What Should IP Owners Do In A Scrabulous Situation?

The NY Times reports today that (1) the authorized version of SCRABBLE on Facebook was the victim of ‘a malicious attack’ by hackers and (2) Hasbro acknowledged that it had waited until the authorized version was up before moving to enjoin Scrabulous. Meanwhile, Hasbro has been subject to criticism and boycott threats.
The Scrabulous situation is a recurring one for IP owners. There is always a new platform (Facebook, the iPhone, the Web itself) presenting itself as an opportunity for a new version of a popular property (I had to tear myself away from Tap Tap Revenge to post this).
Solo developers will always have a speed advantage in getting to those new platforms first (and, if those developers have expertise native to those platforms, they may have other advantages as well, It is reported, for example,. that Scrabulous is superior to the authorized FB version of Scrabble, as it loads much quicker).
If the Agarwalla Brothers had approached Hasbro two years ago with a proposal for a FB version of Scrabble, what likely result?
If Hasbro were to pay the Agarwalla Brothers millions, what likely result?
If Hasbro had brought this action in January, 7 months prior to having its own version up and running, what likely result?
Please comment.

Filed under: DMCA


Facebook Takes Down SCRABULOUS (or, perhaps SCRABULOUS Asks Facebook To Take Down SCRABULOUS Thus Removing Uncomfortable Situation For Facebook)

Techcrunch: Scrabulous Gets Wiped Off Facebook:

Long outplayed by two Indian brothers, Hasbro finally delivers a massive counter blow to Scrabulous, one of the most loved games on Facebook. Scrabulous fans in North America will see the following message when they try to play the game:
Scrabulous is disabled for U.S. and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here.

Coverage from Alley Insider here.
UPDATE: NY Times reports that Scrabulous requested that Facebook disable Scrabulous for US and Canada

Filed under: DMCA


Text of Decision Denying Viacom's Motion to Compel Production Of Google's Source Code

Viacom sought Google’s source code for its search software to support its claim that “Defendants have purposefully designed or modified the tool to facilitate the location of infriging content. Motion to compel production denied.

Read this document on Scribd: decision viacom google motion to compel
Filed under: DMCA


Law School Fact Pattern: Prince, Radiohead, 'Creep' and the DMCA

radiohead creep.jpg
‘Creep’ by Radiohead is a great song. Eliza Lumley does a good cover. I imagine Prince would too. He performed the song at a concert, someone videotaped his performance, and then posted it on YouTube. Prince sent a DMCA letter and got the video taken down. Thom Yorke of Radiohead found out and allegedly asked Prince to restore the video, indicating that Radiohead was the copyright owner and he had wanted to see Prince’s version.
The video could, in theory, infringe various rights. It could have been a breach of contract if the venue prohibited filming; it might violate Prince’s right of publicity or trademark. Prince didn’t own the copyright in the composition so that’s out. If Prince had recorded the performance, the video wouldn’t be a copy of that recording. As this EFF post points out, the video may violated the anti-bootlegging statute; however it’s my understanding that that is not a copyright right under DMCA. If Prince had recorded his performance that would have ‘fixed’ his choreography. Maybe his set is copyrighted (his guitar is a registered copyright (and trademark)). So it seems that Prince may very well have a good faith belief that he owned a copyright that was infringed by the video.


Google's Answer To Amended Complaint in Viacom vs Google

Google’s answer to amended complaint in Viacom v Google:

Read this doc on Scribd: viacom google answer
Filed under: DMCA


Declaratory Judgment re Immunity for Domain Name Registrar

Customer of domain name registrar (Intercosmos Media dba DirectNic) allegedly uploads infringing material. Copyright owner sues registrar. Registrar seeks declaratory judgment of non-infringement as copyright owner didn’t complay with DMCA.

Read this doc on Scribd: complaint intercosmos directnic
Filed under: DMCA


"Never Gonna Give You Up"

Ugh, now it’s stuck in my head.
Never gonna let you down.
Mediocre song.
Never gonna run around and desert you.
This Rickrolling thing has gone a tad far.
Never gonna make you cry.
Anyway, the Mets got rickrolled, there was a video . . .
Never gonna say goodbye
and MLB used DMCA to shut it down.

Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

Filed under: DMCA


Remarks of MPAA Chairman Glickman and Commentary

HuffingtonPost comments on MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman’s remarks reproduced below.

Read this doc on Scribd: MPAA Glickman remarks march 08

Filed under: DMCA


"With A Death In Congress, An IP Shakeup Looks Likely"

Ars Technica: “With a Death in Congress, an IP Shakeup Looks Likely

Rep. Tom Lantos’ (D-CA) death from esophageal cancer last night leaves an opening at the top of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, an opening that appears to be perfectly shaped like Howard Berman (D-CA). Berman is expected to take over the foreign affairs post, which will open his current spot as chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property. Rick Boucher (D-VA), who’s in favor of expanded fair use rights and DMCA reform, looks to be next in line.
Berman hails from Hollywood and has been a powerful Congressional backer of the entertainment industry. Known as Congressman Hollywood, he’s pushed everything from higher radio station royalty payments to the MPAA’s campaign against colleges to the current PRO-IP Act.

Filed under: DMCA


"'Copying' Music You Own Is 'Stealing'"

ArsTechnica: “Song BMG’s Chief Anti-Piracy Lawyer: “Copying” Music You Own Is “Stealing”:
“Testimony today in Capitol Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas quickly and inadvertently turned to the topic of fair use when Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, was called to the stand to testify. Pariser said that file-sharing is extremely damaging to the music industry and that record labels are particularly affected. In doing so, she advocated a view of copyright that would turn many honest people into thieves.”

Filed under: DMCA