Pirates no longer allowed to practice seven habits

Seems like the Franklin Covey folks, publishers of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, have gotten to Schlock Mercenary‘s multi-Hugo-Award-nominee Howard Tayler:

About a week ago we got a nice letter from Franklin Covey letting us know that the number “7” in conjunction with the word “habits” was their trademark, and that in order to keep their trademark they needed to vigorously defend it. The words “cease” and “desist,” while not trademarked, appeared in the letter as well. But it was worded as nicely as such a thing can be.

I know just enough about trademark law to know that this is true. If you let somebody infringe upon your mark, eventually it’s not yours anymore and anybody can make stuff with your mark or logo on it. This is why Disney is so aggressive about Mickey’s silhouette, and why if you look closely at advertisments for certain Android OS devices you’ll see that “Droid” is a trademark of Lucasfilm, and is used under license.

Suffice it to say, I can send up Covetous Franklinstein just fine without violating any of their septuagenitally habitual trademarks. (Case in point. Moving along…)

This brings us to the retcon. It is large. That one book we keep mentioning with bits in it like ‘If you’re leaving scorch-marks you need a bigger gun’ is now called The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. What used to be called “rules” are now called “maxims.” I wasn’t legally obligated to make that additional change, but it has the added effect of reducing confusion between Maxim 34 (which concerns scorch marks) and Rule 34 of The Internet (which posits that if a thing exists, a decidedly ‘nographous fetish site will exist for it online.)

I guess that explains why Schlock Mercenary gets a cease and desist, while Dilbert‘s Scott Adams can publish a comic strip compilation with a similar sounding name. Don’t ever pair “7” and “Habits” together, people.


(Franklin Covey is watching you. Those eyes. Those horrible, piercing eyes….)

(h/t ComixTalk)


About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on January 26, 2011, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Personally, had I been in Mr. Taylor’s shoes, I’d have told them to stuff it. Possibly where, how, in what direction, using what tools and/or lube. He has a pretty open-and-shut case of fair use (read: parody).

  2. I used to read Schlock Mercenary for the longest time, but its strength was always the military sci-fi component. When Taylor took that away for an arc, I discovered how completely unfunny the gags really were.

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