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Social Networks The Internet Government The Courts Entertainment Games News

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:44PM (#24423349)

    I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

  • 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.
  • confused (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SirShmoopie (1333857) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @04:47PM (#24423403)

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

  • 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 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

  • 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.
  • This is over. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypher&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.

  • Re:Good Exposure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @06:10PM (#24424667) Journal
    "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.
  • Re:Copyright broken (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypher&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.

  • Re:Copyright broken (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @06:22PM (#24424851) Journal

    they didn't claim to be 'scrabble'. They claimed to be 'scrabulous'. Is this the 5 8ths rule? if you use more than the larger half (in the case of odd numbers) or one more than half (in the case of even numbers) of the letters of someone else's trademark in consecutive order then you're in breach of it? Because I see all sorts of problems for microstar and anyone who sells a generic microwave.
    If scrabulous were a Hasbro product it would have been called 'Scrabble' or 'Scrabble online', it would not have been a deliberate portmanteau of 'scrabble' and 'fabulous'. Any reasonable person should come to the conclusion that they're not related except that the scrab- prefix indicates that it's a scrabble-like game. Thus; not a trademark infringement.

  • Re:Copyright broken (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PinkPanther (42194) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @08:41PM (#24426343)
    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 raking in cash on an idea that they have effectively let die. Along comes someone who does a great job in a market they aren't servicing ... and they whine all the way to the courts.

    These guys did NOT "steal" money (copyright and trademark aren't theft, by the way). They serviced a market that Hasbro failed to find for the past 15 years or so.

  • by eddieboston (716958) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:31PM (#24426907) Homepage

    > Not all laws are equal in my books. Murder is not a law I break with the same equanimity as a local parking ordinance.

    I think you're getting at the difference between a moral law and a civil law. Now "moral" can be a loaded word, so you can maybe think of it as the difference between an *intrinsic* human law and a law imposed by the government for the purposes of maintaining order or commerce. Both are important, but usually breaking moral laws are considered more severe.

    It is *wrong* to murder somebody. It is just *illegal* to run a stop sign. That's a big distinction.

    Of course, it's not always so clear cut. What if you run a stop sign and hit somebody? Is it immoral to download a song illegally? How about a terabyte of songs? Does that cross the line? Is there a difference between downloading a Beatles song and one by the local struggling artist? The law of the government cannot and should not make such distinctions, but we as thinking individuals must do so on a daily basis. That's what a conscience is for.

"I may kid around about drugs, but really, I take them seriously." - Doctor Graper

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