Tag Archives: rip-offs

In what way is slavishly copying something “original”?

Joseph Jaffe is generally great, but I really do have to pick him up on his post about how "Hasbro should change its name to Hasbeen":

"Proof that you can’t keep a good Indian programmer down comes from the Agarwalla brothers, creators of the original and popular Facebook app (arguably the only one that actually worked) Scrabulous, who in the ultimate display of up-yours, have launched Wordscraper. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more say no more.

Where there were squares, now there are circles. BINGO!

Bottom line: go play Wordscraper. I’ll be waiting to challenge you. Support Rayat and Jayant."

In what way is ripping someone else’s game off "original"? Why should I support people who steal other people’s original ideas, then demand a ransom to sell those ideas back to their originators?

The success of Scrabulous is entirely down to two things: Scrabble being a brilliant game, and the popularity of Facebook. Rayat and Jayant don’t deserve my support – they simply leeched off other people’s ideas. I’m glad Hasbro ended up giving them nothing, and I hope that their new game fails.

To put it another way: suppose the situation was reversed? Suppose that Joseph invented a board game, and that Hasbro then slavishly copied it band launched a Facebook version before he launched his own? Would he be happy if he had to pay Hasbro to buy back what’s essentially his own game?

Of course not. People are being blinded by the fact that it’s a big company defending its game against a tiny one. And everyone supports the little guy, right?

Not in this case. If you support originality, and want to see more good original work, don’t support rip-offs.