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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcard: Triple word scare

    Earlier this month, attorneys representing Hasbro and Mattel, creators of the popular board game Scrabble, issued a cease-and-deasist order to Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, the brothers who collaborated to develop the popular Scrabulous application on Facebook.


    Admittedly, Scrabulous draws obvious inspiration from Scrabble – from board design, to the rules of the game, to its suspiciously similar sounding name. With profits at stake and shareholders to please, Hasbro and Mattel have legitimate reason for complaint. Scrabulous has capitalized on the famous Scrabble name to draw over half a million daily users and over $25,000 in monthly revenues from online advertisements.

    Thus, Hasbro and Mattel have a forceful argument over trademark violations. After all, trademark laws are meant to protect the brand name recognition of businesses from other competing products. The Scrabulous name is a clear play on Scrabble; yet the name itself is not necessarily in violation of copyright law. Copyright only protects the expression of the idea, not the idea itself. Scrabulous, unlike Scrabble, can have players competing in multiple games against opponents all over the world in games that may extend for days.

    As such, Hasbro and Mattel should strive for a compromise that keeps the Scrabulous application online or risk real-world boycotts from enraged Scrabulous users.

    With the growing popularity of open source, FairShare, and Creative Commons, players are certainly likely to agree that ideas are meant to be shared, not owned.

    – Christina Jelly is a senior majoring in biochemistry
    and philosophy.


    On behalf of procrastination tools everywhere, I could not be more overjoyed that Hasbro and Mattel are filing copyright infringements against Scrabulous.

    Ever since the Facebook application was released a year and a half ago, college students have flocked to the word game in droves. Nearly 600,000 users across the world have fallen in love once again with an overrated word game. Meanwhile, our neglected Rubik’s Cubes, solitaire decks, checkerboards and Mah Jong tiles gather dust sleeping on their shelves. Banking on beginner’s luck, we can only hope Scrabulous will be yanked off the Internet as well as all the dozens of other cheap web imitations encouraging people to buy the board game. Scrabble will once again recede into the forgotten annals of American pop culture where it belongs.

    We all know Scrabble is a shameful relic of a fearful, divided world. The anglophile word game was developed by the CIA as part of a plot to shamelessly promote the English language worldwide. Thank you, Mattel and Hasbro, for encouraging nearly 57,000 facebook protestors to boycott the Scrabble brand. Perhaps once again, our other beloved procrastination games will get some playing time. Let the pieces fall where they may. Let’s see, I’ve got a C, an H, an E, two S’s…

    – Matt Rolland is a junior majoring in economics and international studies.

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