Monday, March 3, 2008

Scrabulous and Scrabble: Substitutes?

I was playing Scrabble last night with a couple of friends. It turns out many people are playing Scrabble on Facebook too, only I didn’t know this since I’m one of 5 people my age not on Facebook. Two Indian Scrabble lovers, Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, created an on-line version of Scrabble called Scrabulous. They then turned it into a Facebook application now they have 2.3 million users a month and bring in $25,000 a month is ad sales.

So of course now Scrabulous is being sued by Hasbro makers of Scrabble for copy right infringement. In terms of copy right as lawyer, Jeremy Hertzog , put it “They'd [Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla] have to show that there is some risk the average person would likely confuse Scrabble and Scrabulous, and my instinct is there would be such confusion,"

Copy right law is best left to lawyers. But after reading the comments on the linked blog entry, I can’t help but wonder if more people buy Scrabble board games after playing it on line, or are people buying fewer Scrabble board games since they can play online for free. The comments suggest that it is the first explanation. Or in other words there is no substitute for playing real Scrabble with your friends on a Sunday night.

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