1984 Apple Ad


Apple Apple

In today's news [June 2010] there's an article about Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs announcing the latest technological advance to its iPhone smart-phone. Orwellianly, one of the added features is a video camera facing the person using the phone (all the better to SEE you with!).

Apple iphone 4 iphone camera video

Apple introduces iPhone 4, MacWorld, Jun 7, 2010 (... has a new, 5-megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom and an LED flash. It also adds 720p HD video capture at 30 frames per second. To go along with the new video capabilities, Apple has created a version of its iMovie consumer video-editing application for the iPhone. With it, you can record or edit you videos (and add photos as well). You can add titles, change themes, and use music from your iTunes library.... Jobs sat down on a chair to show off the iPhone 4’s video chatting capabilities. Using either of the two cameras, you can make video calls — a feature called FaceTime — between iPhone 4 phones over Wi-Fi only — at least through 2010. Jobs said Apple needs to "work a little bit with the cellular providers in the future". You can switch between cameras and chat in landscape or portait mode....)

Hands off my Apple, National Post, Jun 7, 2010 (...Mr Jobs is expected to unveil a new iPhone that will be faster, have more capacity, a better screen and battery life, and a front-facing camera. Apple is so hot right now that everything it unveils flies off the shelves, sending its share price higher. The question longer term however, is whether its "closed" strategy of development can continue to deliver the goods -- and the buzz -- as open-source operating systems such as Android offer slick new applications and growing competition. The key to Apple's ability to set the curve has been simple: Control the entire ecosystem from inception to production along with all related software, and you can ensure high-quality products that are reliable, easy to use and pleasing to the eye. This closed strategy was part of the reason it failed to maintain a dominant market share when matched up against the open-source Windows platform from Microsoft Corp. during the PC turf wars of the late 1980s. But Apple's tight controls have proven "elemental" to trumping Microsoft Corp. as the world's largest technology firm by market value as of May 25 said Charles Golvin, principal analyst with Forrester Research Inc....

During the Google I/O Conference in Sydney, California, last month, Google's vice-president of engineering Vic Gundotra said during his May 20 keynote that if Google did not introduce an open-source mobile operating system such as Android, the world faced a "draconian future; a future where one man, one company, one device would be our only choice." The rhetoric should sound familiar, it was ironically taken from Apple's famous '1984' advertisement.

1984 Apple Ad

The newsprint article was accompanied by the above photo of Apple's "1984" TV ad that aired during 1984's Super-Bowl and which resulted in a lawsuit against it.

Owner of Rights to Orwell's "1984" Novel Speaks Out On Political Ad Controversy (..."We are determined to protect the integrity of the Orwell novel and any derivative works," Rosenblum emphasized. "When the Apple 'Big Brother' television commercial was aired during the 1984 Super Bowl telecast, we immediately objected to this unauthorized commercial use of the novel, and sent a 'cease-and-desist' letter both to Apple and to its ad agency. The commercial never aired on television again"...)

watch Steve Jobs introduces 1984 Apple Macintosh Ad & 1984 Apple "1984" Super Bowl TV Commercial, You Tube

The case against Apple was recently discussed in ORWELL TODAY email exchanges. See ORWELL COPYRIGHT COURT CASES & ORWELL VS BIG BROTHER TV SHOW ~ Jackie Jura


by William R. Coulson, Winter 2009

     ...In fact, the book 1984 was under copyright in the year 1984. Copyright protection denotes many things. For a novel, it means no one may capitalize commercially on any of the novel's protected elements in any medium. Chicago attorney and film producer Marvin Rosenblum paid a significant amount to buy the television and motion picture rights from Sonia Orwell, the author's widow. Utilizing these rights, he proceeded with plans to make a film version of the novel. Producer Rosenblum had scrupulously policed his exclusive rights by permitting approved uses and by writing cease-and-desist letters to would-be infringers who sought to exploit 1984 without his permission or license on television or in motion pictures. Later, Rosenblum would expend much effort to exploit his exclusive right to present 1984 on television.

     Federal and state trademark law forbids anyone from "passing off" a work or a product as being affiliated with a protected entity – such as Orwell's 1984.... The iconic Apple commercial consequentially appeared to be a violation of federal copyright and trademark rights. Producer Rosenblum promptly wrote Apple's ad agency to "cease and desist" from further publications of the ad. Apple never again ran the commercial.

     In August of 2000, attorney William R. Coulson filed a trademark and copyright suit against CBS Television on behalf of producer Marvin Rosenblum and the Estate of George Orwell. CBS had begun airing a "reality" series titled "Big Brother" in the United States.... The suit alleged that CBS's infringement was willful and sought all of CBS's profits from the series as damages. After a year of litigation, which included depositions of CBS executives in Los Angeles, the case was settled to the satisfaction of both parties.... The financial terms of the settlement were confidential. During the credits at the end of the "Big Brother" program, there now briefly appears a disclaimer to the effect that the program is not affiliated with the Orwell Estate....

     George Orwell wrote his novel 1984 during the year 1948. Mr. Orwell's publisher, Harcourt Brace & Co., registered the copyright for his novel in the United States in 1949. George Orwell died in 1950, and his will conveyed his copyright to his widow Sonia. She authorized a black-and-white film version of the novel in 1955. Unfortunately, Sonia Orwell hated the film, ceased all distribution of it, and did not renew its license. In 1976, Sonia renewed the novels copyright. Under U.S. law, the book remains under copyright protection until the year 2044.

