Scrabulous, the popular Facebook application based on the board game Scrabble, has been shut down in the United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere around the world. According to a statement from developer Jayant Agarwalla, who created the application with his brother Rajat, Facebook started restricting user access on Friday in response to a takedown notice from Mattel, which owns the rights to Scrabble outside the U.S. and Canada.
Of course, this move doesn’t affect me or most of our readers, since the Agarwalla brothers already took Scrabulous down in the U.S. and Canada, where they’ve replaced it with a similar-but-not-too-similar game called Wordscraper. In other countries, however, Scrabulous apparently stayed up until Friday, and its recent disappearance has prompted plenty of complaints.
In his statement, Jayant Agarwalla argues that Facebook’s decision was premature, because the legal fight is still pending in India, where the Agarwalla brothers live. Hasbro (which owns the Scrabble rights in the U.S. and Canada) is also bringing suit against the brothers.
Agarwalla doesn’t say whether he plans to launch Wordscraper globally. The app has around 260,000 monthly active users, 120,000 less than an early version of the official Scrabble app from Electronic Arts.