Friday, 25 July 2008

Old world thinking

Jemima Kiss at the Guardian writes a summary today on the current status of the dispute between Hasbro - the original manufacturer and license owner of Scrabble - Scrabulous, a version of the game designed to be played on Facebook.

Hasbro has sued the owners of Scrabulous for IP infringement and is apparently to demand that the service is withdrawn from Facebook.

Legally I do not think that there is a dispute, it is clear according to the old law books - once you dust them off - that Scrabulous is indeed based on Scrabble and did so without permission. Tut Tut.

But hold on. It is not Scrabulous that should be sent to the dunce's corner but Hasbro. Hasn't Scrabulous injected life into the franchise, and in particular into the more youthful market of Facebook compared to the traditionally more mature user.

You never know what has happened behind the scenes of course. Perhaps Hasbro thought this also and tried to join forces/buy Scrabulous and was turned away and is now pursuing the line to ensure a cheaper acquisition price.

If not then what about this? I do not think there is any doubt that Scrabulous can prove increased interest in Scrabble. Perhaps they can counter sue for a share in the profits? (No, I know that wouldn't work, but it would be fairer).

This brings us back to the old chestnut we have seen before where existing industry players struggle to adjust to the new ecosystems. Increasingly now I find videos erased from YouTube because right's owners have stamped their feet. But all they have done is cut the distribution for their brand.

If you are stock picking, find the older players that have seen the light and leave the dinosaurs behind.

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