     Marvin Rosenblum admired Orwell's novel and thought that a film should be made of it to debut in the actual year of 1984. In late 1980 he contacted Sonia Orwell, who at first was adamantly against the idea of another movie version of her late husband's work. But Rosenblum persisted. On December 1, 1980, Sonia Orwell and Rosenblum signed an agreement. In return for a cash payment and future royalties to be paid to the Orwell Estate, Rosenblum purchased the television and the motion picture rights to the novel. This meant that Rosenblum had the exclusive worldwide rights to make and market television and movie products based on Orwell's book. Within two weeks of this agreement, Sonia Orwell died.

     The Estate of George Orwell became her Literary Executor and now held all the rights to the novel not bought by Rosenblum. While immersed in the production work for the motion picture, Rosenblum and the Orwell Estate were also monitoring and policing third party uses of 1984. Rosenblum focused on proposed and actual commercial uses of Orwell material in the United States. Most artists were well aware of the copyright implications of using material from 1984 and wrote letters seeking permission to utilize it. Rosenblum's file from this period includes over fifty instances of permissions being granted or denied. In deciding whether to grant a license to any particular requester, Rosenblum sought both to protect the artistic integrity of Orwell's work and also to maximize the revenue realized from such licenses.

     When he became aware of unauthorized commercial utilizations of 1984 material, Rosenblum sent "cease-and-desist" notices to the offender. His file for this period in the early 1980s includes such letters to a New York television station that televised the 1956 Edmund O’Brien film, to a company selling stickers containing slogans from 1984, and to a company selling Orwell-themed calendars for the year 1984.

     On January 22, 1984, Marvin Rosenblum took a break from the "1984" film production work to watch on television Super Bowl XVIII. Early in the third quarter, Apple ran its ad. Rosenblum was livid. Without any contact with him or the Estate, a major scene from the novel was being utilized by a big corporation to try to sell its products to football fans. Rosenblum immediately got on the telephone and verified that the Orwell Estate in London had not authorized the use of the Orwell material in the commercial.

     After contacting the Apple legal Department, Rosenblum went to London to work on his motion picture. However, whilefilming he received numerous calls from the media asking him if the Apple scene was from his film. That was precisely the kind of confusion concerning affiliation that the Lanham Trademark Act condemns. By letter to Lee Clow of Chiat-Day, dated April 26, 1984, Rosenblum memorialized his objections to the Apple ad. The letter stated: "Your much acclaimed Apple '1984' commercial which is based on Orwell's 1984 is a blatant infringement of motion picture and other media rights I own in and to George Orwell's 1984." The letter noted that the scene in the ad "is directly lifted from the novel," that the "tag line to the commercial has the number 1984 in quotations," and that "it therefore cannot be argued that the commercial was merely meant as a vague allusion to an Orwellian society." Rosenblum noted that his clipping service had located more than 100 stories in the general press about the commercial and "in virtually every instance the lead refers to Orwell and the novel 1984." Rosenblum's letter concluded: "I request that you cease and desist immediately from further use of the commercial." He asked Chiat-Day to contact him and warned that he might have to file suit in federal court to remedy continuing infringements. Marvin Rosenblum never heard back from Chiat-day, or from Apple. He did not file a lawsuit. And Apple never televised the commercial again....

     Copyright law gives the writer exclusive rights to reproduce and to market his work. It also includes the exclusive right to make derivative works based on the work. Derivative works can include a movie, television program, video game, any sequel, advertising based on the novel, "or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted." These rights can be licensed to others for particular uses for limited times, or they can be sold outright to others. The holder of a copyright or one of these exclusive derivative rights must "police" his rights by: granting or refusing permission to others to make a particular use of his work, sending out "cease-and-desist" letters to unauthorized users, and telling unauthorized users to stop using the protected work. The rights holder can also sue unauthorized users for copyright infringement and can be awarded damages and an injunction. The Apple ad was a classic television "derivative work" based on the novel 1984, and thus a creation only the rights holder - Marvin Rosenblum- could permit....

     Could Apple claim that its commercial helped publicize 1984 and thus proved beneficial for Orwell, eliminating any damages? Such a symbiosis assertion is not a defense to either copyright or trademark infringement. An infringer cannot make the argument that the rights-holder has benefitted by his wrongdoing, as that judgment is reserved for the rights-holder. So the Apple ad was indeed, as Marvin Rosenblum told Chiat-Day back in 1984, a violation of intellectual property laws. Should the case have gone to court, the bottom line is that Apple would not have been successful. A Court would have enjoined further televising of the ad and Mr. Rosenblum could have sought the profits Apple generated from it. Interestingly, either no one at Apple and Chiat/Day thought about the copyright/trademark issues or they thought about them and did not care....

     Apple should have asked Mr. Rosenblum for permission to use Orwell's materials in the commercial. We will never know whether, or for how much money, he might have granted such use. The commercial was very well done, and it obviously was true to the novel. At that time, Rosenblum was assembling the parts for his motion picture; he might have weighed the positive publicity the commercial would have generated for his upcoming film. But that was Rosenblum's, and not Apple's, decision to make....


3.Survellance & 19.Goldstein Two-Minutes Hate

Steve Jobs death recalls 1984 Apple Super Bowl ad (Apple symbolically smashed Big Brother IBM in face), IBT, Oct 6, 2011

watch Steve Jobs introduces Apple computer in 1984 (compared Big Blue IBM to Orwellian Big Brother), YouTube


1.Winston's Diary (...The instrument - the telescreen, it was called - could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously....)

3.Surveillance (...Any sound Winston made, above the level of a whisper, would be picked up by the telescreen; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.... Never show dismay! Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could give you away....There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime it was called.... Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.... Whichever way you turned, the telescreen faced you....

20.Thought Police (...There was no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live - did live, from habit that became instinct - in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness every movement scrutinized...)



Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com