Facebook army mobilises to save Scrabulous

LONDON - Almost 30,000 Facebook users have come together to launch a protest group to stop Hasbro and Mattel, the owners of Scrabble, from banning the Scrabulous application, which the companies said was infringing their trademark.

Scrabulous is played by more than half-a-million users each day and more than 28,600 of these people have joined a group called Save Scrabulous, which had just 15,000 members only yesterday.

The Facebook application is an almost identical version to the Scrabble board game and the group's founders are not disagreeing about the possible copyright infringement, but they are urging Hasbro to work out a compromise with the developers of Scrabulous to keep the successful application up and running.

A message on the group's page reads: "Many of the daily 500,000+ users of Scrabulous never played Scrabble before, but they were introduced to it using this friendly and convenient format. This application earns roughly $25,000 monthly in revenues from advertisements, part of which could theoretically go to Hasbro if the parties come to a peaceful compromise.

"We urge Hasbro to make the right decision. Don't tick off the millions of Facebook Scraboulous fans that use this application"

Members of the group, who have posted wall comments, have said they have gone out and bought the real Scrabble board game because they became so addicted to the Scrabulous application.

Riali Johannesson Gruzuk from Toronto wrote: "I bought five Scrabble games this Christmas for friends who have been turned on to the game by Scrabulous -- Hasbro and Mattel should be paying royalties to Scrabulous!"

Sahar Rooney wrote: "Hasbo/Mattel don't be dumb. Just demand a cut of the advertising revenue and leave the game alone."

Some anti-gamers have decided to add their own thoughts to the group, telling its members to "get a grip".

Haley Jacobsen from Vancouver wrote: "Wah Wah Wah. It's a fucking game folks. Who the hell cares! They stole the idea from Hasbro and now they are getting sued! No use in bitching about it. Big corporations aren't going to listen to people like you! It's going to get shut down. Whatever will be will be. Your life WILL go on."

The Scrabulous application was developed in Calcutta, India, by software developers Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla and launched at the end of June. Last year, they put it on Facebook after an approach to Hasbro, which owns the rights in the US and Canada, received no response.

But earlier this week, Hasbro and Mattel, which owns the rights to the board game internationally, requested that the application be pulled..