Going on the Account: Highly Effective?

Heard about an interesting act of piracy…


Apparently FranklinCovey, the business interest representing Dr. Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, sent a cease-and-desist notice to Howard Tayler, the creator of Schlock Mercenary. The reason for their unhappiness was his reference to a book in the comic called…


…and here’s the connection for folks wondering why I’m discussing webcomics about space guns for hire…


“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates.”


After receiving the C&D, Tayler engaged in what he called “The Great RetCon of 2011,” changing the name of his referenced work to “The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries.”  What made it so great was that the formerly-pirate-entitled work had been quoted in the comic since 2002, and only now some nine years later did Covey come and claim protection of his mark.


Mind you, some have observed that what FranklinCovey did in handling the situation may have been in violation of some of those “Seven Habits” referenced in the main work.  And the fact that had he probably had a pretty good shot at claiming parody might have saved Tayler from going back to fix close to eleven years worth of back entries.


Which raises an interesting question about this “Pirate Book” that’s no longer a pirate book:  Who’s the pirate here?


Yes, Tayler came along after Covey, made reference to his existing work and conceivably profited off of it, even though ‘profit’ may be a flexible term as far as revenue from online works go…


That said, the fact that the owners of the original property were less likely to “Think Win-Win” and opted instead for “Pillage, then burn,” shows at least a sympathy, if not alignment, with Anne Bonny.  Even if fully justified, going the tact they did doomed them to being thought scallywags by the casual observer.  Like William Kidd, whatever good motives were there to begin with were lost in the action taken.


Me, I’m all for protecting what belongs to you, but showing up to a knife fight with a chain gun has its drawbacks…


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