this link:

      http://apps.facebook.com/wordscraper/?action=newgame&similarto=54248 [facebook.com]

      I know I'd rather play a real Scrabble layout on Wordscraper than to use anything else. Enjoy.
    • If Hasbro had learned from scrabulous instead of acting like spazzes, I would have switched to playing their client.

      I'm still wondering-- does anyone know?-- did Hasbro ever consider coming up with some kind of licensing deal with the makers of Scrabulous? Either for Hasbro to publish the game as their own, or for Scrabulous to license the rights to use the trademarked materials?

      It just seems like if I owned the rights to Scrabble and someone came up with a really great version of the game that was wildly popular, I'd be looking to join forces with that guy so I could make some money from the wildly popular version.

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      hasbro should have "learned" from scrabulus by sending a medium sized pile of money to the creators to buy them out, then added a little hasbro logo to the app.
  • by dkone (457398) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:52PM (#24423479)

    I am not a big fan of social anything, but I actually registered on face book and downloaded the wordscraper client. I did this in my way of protest to Hasbro and their heavy handed stupidity. With that being said, the wordscraper client is buggy (it is in beta to be fair) but it sure is fun.

    How could a company like Hasbro, hiring a company like EA mess up something that should be relatively easy to convert into a program. I am not a programmer, but I would think that a game like Scrabble would be easy to make into an online game. Certainly easier then something like Age of Conan.

    DK

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by prostoalex (308614) *

      "downloaded the wordscraper client" - not sure what you're describing here. There's no client, and there's no download.

  • In the same way an officer/DA can't use evidence that was obtained illegally, would scrabulous (former name) legally be allowed to reap benefits sown from their illegal use of tradmark/copyright? Something tells me there will be another lawsuit coming...
    • You watch too much law and order. The fruit of the poisonous tree applies only to evidence gathering by law enforcement officials. Read a book.

      • by nexuspal (720736)
        Of course it only applies to law enforcement. My post was pointing out the fact that the designers of the game used Scrabbles notoriety to attain the position that they are now in. Not that I think it would be a good thing, but my gut tells me the civil system will work in that matter...
        • Of course it only applies to law enforcement.

          So, let me get this straight. You want to know if the fruit of the poisonous tree is a factor here, and you know that that only applies to law enforcement. Does that mean that you believe that the publishers of Scrabulous are a law enforcement entity?

          but my gut tells me the civil system will work in that matter...

          Thankfully, your gut is not a judge. The law doesn't work that way, and civil court never applies to two corporations acting on federal licensure. P

          • by nexuspal (720736)

            You forgot to add the crux of my arguement in your little rebuttal...

            My post was pointing out the fact that the designers of the game used Scrabbles notoriety to attain the position that they are now in.

            Did you read that part at all?

  • Yeah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by davidwr (791652) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:01PM (#24423633) Homepage Journal

    A
    B
    O
    U
    TIME

  • Good Exposure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wiarumas (919682) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:06PM (#24423689)
    I'm sure the creators loved all the press attention they have been recieving lately... additionally, I bet Hasbro regrets not giving these guys job offers rather than legal complaints.
    • by bonehead (6382)

      The flaw in your logic is that if Hasbro was intelligent enough to regret the path they've chosen, they would have done just as you suggest in the first place.

      So, yeah, I doubt they regret it a bit.

    • by oahazmatt (868057)

      I'm sure the creators loved all the press attention they have been recieving lately... additionally, I bet Hasbro regrets not giving these guys job offers rather than legal complaints.

      I had read a report just the other day (wish I could find the URL. I think it was Betanews.) that said Hasbro did offer to buy the product, and the programmers refused.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamhassi (659463)
      "bet Hasbro regrets not giving these guys job offers rather than legal complaints."

      prolly hard since they've already said they made $25,000+ a month from Scrabulous [cnn.com]. I think if I were the guys I'd be begging Hasbro to buy the game from them for a few bucks rather than lose a lawsuit and lose all the money they've made and the game itself.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:08PM (#24423717) Homepage Journal
    Scrabulous = 14
    Wordscraper = 19

    A better choice of letters in more than one way.
    • by steelfood (895457)

      Unfortunately, you can't actually play any of the two, as they are proper nouns. However, you can play "Scrabble," and get a scrabble if you do manage to make the word.

  • Hasboro really dropped the ball on this one.

    If they spent all of that money they wasted on lawyers instead on developers they could have released the version that lets you define your own board layout & stole the thunder back. Instead they're going to become the assholes that don't want anyone to have fun & a company a serious lack of innovation as far as Scrabble is concerned.

    Way to go Hasboro !
  • ABBCELRS (Score:4, Funny)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:11PM (#24423779)
    or ABCFHKORSU would be far superior names...
  • This is over. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stonecypher (118140) <(stonecypher) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:12PM (#24423789) Homepage Journal

    Scrabulous was taken down because the name and visual presentation were too similar. Game mechanics are explicitly not protected by any branch of law. (In fact, I warned them in email six months ago that this was coming, and that they should rename/reskin their app.)

    Hasbro may try to sue again, but from here, if they do, it's barratry. Wordscraper is now safe.

  • I'm not creative, but it seems that either a) Wordulous or b) Wordmaker would be better names than Wordscrapper.
  • I googled for wordscraper, but couldn't get any image results. And since I don't have a Facebook account, I can't see how it looks like.

    • http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/31/wordscraper-hurts-my-eyes/ [techcrunch.com]

      Unfortunately, it looks not just ugly, but HIDEOUS! :(

      • by Kugrian (886993)

        It's damned ugly at the moment. The announcement on the front page of the app currently states:

        We're putting finishing touches to Wordscraper, it will only get better!

        Look/feel will be updated tomorrow as there are minor issues that we are working on.

        From all the press they've been getting about it, I'm guessing the makers are getting a lot of feedback about the UI, and will only be a matter of time 'til they prettify it.

  • by WwWonka (545303) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @05:42PM (#24424223)
    ...or am I the only one, this far down in the comments, to initially see "words craper" as the name of this app? Reminds me of the guy who named Titslinger who invented the bra.
    • by hellwig (1325869)
      I created a typing tutorial game similar to Typing of the Dead called ThePenIsMightier, but for some reason, whenever I contact people about investing in my idea they never get my emails.
  • Oh, that's right. They wanted to capitalize on the similarity to the Scrabble name. Of course now that it's already gotten a following as well as additional press they can feel free to change their name.

    Also, for all those that say hasbro should have bought them out or hired them or whatever, how do you know they didn't make offers first? I'm sure those kinds of things they'd like to keep under wraps and not publicly disclose them.
  • Nothing keeps a lawyer at bay, when they smell blood.

    The real question is will the changes be enough to keep them on the correct side of the legal judgement that will eventually be passed.

    Too bad they cant countersue afterwards.

  • dont forget that it will be MEGA bad publicity for hasbro to follow the course they are following now.

    internet events affect real world sales. dont forget that.

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