While many people associate empathy and deep listening as the cornerstone of Collaborative Communication, equally important is the skill of expressing our needs honestly to other people.
Recently, I discovered that an electronic version of several chapters of a book that I co-authored, “Connecting Across Differences” had been uploaded online without the permission of myself, my co-author, or the publisher.
I was faced with the decision of whether or not to respond to this discovery, and if so, how to go about it. Out of consideration for the actual people involved, I have replaced actual names and organizations with information [in brackets], but hopefully, you will still be able to follow along.
I hope you are happy in this moment! I am warm writing this, thinking about you. 🙂
I am writing with a question: Recently, in the process of looking for quotes from Connecting Across Differences, I discovered that the first three chapters of the book appear [on this website], which is a website for a course about [topic of the course].
You are listed as one of the trainers for the course, and I believe you are the only trainer on the team that I am aware of from the Nonviolent Communication network. I am reaching out to you to see if you know about the site and who administers it, since am concerned that this much of the book is available for free download with, I believe, without permission (I reached out to the publisher, Puddle Dancer Press, and they did not give permission, nor did my co-author, who I also checked with).
I can’t find a direct link from the website to the book excerpt; rather, it appears on a list of uploads, so it’s possible that the course used “Connecting Across Differences” as one of its books and someone scanned and uploaded the first three chapters (that’s just a guess).
We (me, my co-author, and the publishing company) would be fine with the first chapter being available at no charge to download on the site if a link to buy the book and/or more information about where to purchase it is also included. We want the material out in the world of course, and also want support/sustainability for the publisher, who invested in publishing it.
And I’d like people to know where they can obtain the entire book. The way it is posted on the site, there is no way to know that — or that more of it is available. I am sad about that. 😦 (Given this program appears to be based in a Spanish-speaking country, I also would love that some titles in Spanish be linked on the site — I believe Marshall Rosenberg’s book, “Nonviolent Communication” is available in Spanish, for example.)
The publisher’s lawyer could send a “cease and desist” letter about this, and I offered to reach out to you hoping we could resolve this more easily and with more connection, especially if you are involved in some way with the group.
Appreciating in advance your letting us know what you know about this site/group and if you can help resolve this in any way, and looking forward to hearing back,
(end of the email message)
What did you notice about the way that I expressed myself to this person? If it was you receiving the message, do you imagine you would be open-minded or defensive… or some combination?
Would you have said or done anything differently? My goal was to express what’s important to me and to meet my needs but to do so in a way that is respectful and is more likely to stimulate curiosity and collaboration, rather than resistance.
In a future blog post, I’ll share the actual outcome of the email (I really did send it!); meanwhile, let me know what you think — leave a comment below!