In 2007, when Facebook was adding one million new users a week, two brothers who lived near India's Calcutta airport launched Scrabulous — a virtual copy of Hasbro's 70-year-old word game, Scrabble. Mark Blecher, Hasbro's SVP of digital media, faced an unwelcome predicament: Should he order the company's legal team to end what seemed a clear case of piracy? Or was there a better option, one that would avoid alienating the hundreds of thousands of puzzle enthusiasts who used the Facebook app, and who had probably helped the board game achieve record sales? Students view the conflict from the perspective of both Hasbro and the Agarwalla brothers, and with insights and exhibits on the rise of social media and digital piracy, confront questions about Blecher's strategy, the consequences of a lawsuit, and the value of Scrabulous as an online game and to the Hasbro brand.
Columbia Business School, The Brite Conference Case Series: