« Freakonomics Radio

110. Who Owns the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth?

2013-01-16 | 🔗
The very long reach of Winston Churchill -- and how the British government is remaking copyright law.
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If you're ready to push the boundaries of tomorrow, let the innovation experts at every riddle, aeronautical university, help you explore the possibilities once again this year. You s news and will report has ranked our online fatuous degree programmes number one in the nation and our distance learning technology put success at your fingertips. Flexible schedules personalized attention at expert faculty combined for a learning experience that open stores around the world find out more ye. Are you not EU? Slash explore? Let's play a piece of Amber Churchill speech would work later about whether they are how much whose tab and yes exactly the major issues, I don't know any wrong. We shall fight the fields and industry,
I didn't. Surrender and if the guy not for a moment, believe a large part of it, but subjugated and starving. Empire beyond the sea, and guarded by liberty freak carry on the struggle yeah good guy, the new law like the rest, and the liberation. So, first of all astonishing language which he, which he crafted meticulously there wasn't a comma or even a breath that I dont think was choreographed in advanced. He was a performer as a speaker, no Churchill COS
in a number of things at Churchill, said throughout history of become ingrained in earned in our language, never never never never, never, never give it as it are giving it in Do I now having said those words on this programme, need to send a check to somebody. How does it work so that you sent to me, for, I think, I'm happy. From W and Y see an ATM american public media. This is Reaganomics radio podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stevens Abner,.
so singer. Welcome like you. I know you track were old friends thing it safe to say friends for sure very singer is a writer, the author of several books, about music in the theater and for the past the years he's also run a shop in New York City called Chart, well booksellers its irregular bookshop, but its specializes in Churchill Chilion, that is, books, manuscripts and artifacts, that relate to the long and storied life of Sir Winston Spencer. Church chart well, in fact, is the name of Churchill's home in cash, South EAST England, despite knowing a great deal about Churchill, an despite having written several books, it wasn't until recently The very senior himself wrote a book about church, it's called Churchill style, the art of being Winston Churchill,
and, in the course of writing the book. Something strange happened, something having to do with Churchill's estate and money in very singer, but before we get to them, let's hear a bit more about Churchill. Himself and his well appointed like I love the fact that away from his life he nurtured himself. It seemed to me in a very realistic and fast mating way so that he had the strength to whether all the defeat that was actually part of his career Churchill lost, I think at least five elections in at least five elections. In the course of his career, he was constantly swatted down. He was constantly dismissed, including at the end of world war. Two before the war ended, he was voted out of office as Prime Minister and I believe that the life at he created from self away from politics was the source of his strength and that included
free thing from how he dressed he. He he like comfortable clothing, jumpsuits any designed jumpsuit found. Somebody could zip down to the floor so could step in step out of media amazing had made up in all these different fabric, so he had addressed one and he had one for painting any had. He had won the war with metals everything he wore was Bespoken. Obviously he was into very fine fabrics and things like that, but at the same time PETE be built chart, while he kind of renovated it with his own. Hands, obviously, with the help of professionals, but he was in their designing and creating vit recreating the house himself, so he was, he was very much a hands on fix it sort of personnel- and let me leave you unattended just for a minute- because it gets too where, where I want to go, few eventually that say somebody listening knows nothing about Winston Churchill. They know that he existed. He was Prime Minister Britain during the war, and he did some other stuff. Ok, would assume he was a fabulously wealthy human being
One would have assumed, however, wrongly so talk about You know there's a lot in your book about money when it meant to him how he used it, how he was in some ways very soon. Heavy, but all though he lived like a king, not on a king salaries, had to talk about that for a minute. You have to remember that this is his. His father was the son of the Duke of Marlborough, but he was not the inheriting sense of he came away from that with nothing. He was also a kind of frivolous with money himself, so Churchill inherited only is, for the most part, is fathers debts, but he wrote. He figured out very early on that. The only thing that he could do to make money quickly was to write. He was a very good right. Had Winston Churchill not gotten into politics heading Finally, one election eventually become p m. In all these other things, any idea what kind of career he would have had his literary figure alone. He won the Nobel Prize, Let us try to say, like I think you will you couldn't affrighted, that he would have become a would have remained a writer I think, but which also important point.
