Scrabulo–wtf?

UPDATE: Read the full story here: Facebook Takes Down Scrabulous

Scrabulous has been shut down on Facebook.

If you try to pull up the popular Scrabble-like game, you get the following message: “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.” If you click, you get a form from the Scrabulous founders asking for your e-mail address so they can keep you posted on further developments.

It is a bit of a surprise that Scrabulous, an obvious copy of the board game Scrabble, managed to avoid shutdown as long as it did. I loved to play Scrabulous as much as the next person, but Hasbro, owner of the rights to Scrabble in the United States, was not amused.

After Hasbro started its own Scrabble application on Facebook, it sued Scrabulous and its India-based creators, Rajat Agarwalla and Jayant Agarwalla, to shut it down.

In the suit, Hasbro also asked Facebook to remove the game for violating copyright law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

David Swain, a Facebook spokesman, said Tuesday morning that Facebook forwarded the takedown notice to Scrabulous. “They decided in the middle of the night to disable the application in the U.S. and Canada.” He said the game is still available to Facebook users outside North America.

Swain said that the social networking service isn’t taking sides in the Scrabulous-Hasbro dispute. “We’re trying to maintain just being a neutral platform.”

So what’s a Scrabulous junkie to do while the legal dispute plays out? You can try Hasbro’s official version of Scrabble on Facebook (if you can get it to work — I and many other users had trouble loading it Tuesday morning). Or you can open a new browser window and play Scrabulous on Scrabulous.com, which still appears to be functioning.

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I was all set to write about how much I love Scrabulous, the one Facebook app that doesn’t make me want to pull an Office Space and start screaming about where my friends can stick their pieces of flair and lil green patch requests.

My old boss and I have been engaged in an epic battle of Scrabulous for a few weeks now. And I was kicking ass. Words like “flavonian” (thank you, 3.5 years of high school Latin), and an 80 point score on “azure” flew from my fingertips. I was on fire. I was going to beat him. It was going to be epic.

Well, it WOULD have been, if this hadn’t invaded my screen this morning:

If you can’t read that, it says “Scrabulous is disabled for US and Canadian users until further notice.”

I can’t help but feel a little betrayed. Does anyone know what’s up with Scrabulous?

–DB

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