To the maker of Scrabble, online version is piracy

The latest bane of office productivity is Scrabulous, an online knockoff of the Scrabble board game, with more than 700,000 players a day and nearly three million registered users.

Fans of the game are obsessive. They play against friends, co-workers, family members and strangers, and many have several games going at once.

Everyone seems to love the online game - everyone, that is, except the companies that own the rights to Scrabble: Hasbro, which sells it in North America, and Mattel, which sells it everywhere else.

In January, they denounced Scrabulous as piracy and threatened legal action against its creators, two brothers in Calcutta, (India,) Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla. The companies said they were hoping for an amicable solution that would not force them to shut down the game.

Jayant Agarwalla, 21, said they did not create Scrabulous to make money, even though they now collect about $25,000 a month from online advertising. They just wanted to play Scrabble on their computers, and their favorite site had started charging, he said.

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