Sellers, Fans at Odds Over Scrabulous

Companies debate legal action as 700K play online knock-off daily
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2008 4:10 PM CST
Scrabulous supporters say that the online app is introducing the word game to younger players who might not otherwise be interested in board games. Here, teens Aune Mitchell and Matthew Silver plan their...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Scrabble knock-off Scrabulous is a hit online, but sellers of the original board game have cried piracy and may take their claim to court, the New York Times reports. Tens of thousands of Scrabulous players have threatened to boycott Hasbro and Mattel if they shut down the Facebook-friendly game, which was invented by two brothers in Calcutta—and has given Scrabble an unexpected popularity surge.

The issue is complicated by two game makers, RealNetworks in Seattle and Electronic Arts in Redwood City, Calif., which have deals with Hasbro to make online Scrabble games. None of the companies involved want to lose the 700,000 fans who play Scrabulous daily, one expert says: “If something’s already out there and proven, the companies should go with it."