Facebook says ‘up yours’ to US and Canadian fans of Scrabble

OK, so that’s not the actual words Facebook used to Americans and Canadians, but I so rarely see news like this I wanted to put my own slant on it. Usually we see offers and services (like YouTube’s scheme were you earn money for videos you’ve uploaded) that are available to North America and Canada only. This time, it’s the exact reverse, due to the bickering between Hasbro, Mattel and the developers of Scrabulous.

You may remember that Scrabulous is a Scrabble type game (any similarities between Scrabble and Scrabulous are purely coincidental) available to members of Facebook. Both Mattel and Hasbro were narked by the game, because they own the rights to Scrabble (Hasbro in the US and Canada, Mattel in the small market known as the rest of the World).

Rather than take the intelligent, common sense decision and try to buy Scrabulous (and it’s 200,000 registered, targeted userbase) Mattel and Hasbro went all legal and decided to blow air at them. Clever guys, well done.

Now, after the dust has settled, and Scrabulous is still on Facebook and chugging along nicely (my flatmate has been playing it, as he does with every Facebook fad) Mattel, through RealNetworks, have introduced an official version of the game.

Recently, a division of RealNetworks introduced ‘Scrabble by Mattel’ on the leading social networking site. The game is though, technically available only to players outside the US and Canada.

Though of course, because Hasbro aren’t involved it can’t infringe on their copyrights, so is unavailable to US and Canada based residents.

Someone’s gonna have to get to grips with this whole territory thing in relation to the Internet, it just doesn’t work.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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