FranklinCovey Sending A Trademark C&D Over '7 Habits' Appears To Violate A Few Of The '7 Habits'
from the seven-habits-of-highly-effective-legal-fluffery dept
jonakajon alerts us to the news that the folks over at FranklinCovey, publishers of the ridiculously popular “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” written by Stephen Covey, have sent a cease and desist letter to the folks behind the online webcomic Schlock Mercenary, because the comic has — for years, apparently — had a running parody called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates.” The guy behind the comic is now going back and retroactively rewriting his comic-world history, and pretending that the parody book is now “The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries.” Of course, you would think that Schlock Mercenary would have a strong parody defense, but it’s a pain to fight off big corporate lawyers.
That said, if you look at the actual Seven Habits, it looks like this action by FranklinCovey violates a few of them along the way (suggesting, perhaps that FranklinCovey isn’t as “effective” as it would like you to believe). For example, habit four is “think win-win.” That’s sort of the opposite of sending a C&D. A win-win would have been to contact the comic author and talk to him and figure out an effective solution that worked for both parties, that didn’t involve legal threats and the risk of having to pay lots of money for creating a simple parody. Habit five is to “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” And yet, FranklinCovey’s lawyers did not appear to do this at all. They did not realize this is a webcomic, and not competitive. There is simply no likelihood of confusion here at all. None. And then there’s the whole parody thing. Perhaps it’s time to cross those habits off the list?