This morning, Vindu Goel at the NYT reported that Scrabulous, the popular Facebook game and Scrabble clone, had been shut down. Just last week, Hasbro, owner of Scrabble IP in North America, filed a DMCA claim against the makers of the game.
However, it appears that the take-down was not Facebook’s doing. Instead, it was a voluntary move by the Agarwalla Brothers (see Inside Facebook interview here) while they sort out their legal matters in North America. Scrabulous remains accessible elsewhere in the world. They write,
Scrabulous is disabled for US and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here.
Facebook itself has chosen to stay out of the matter, and not get in the middle of the DMCA issues at hand between Hasbro and the Agarwallas. While Facebook is imposing a clearer policy on developers these days based on the design and functionality of their applications, it’s choosing to not impose itself as the arbiter of IP claims on application developers, but rather to remain a neutral intermediary instead.