Apr 242013
 

This Freakonomics Radio podcast: The episode begins with a conversation between Stephen Dubner and Barry Singer, the proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City. Chartwell is the world’s only Winston Churchill bookshop. (It’s also the name of Churchill’s estate in Kent.) Singer is an author, too, and he has recently published a book called Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill. The book details the well-appointed life that Britain’s most storied Prime Minister was known for: expensive cigars, Pol Roger champagne, crested slippers, custom jumpsuits from Turnbull & Asser — black for evening wear; gray pinstripe for day.

What’s not so well-known about Churchill is the tenacity of his estate when it comes to protecting his copyright. If you want to write a book about Churchill and quote him, or just about any member of his family, in fact, you have to pay – a pretty pound sterling. According to Singer:

SINGER: I used 3,872 words of Winston Churchill’s in the book. And that cost me £950, which is roughly 40 cents a word.

Transcript:

[MUSIC: Sir Edward Elgar; “Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85: 3. Adagio” (from Elgar Conducts Elgar – The complete recordings, 1914-1925)]

Stephen J. DUBNER: Let’s play a piece of Churchill speech. We’ll worry later about how much…

Barry SINGER: Whose tab it goes on.

DUBNER: Yeah, exactly.

CHURCHILL:…We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

 

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Source: Freakonomics

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