Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scrabulous Returns As Wordscraper

Scrabulous was taken off line a few days ago, at least in some countries but now the game has effectively returned, but with a redesigned board, a few original play options, a different points tabulation system, and a new name, Wordscraper.

"On Wednesday I spoke to Pete Kinsella, a partner at the Faegre & Benson law firm who specializes in intellectual property, and he gave me his take on the gritty details. "Copyrights are not supposed to protect board games," Kinsella explained. "What copyrights protect is the expression of an idea rather than the idea itself."

Returning as Wordscraper is a way for its creators to keep the game running while avoiding legal complaints. In effect, it's just different enough.

"I think there's a very fine line to walk in this one, and the question is whether Scrabulous went over the line or not in mimicking the colors or everything else," Kinsella assessed (keep in mind that we had this conversation before the advent of Wordscraper), "or whether they could've designed a generic version of the game with the same points system and scoring system, and that would've fallen out of Hasbro's copyrights.""

I learned about this here.

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