Technology & Science

Scrabulous disappears from Facebook

Canadians and Americans won't be able to play the popular Scrabble knockoff on the social network Facebook now that the creators of the game have pulled the application.

Canadians and Americans won't be able to play the popular Scrabble knockoff on the social network Facebook anymore now that the creators of the game pulled the application Tuesday.

Users who logged on to the game on Tuesday were greeted with a message saying, "Scrabulous is disabled for U.S. and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here."

The accompanying link brings up a form from the game's founders, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla from Calcutta, India, who issued a statement Tuesday saying they had agreed to block Scrabulous in the United States and Canada in deference to Facebook's concerns over an ongoing legal battle over the game.

Last week Hasbro Inc., the company that owns the North American rights to Scrabble, announced it was suing Scrabulous's creators for copyright infringement, less than two weeks after the release of an authorized version of Scrabble for Facebook's North American users.

Rajat Agarwalla, describing the removal of the game as "unfortunate," declined further comment.

Facebook users in Canada and the United States can still access the program from the Scrabulous website, and users outside the two countries can still access it from Facebook. While Hasbro owns the U.S. and Canadian rights to Scrabble, Mattel Inc. owns the rights to the game in the rest of the world.

Mattel has yet to launch a formal lawsuit against the makers of Scrabulous, but the toy company did send a letter to Facebook in January 2008 asking it to remove a popular add-on.

While game maker Electronic Arts made Hasbro's Scrabble application for Facebook, RealNetworks Inc. made the version of the game available elsewhere under a deal with Mattel.

Scrabulous is not the first internet server to host the Scrabble game without permission, but it is arguably the most popular. Since it was launched in 2006, Scrabulous has accumulated 509,505 daily active users on Facebook.

The two official versions of Scrabble have fewer than 25,000 users on Facebook between them.

With files from the Associated Press