Scrabulous and social media – Triple-word score!

Copyright infringement or golden opportunity?

I’d say the latter if you’re Hasbro and Mattel, the North American and worldwide distributors (respectively) of the Scrabble board game. They’ve been lawyer-rattling for several months with the developers of Scrabulous, the popular Facebook application that boasts more than three-million registered users. Last week, RealNetworks, which owns the e-rights to Scrabble, quietly launched its own version.

Marketing Magazine published an article for its Insight page, quoting yours truly, on the PR aspects of the issue. I’m no lawyer (and I haven’t played one on TV), but my take was that the marketing and PR opportunity to build on the Scrabulous success should not be dismissed simply because of the perceived copyright infringement. Organizations should protect their brand at every turn, but Hasbro and Mattel should also consider the power and influence of Facebook, social media and the Internet — and carpe diem. Hasbro has the chance to make either three-million friend or three-million enemies.


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