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Fri, 08/01/2008 - 15:27
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Scrabulous pulled off Facebook in US, Canada By By Seema Hakhu Kachru

Houston, July 31 (PTI) - A popular online wordgame created by two Calcutta-based brothers has been yanked off the social networking website, Facebook, from its US and Canadian versions,a week after a lawsuit was filed against the siblingsby an American toymaker that owns the rights to Scrabble.

The gamers, who attempted to access the service on their Facebook account were greeted with a note that reads "Scrabulous is disabled for U.S. and Canadian users until further notice." Facebook itself had not taken sides in the dispute, and stressed that it was the developers Rajat Agarwalla, 27, and Jayant Agarwalla, 22, who had disabled the game which has over500,000 daily active users.

"Over the past year, Facebook has tried to use its status as neutral platform provider to help the parties cometo an amicable agreement," the company said in a statement.

In a statement, the Agarwallas said the decision to withdraw the game in the US and Canada will allow them to focus on the lawsuit filed on July 24 by Hasbro, which ownsthe Scrabble copyright in North America.

The suit came less than two weeks after the release of an authorised version of Scrabble by Hasbro for Facebook whichdrew a lukewarm response with just 10,000 users.

Hasbro issued a statement inviting fans to try out the "authentic" game of online Scrabble, introduced this monthby Electronic Arts.

But users were unable to access the game which was apparently hacked after Scrabulous was taken off Facebook. The company said that its game had "experienced a malicious attack this morning, resulting in the disabling of Scrabble on Facebook." PTI SHK