To Orwell Today,


I think you'd enjoy reading some of the court filings in the Estate of George Orwell v. CBS case. You can go online at the US District Court in Chicago (with a PACER account)... Or you can go to our Gold & Coulson website and get a slightly longer version of my article, in full.

I would just add these personal observations;

The CBS/Endemol television program took far too much from the essence of Orwell’s novel “1984”: the program name, the character “Big Brother” as a powerful, disembodied voice giving orders, the TV cameras in the walls (telescreens), the use of a ‘diary room’, the production company name “Orwell Productions Inc.”, etc.

Orwell’s "1984" is still under copyright, and the CBS program was a ‘derivative use’ of the novel which the copyright law reserves for the copyright owner. CBS also used ‘Big Brother’ as a trademark, and arguably cheapened the value of the trademark.

Most egregiously to me, CBS and Endemol – with dozens of lawyers on call – never even asked for permission, and apparently went ahead with the program, just daring the rights owners to sue.

There is now a required disclaimer at the end of the program (which apparently is coming back this summer) stating that there is no affiliation with the Orwell Estate. But it is only on screen for a millisecond or two – typical Hollywood.

I’m glad that Orwell lovers will now know about this case and its ramifications.

-William Coulson

Greetings William,

Thanks for the further insights into the Orwell copyright case against CBS (over their airing of the TV show BIG BROTHER) and for sending the links to where ORWELL TODAY readers can find the court filings.

"1984" and the Estate of George Orwell (Rosenblum vs Orwell Productions)

Owner of Rights to Orwell's "1984" Novel Speaks Out On Political Ad Controversy (...Rosenblum purchased rights to "1984" from the Orwell Estate and Sonia Orwell in the early 1980s and the Orwell novel is still under copyright, at least until the year 2044. The company has utilized these exclusive rights to produce a number of products based on the novel. "We produced Richard Burton's last film, '1984', which opened that year to great critical acclaim," Gina Rosenblum said. "We also authorized a number of related products such as videos and soundtracks, and later released the film for television viewing and an '1984' Opera. We are in discussions with major Hollywood companies to make a new motion picture of the classic novel....)

It was interesting to read about the other Orwell productions your client, the partial-owner of the copyright, is involved in - besides the making of the movie "1984" in 1984 - and learn that another version is in the works.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Apple Apple 1984 Apple Ad ORWELL BIT APPLE 1984 TV AD

Apple introduces iPhone 4 (has front-facing video camera) & Hands off my latest Apple gizmo (one man/one company/one device). MacWOrld/FinPost, Jun 7, 2010


1.Winston's Diary (...On each landing, opposite the lift shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.... Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. 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....)

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

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