Citing search in a book when the content won’t be released


I’ve been slowly reading Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein in advance of the next UX Book Club: NYC later this month. I’m only a hundred pages in but it seems like a pretty decent book. While it isn’t a fast page turner I’d recommend it as something designers should read. It falls into that genre of Donald Norman kind of reading about human interactions.

The reason why I wanted to bring up the book is a curious poem that was omitted from the pages. The book’s authours tried to get the rights to be able to publish Smart by Shel Silverstein. They were denied access by the Silverstein’s estate. To get around not having the poem the book basically suggests googling “Smart” and “Shel Silverstein”. This is the first time I’ve come across a content strategy using search. The search did work and illustrates a murky online content world that people in the real world are going in two different directions with. On the one side there’s the book authours wanting to cite a poem, willing to pay for it and are denied. There’s an estate that wasn’t willing to part with the poem for their reasons and the words don’t make it back to print where it can be paid. However online the poem is there for anyone to read with no possible way of the estate being compensated. It’s a dilemma that I’m sure will be played out a lot more as methods of spreading ideas twirl around out there in the digital world.

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  • Su

    I'd expect to see this tactic used someday—if not already—regarding Martin Luther King's “I Have a Dream” speech. I seem to recall that the estate demands ridiculous fees for it, by the line, to anybody that comes along. Like, oh, textbook publishers. So many of them are simply opting to not include or excerpt it at all. I'm annoyed I couldn't find the reference to that I was looking for, but for fun, here's a recent piece from the LA Times, in which

    they had been paid more than $800,000 by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation for the use of King's image and words on the planned King memorial on Washington's Mall.