So he joined the army to get into parliament. He knew that he wanted to become a famous war hero war correspondent so that he could run for parliament the always wanted politics he wanted to do at his father had done and best him once you know- and you have to remember also that until the nineteen twenties parliament, nobody was paid a salary who served in Poland. So there is no money in it mostly had to go in there with your own money. Okay, so here's a young man who had its sights set on politics saw the military and writing about being in the military as an avenue towards that goal. Everything works out. He gets that goal. He becomes a politician that the story goes on
Had he been only a writer, he probably would have been, as you say, a very successful right and probably would have made plenty of money to sustain what he wanted to accomplish talk for just one more minute, then about him for the rest of his life and money and where the money came from to support himself during and after politics. First of all, the money came from the writing, but he then spent it He spent it liberally. He spent it on poverty, champagne, which he bought in staggering quantities and vintages that he preferred he bought out, as he would by everything that he could find any
cigars. They have bills, did the Churchill archives of preserved. He saved everything, so the Churchill Archives in Cambridge have everything all of the bills, so you can see what he was buying from this from from nine different cigar emporium all across London. In its it's, it's an unbelievable thousands of cigars, but when he got into trouble he took investment advice from a number of important people and he was close to the Rothschild his father had been close watch on family, but some of these people bail, Churchill out when he got into deep Churchill himself died in nineteen sixty five. Yes, he was an old man, evidently live ninety. Ninety did he die a rich man? Did he leave a whole lot of money to his heirs? He did not one of them
The church was able to stay on a chart well which he would have sold. I think, after the war, because it was too expensive to maintain as that again friends of his stepped up and said we will by chart, while from youth, we will raise subscription to buy it from you and you will be able to live there at a very nominal rent for the rest of your life and when it's done it you'll it'll become a national trust, property and museum, and that's exactly what happened and that's why the building is preserved today and is very much as it was when he left it because he lived there until the day he died and then clemency left there lived there and then it was turned over to the to the National Trust. So he didn't have much to leave to his grandchildren except the copyrights to his words coming up on freakin, I'm a radio. What is the going rate a word once written or spoken allowed by Winston Churchill, I use three
one thousand eight hundred and seventy two words of Winston Churchill's in the button- and that's cost me nine hundred and fifty lb, which is roughly zero dollars and forty cents. Word, how low british copyright law and turns berry. Singer is not the only one who doesn't like we were having a coffee. is a guy with Saharan unmarried page and they they said to us that, in looking at the intellectual property, came in the UK and they thought that they couldn't have started. Google in the UK,
Britain, I'm afraid he was sponsored by Wonder- is business movers bought cast when Coca COLA changed their recipe to what they called new Coke in nineteen eighty five, the backlash was swift and severe and The man who drove the change German Robert boys wetter pulled nuclear from the shelves in a matter of months, wondering Business movers explores boys what is controversial decision and the public response, but the real story. New coke is far more human and complex Listen to wonder is business movers podcast on Apple Podcast, Amazon, music or ad free in the wonder, happened. thanks to Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch, ass, pennsylvanians or scratching their way to fine, and we new games every month. Big top rises and second chance drawings, excitements, always in order. So try Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch offer your ticket to fund and get yours today, keep on scratching
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This journey with us, as we learn from some of the poorest smartest people in their fields. If, then, is out now just search, if slash than to find the show that, if slash then knows Exit, listen in stature, apple, the serious ex em up or wherever you get your PA casts. From W and Y see in a PM american public media. This is freakin mix, radio, here's your host, Stephen Dabbler, so bury singer proprietor of New York Bookshop that specializes in the works of Winston Churchill is writing a book about Churchill to be called Churchill's style. He gets in touch with the literary Agency Curtis Brown which, over
