If you have a page on Facebook in the US and/or Canada, then you are obviously aware about Hasbro’s halting of the very popular word game knockoff, Scrabulous, due to copyright infringement of it’s more recognized game, Scrabble. I was in the middle of a marathon match when it all got interrupted. Not very happy over these recent developments, I decided to write an email to the folks at Hasbro to let them know how I felt.

I know I am not the only one that has been unhappy with the way you (Hasbro) are handling the Scrabulous situation on Facebook. What a wonderful opportunity it would have been for you to show your generosity by allowing the games to continue while you resume talks with the creators of Scrabulous. They say that even negative publicity is better than no publicity but I believe in this case, you’re only hurting your image. You create toys and games for family entertainment and fun – doesn’t this strike you as going “against the grain” of what your company represents? Or is it fun and entertainment to send down the legal eagles to strike against anyone who gets in your way of making profits? I believe there is still enough time to make sure you can allow Scrabulous back on Facebook as gesture of gratitude for all the Scrabble fans, hire the programmers of Scrabulous, and start taking a percentage of the ad revenue retroactive to January. Whatever you do, know that there are a ton of us watching and waiting to see what decisions will be made. This can make or break your future sales and affect you negatively in the long run. Think about the fans!!!!

By the next day, I received confirmation of my email’s receipt which was to be expected, but the following day, I get the “official” statement that further explains their side of the argument.

We understand your passion for the SCRABBLE brand. In fact, we have been hard at work creating a variety of great new ways to enjoy SCRABBLE, from the classic board game, to playing in the digital space on the iPod, iPhone, pogo.com online game site, and now, social networking on Facebook.

We are pleased that the unlawful Scrabulous application has been removed from Facebook, and it is our pledge to provide you with a better an authentic version of SCRABBLE on Facebook. Unfortunately, the Electronic Arts SCRABBLE application – which is the legitimate and authentic version – was the target of a malicious hacker on July 29, resulting in the temporary disabling of SCRABBLE on Facebook. EA is working to resolve this issue and have SCRABBLE back online and ready to play as soon as possible. We know that you are upset and disappointed that you can not currently enjoy an authentic SCRABBLE experience on Facebook, and we share your frustration. Together with EA, we are confident that this issue will be resolved soon, and you will be back to enjoying SCRABBLE on Facebook with friends and family in the United States and Canada.

Some people have asked us why we couldn’t coexist with Scrabulous, and compete head-to-head. In the toy and game business, we have many legitimate competitors, and we welcome healthy competition as our industry strives to provide the best entertainment value for consumers everywhere. Scrabulous did not represent legitimate competition. Scrabulous was an infringement, it was unlawful, and we took the necessary action, similar to what the recording industry did when kids were posting music to illegal sites and allowing their friends to copy the music for free.

As you know, Hasbro filed suit on July 24 to protect our intellectual property rights. However, in deference to SCRABBLE fans like you, we waited to take this action until we had an authentic alternative to offer players. We know that many of you have been closely scrutinizing the new SCRABBLE application developed by EA. Please note that once the application is up and running again, the application remains in beta stage on Facebook, and both EA and Hasbro are continually monitoring feedback from fans. This feedback will help us as we continue to improve the experience leading up to the official launch scheduled for the first half of August. In fact, EA is already in the process of streamlining animation and taking other steps to allow for faster game play. Some of the specifics include and animation on/off button that will allow users to skip all future animations, including splash screen animation; stars when counting points; rotating board; and “flying in” letters.

In closing, we want you to know that SCRABBLE is a very important game and brand for Hasbro. We share your frustration about the recent malicious attack on EA’s authentic SCRABBLE application, and we are working very hard to make the new application the best experience possible.

So there you go. Thought everyone should know.

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