Hasbro/Mattel who own the worldwide rights to Scrabble want to shut down Scrabulous which is a facebook app developed by a couple of smily Indian guys in Kolkata. They clearly are making a few bob out of advertising revenue and infringing Hasbro/Mattel’s IPR and Copyrights. But it is such a predictable and dismal response from Hasbro/Mattel that my human nature faith meter got knocked back a knotch.
How much do we think it would cost to buy the Indian guys out completely including them waiving all rights to any code, ideas, revenues of anything they have developed in connection with Scrabulous? Certainly less than the 171MUS$ hasbro spent on research in 2006 and a small portion of their 1.8BnUS$ gross profit. Go take a look on Yahoo. Surely Hasbro could have had a better response than a threat of litigation against a couple of developers in India?
Predictably there has been outcry from the facebook community, especially those sections who regularly play Scrabulous – and I count myself amongst their number. E-Mail addresses have been circulated of Hasbro execs who are probably regretting going to the office at the moment. And I hope that Hasbro sees sense and adopts Scrabulous, afterall, it is a golden opportunity for them to take a strong foothold i the Social Networking world where they otherwise have no presence and no hope of landing. Shutting down Scrabulous would probably slam that door shut for a good long time.
Wakey wakey Hasbro. Send someone to Kolkata to talk to the Scrabulous guys and release a picture of you all standing there in a line smiling, shaking hands and handing over a modest cheque to turn a certain PR disaster into the best idea you have bought in the last 10 years. It’ll get on every news site in the world.
There are some good comments on this blog too.
There’s an online petition as well in case you are part of the scrabble jihad