seize the Churchill state. I contacted them to. Let them know that I was doing this book and was surprised as to learn, they told me that any word of Churchill's, either written or uttered and public was copyrighted by the Churchill Estate and that I would have to pay a royalty to quote from church. Now it should be said that singer as a dealer in old Churchill, books and artifacts is quite friendly with the estate Churchill's, children and grandchildren he's done business with them. They visit His shop in New York he's visit them in their homes in England, so he had been expecting to pay merely to quote Churchill in his book I was shocked when I assumed was that as we ve all written, quoting throughout our
I didn't career, you, u Abstract a certain amount of words, and you quote you don't you don't necessarily quote an entire book, but you can quote selected suggests without their laws. Fair pangs. I swear used to tell me you begin to learn about the United Kingdom's fair. You, sir, some somewhat fair weather, no fairly figure trades, every man for himself like that again and the was explained to me- was the bill of rights that the that free speech in the United States, because it is in the bill of rights- you actually are allowed to quote liberally than you are. Neither in the United Kingdom, which has no bill of rights and the Magna Carta did not grant guarantee that anybody could quote whatever they wanted to the oil that anyone did. There was it I dont quite I still think that an Irish they hadn't attorney here, who said
May you know, I think that you could push this if you wanted to, and I don't think they have a leg to stand, wish this meaning right, whatever you want and load Churchill quotes and let them come after you and I think he would win the case in court. However, I have I say warm relations with the Churchill family and have no interest whatsoever in crossing them are or anything that they don't want me to do, and I did go to members of the church of family and say to them. Is this real, aiming at specific you're saying like, for instance, is speechless Zay rate the churches? and you're you're saying you would like to quote whatever twenty words. Fifty words. Eighty words from the speech the agent has told you. Yes, you may licence his words via me for, on behalf of the estate, and it will cost you were ex. He says a word has five hundred pounds per thousand words quote, who so yeah HU as a writer of a book about Churchill. If you want to include quotations from Churchill, even if those were my
it. While let's say he was Prime Minister before Parliament, you'd have to pay the Churchill estate nearly a backward, that's right as long as it was delivered. Seventy years was the statute of limitations and seventy years did not apply if it was the first time any of this was being quoted. A high and dry uncle, which is an interesting required, surprised me, so we you learned that every time you would quote Churchill himself, whether from public or private, writing or speech in the book that you're writing about Churchill. How did that affect your writing of that turtle book I cut every quote to the bone, I was shaving quoth I was cut. In part, as you don't have to pay for ellipses that I was very heavy ellipses lion I cut. I was
cutting like crazy. I'll. Tell you also that every member of the church of family it apply to as well? So if I could, I had quotes of Clementine and the rate for Clementine was higher than the rate for Winston Churchill. so I guess Clementine went out the window in your book. Then she was I just thought I'd. I wrote to kurdistan- and I said: if you do this clemency, we'll be eliminated from the book as a voice. I'll just paraphrase her and they said to may be careful about prep paraphrasing, but I did. God knows I thy by who but they still like me over there, but I am this is in fact this is what I'm ok. I want
know, then, if you willing to say how much you had to pay so the way book writing works. For those who don't know is typically an author will get an advance which is an advance against royalties. So if your book sells a lot, your publisher will get the money back that they paid you in the event, then you'll start sharing profit. But the author gets in advance that use to fund yourself to do the research and write the book. Could you want to say either how either or both how much you paid to the estate, the Churchill stay and or what share of your advance it it constituted. Well, I do know because of their contract. We ultimately sign that I use three thousand eight hundred and seventy two words of Winston Churchill's in the book and that's cost me nine hundred and fifty pounds Which is roughly forty cents a word, so they they, they didn't, alienates very rigid. Bring it down you someone!
