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Blaise Zerega at Portfolio.com takes the question, "Why didn't Hasbro buy Scrabulous?" to its logical conclusion:

Once again, here is an embattled industry—is this case board game manufacturers, getting walloped by a digital tidal wave. And the reaction? Lawsuits. Sounds a lot like Napster and Music. In that case, Mr. Fanning and others developed a superior means of distribution, without the content.

In this case, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, the brothers behind Scrabulous, not only came up with a superior means of distribution, but arguably came up with superior content as well. The proof is in the uproar by angry fans who are not exactly flocking to Hasbro's sanctioned online version of Scrabble, produced with EA….

For the life of me, I don't understand why Hasbro simply didn't buy Scrabulous and hire the brothers Agarwalla to develop online versions of its other board games.

I swear I'll leave off about Scrabulous until the case develops into something more newsworthy (Facebookers Chuck Molotov Cocktails at Hasbro Suits!); in the interim, remember that every time a court decides a copyright case in the dinosaurs' favor, a frustrated hacker plants a trojan virus in your PC.

Senior Editor Kerry Howley wrote about Scrabble here. I wrote about Scrabulous here and here.

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  1. remember that every time a court decides a copyright case in the dinosaurs’ favor, a frustrated hacker plants a trojan virus in your PC.

    Copyright violators are all heroes and any statement otherwise is propaganda from the machine.

  2. Copyright violators are all heroes and any statement otherwise is propaganda from the machine.

    QFT.

    Sarcasm is the fountain of truth.

  3. The copyright system is broken, largely due to big government influenced by corporate lobbyists.

  4. The Hasbro/EA version is bunk. Buggy, chokie and the screen is so busy it detracts from the letters.

    Online word games just want to be free.

  5. I’ve read on several blogs that Hasbro offered millions to buy the game, but that the greedy brothers wanted “f*ck you money”. This rumor didn’t pass the First Page of Google Results test. Any truth to it?

  6. When a person wants to do dumb s***, like smoke cigarettes, smoke pot, smoke pole, we don’t have a problem with it, it’s a personal decision.

    Why is it an issue when a corporation wants to do dumb s*** with its property?

  7. remember that every time a court decides a copyright case in the dinosaurs’ favor, a frustrated hacker plants a trojan virus in your PC.

    Awww…that just warms the cockles of my heart. And every time you fart a demon gets his wings….hey, twins!

  8. Why is it an issue when a corporation wants to do dumb s*** with its property?

    Well, for one, there is this niggling question as to whether an idea can be property.

    But beyond that, sure, they can do whatever stupid thing they wish to those things they own.

    Nothing in that means we can’t mock and/or criticize them for it. They are free to listen or ignore in return.

  9. Well, enlightenment notwithstanding… the company arguably has to take some small step to “protect” it’s franchise, or they run the risk of having it tossed into the public domain.

    That having been said, I’d probably have hired the folks to consult on making real Scrabble better. If the deal tanked though, I think any public company would be compelled to at least send a cease & desist letter or be accused of malfeasance by their shareholders.

  10. I don’t know how cheap/easy it is to set up a new scrabulous equivalent, but they may have worried that a multi million dollar buy would have convinced many others to imitate that or other games to their hearts content.

  11. Facebookers Chuck Molotov Cocktails at Hasbro Suits!

    Yeah, but they do so by clicking the “firebomb” button on the execs’ Facebook account, reducing the whole affair to the same level of pointlessness as any Facebook-related action.

  12. Well, for one, there is this niggling question as to whether an idea can be property.

    The founders thought so.

    Yeah, they got how to pick a VP and how to treat black people wrong, but I give them the benefit of the doubt for just about everything else.

  13. “Well, for one, there is this niggling question as to whether an idea can be property.

    The founders thought so.”

    Did they think an idea was property, or did they think providing copyrights would ‘promote the Progress of Science and Useful Arts’?

    Are there other supposed property rights in the Constitution with a time limit? Just sayin’….

  14. […] the company arguably has to take some small step to “protect” it’s franchise, or they run the risk of having it tossed into the public domain.

    The problem being that Scrabble is already in the public domain. The patent expired in the ’70s.

  15. “Why didn’t Hasbro buy Scrabulous?”

    They tried to:

    http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/3/the_scrabulous_snag__money

    The brothers got too greedy.

    FWIW, this is a trademark case. Not a copyright case or a patent case. Trademarks don’t expire if you use them.

  16. The other day someone broke into my garage and stole my bike. I found out who it was. Of course I didn’t call the police—I simply asked the man if I could purchase my bike back from him.

  17. “The other day someone broke into my garage and stole my bike.”

    No they didn’t. They took a picture of your bike, then built one to look just like it. Your own bike is still in the garage.

    The only difference is that now there are two skinny pants wearing, aviator-faced, blurry ink blow hards riding around on fixed-gear bicycles.

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