WASHINGTON -- The rights to George Orwell's novel 1984 -- the inspiration for an Apple computer ad pirated by a Barack Obama supporter who remodeled it into an attack on Hillary Rodham Clinton -- are owned by Gina Rosenblum, a West Rogers Park resident who is president of Rosenblum Productions Inc.
A reason Apple probably did not complain about the Orwellian spot appropriated by Philip de Vellis -- a Democratic political operative -- is that the company didn't have the right to use it in the first place. It ran only during the 1984 Super Bowl because Rosenblum sent a "cease-and-desist" letter to Apple. On Tuesday, she sent a warning shot.
Rosenblum attorney William R. Coulson -- whose wife is state Rep. Beth Coulson (R-Glenview) -- said they have not taken any legal action -- "yet" but are "monitoring" the situation, serving "notice to the world the Orwell novel is still under copyright."
the press release with more background...
OWNER OF RIGHTS TO ORWELL'S "1984" NOVEL SPEAKS OUT
ON POLITICAL AD CONTROVERSY
CHICAGO, Illinois, March 27, 2007 – Rosenblum Productions, Inc., owners of the exclusive television and motion picture rights to the George Orwell novel "1984", said today that it is monitoring closely the controversy surrounding a political ad posted on You Tube that, according to one Chicago newspaper, is “a takeoff on George Orwell's ‘Big Brother’ 1984 theme used in an Apple ad.”
“The political ad copies a prior commercial infringement of our copyright,” said Gina Rosenblum, president of Rosenblum Productions Inc. “We recognize the legal issues inherent under the First Amendment and the copyright law as to political expression of opinion, but we want the world at large to know that we take our copyright ownership of one of the world's great novels very seriously.”
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 Berton'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.”
“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.”
In 2001 Rosenblum settled its Chicago federal court lawsuit against CBS Television and Viacom, Inc., for copyright and trademark infringement arising out of their ‘reality’ program entitled ‘Big Brother.’
William R. Coulson of the Chicago law firm of Gold and Coulson xxx xxxx is serving as legal adviser to Rosenblum Productions in this matter.