I can say that my entire advance went to two photo and word rights in the end. Do regret, therefore, in any direction having written the book? No I've. Never unlike church Bell, I have a day job because I've, never an entirely for money. I really wanted to write this book it and I am really glad to see it and the rest is the future. Maybe it will generate some money, but all the advance money went into the book, for the record. We did contact the churches, they and its literary agent. Neither them on to speak for this programme now
If you're, a writer like bury singer, has been trained in american journalism, the idea of paying to quote the words of a public official may seem strange, but just because you're not accustomed to something doesn't necessarily make it wrong. Rules differ was different. States differ James Joyce's, grandson, Stephen James Choice is so protective of his grandfather. Words that he is the bane. Many a joy scholar, the estate of Martin Luther King Jr, charged about eight hundred thousand dollars for the use of his likeness and words, and the new King Memorial in Washington DC now every case is different a public memorial. the same is a book which is not the same as a tv commercial in the EU. hey is not the same as the? U s
The scholars will tell you U K. Laws are much more protective and, as a result, much more convoluted on many levels. So much so in fact that the government is So we have this conversation began when I was visiting you in London. I told you about this friend of mine. I know if you remember this conversation about Churchill, my friend rating, that agricultural, then I'll see Rambert well Ro hand, silver is a senior policy adviser to british Prime Minister David Cameron. He covers a lot of ground, including reform of Britain's archaic copyright system. I think the big point to make is that the british system doesn't have a year of specific characteristic that the american system does you were there have fair use exemptions in intellectual property, we just don't have that. In the UK, so some of the kind of examples of assent One include
medical research is doing. Data mining across large. those of us of data sets and patient records on quickly fall foul in the UK of of copyright laws. Another example is that we had lots of cultural institutions, museums and galleries to a saying we ve got. Tapes old video tapes, spools tapes rotting in our basements, because we can't digitize because in digitizing you changing the format which requires permission from the copyright holder and with a lot of these old nineteen, twenty nineteen, thirty films and recordings, the copyright holder can be found and so these tapes are left rotting for fear of of litigation So we really seeing this. The subsidies is about now it might be easy to.
Try to minimizes absurdities or minimize the impact of those absurdities. Let's say by thinking: well, these are you no kind of arcane copyright barriers that may be problematic for certain kinds of creators and a small group of people, perhaps, but really you ve, opened up to look at a much broader issue include innovation writ large. Yes, exactly aiming in our view is that unless reform the ledge apologies, as many UK were really going to be at a disadvantage in the digital age. One of the young prompts for doing this work on intellectual property ass. She came from the founders of Google. We were having a coffee if Ye the guy with Brenda, Larry Page, and they they said to us that the law is often have been looking at the intellectual property regime in the UK, and they thought that actually they couldn't have started Google. In the UK, so imagine if, if
I've been a carriage had been in London rather than Palo Alto. Well, the way- Google works, whether of Google Box and algorithms cruel and take a snapshot of the internet. then cool. All over that snapshot fact for quick search results. That kind of thing simply you wouldn't have impulse, when you came, he should have immediately fallen foul of all the copyright rules. In the absence of the fair use provisions, you haven't stays really bay. If a company like Google couldn't have been sought in the UK because of the intellectual property rules that's when we really realised that we, this wasn't just now Kane issue is it was really central. It is really central to our vision for the economy at large, so the Cameron Administration, commissioner report to look into updating the UK is intellectual property regime. The report's author,
a well regarded scoured aimed in hargraves, came back with three key recommendations. First, the government should create a digital copyright exchange. It would make it easier for a user to find out who owns a piece of content and pay em for second, the government should facilitate the use of wood. called orphan works, those rotting tape, sitting in basements, for instance, by allowing a fair use exemption if the owner such works cannot be found and the third one mile, the third one is the Biggie has do with data mining. It would make it easier for researchers of various kinds to sort through massive piles of data. As ROE head Silva sees it, the liberalization of this copyright restriction will change the game, We'll. Let me give you an example: lots of people around the world are very excited about genomics about an area in which whole genome sequencing eyes.
is very affordable and One of the things were looking at the moment how large, data bases of anonymize whole genomes, and led to great insights, full researches, because I running queries through these big date. Sets well, there are some who believe that the key the economic implications of these kind of genomics databases You don't you could be talking about a new industry worth tens of billions of Algeria mean really big industries, companies as big as Bloomberg and Google and Facebook built in this space using genetic data to integrate, create new tools and apps and services of medicines and treatments. Will our concern is that unless the info burbage regime allows you to do large scale. Database queries
Data mining across across big databases linking critically different types of data clinical records with whole genomes is on the entire field of innovation will be closed off. So well. Some of the applications here might might sound a bit. Well, you know. That's that's a nice thing to do, but not central to the economy thinks they with rotting bits of tape in the basement. the british library. I can see that more essential central to the future of the economy, but I, if, if the intellectual property regime winds up as we fear it is, unless we sing about it. Winds up in peace during an entirely new area of innovation. In the UK, like genetics like an I mixed, then we ve got a problem on our hands undone vessel, which ought to get ahead of so what begins with us a tiny little fight over a few pounds here and there to quote
then Churchill may result in multi billion or trillion dollar industry and millions of lives saved. That's the idea, at least as exactly it. I called up Steve level my free economics friend in CO author to get his thoughts on copyright and fair use I'm leavin long before you and I met you had been writing academic papers for years. Publishing them in journals. Did you ever get paid for any those papers?
I don't know that I've ever gotten paid for writing papers that appear in academic year and also those sometimes you get paid some nominal, some to write articles that would appear in an added volume. So, for instance, is a book on crime that has leading scholars right a chapter I probably got paid I returned thousand dollars to read a chapter on the book now, but did you ever calculate the value of writing those papers in journals for free? Yes, I did, and so my estimate is dad for a young academic. Every publication in a top tier of Utica NAM. External is probably worth at least one hundred thousand dollars, because it's worth that much because the publication adoption was going to enhance your reputation there
your labour prospects over your lifetime that much that's. The idea will help you get ten year help you move get outside job offers, but I am in many ways: that's probably hey, I'm in under a spent well of the value of these top obligation, when you think about your words, its pretend in a two generations from now yard long dead and your grandchildren admitted, the state of Steve Eleven economist and accidental author, and your words whether from something you wrote or delivered in a lecture are being used in some fashion that we can't imagine today. Should they be worth anything? If so, how much should they be worth? oh, I think they were nothing. I try to give them way whenever I can't I may be just the academic and me, but the idea that you try to own and control your your words, an idea that I think it's both helpless and and misguided. the misguided. Why? What is it produce
think in the long run, even if you're only goals, we profit maximizing the idea that other people out there spreading we your thoughts in using your words. It's gotta be good for you in the long run of whatever we know, whatever returns you're trying to get, but at a deeper level assists in. I am private selling an economist, but it seems ridiculous to try to squeeze the last penny out of every little bit of things? Ya wanna mean people Lou. do well making our books and and yes, a! Why aren't defray? Why and why shouldn't so we charge for books. Are our publisher pays us and they charge for the books? What's are? Are you saying that if you want your words to be spread, is freely and cheaply. As all that that that that should happen. Oh, I think some people care enough about having their ideas out there that they would rather give away their books in their ideas than to charge for them. I were not those people he liked,
paid for books. I think the problem you run into with intellectual property is when people are not willing to produce the ideas in the books, because they are no property rights.
So they can't get them into some of you and I are in favour of intellectual property rights and will mean a we don't like people getting our book for nothing or you're, acting and having it out other I'm kind of amused. When people send me books from India that have been dropped, no very low quality rebuffs of her book- I you know it's not like someone was gonna pay full price for that book anyway, but I think there is a difference between basic property rights which make it worth your while to invest in creating a work of art or worker nonfiction, and then the idea that you get all pissy about it. When somebody on the edges tries to do a little something with what you're doing
so that's the trade off to be concerned with. If anyone should be free to use anything, that's been created by anybody which in some ways is the baseline ethos, and these early years of the digital revolution, then will the incentive to create be strong enough? We want an answer that question for many years, a lot of history to work off in a lot of future to still be sorted out in the meantime No, this an american radio project like ours is not subject to british copyright law or the reach of Winston Churchill's literary agent or his estate, which means that we can play you his majestic words freely and fairly
free. Thus, we shall get em out have been needed to bring us together. Today you will allow me the old other language. I will say that he must indeed about applying soul, who cannot see that some great purpose and design it being worked out, your below, which we have the honour to be the faithful servant. He had not given go out into the midst of the? U n. I vow my unpaid sure and inviolate didn't today become the british and american people willing for their own safety and for the good of all work together in magic,
in Gaza and in a pug restlessness? on our next episode. Steve Levitt stops by marketplace to talk with high risk about a new project called for economics, experiments it's about decision making and anyone, and that includes you can participate for me. What gets me excited- and I am sure you consents max I'm and is the idea that were taking economic research. to a place. It's never been done before and really in somebody's democratizing it to the extent that anyone can now be part of this process that next time and for economic, freak economics, radio,
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-15.