Big Brother

Another IP dispute from the US Presidential primaries, reported by ComputerWorld. The dispute surrounds a YouTube clip which shows Hilary Clinton as Big Brother and is based on a previous Apple advert, which showed Apple smashing IBM’s totalitarian Big Brother. The owner of the copyright in George Orwell’s novel Big Brother is making angry noises saying:

"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."
The Apple advert was only shown once during the 1984 Super Bowl. Likewise, CBS and Viacom settled a case concerning the television show Big Brother.

The IPKat notes that, although George Orwell coined the term Big Brother and put the concept down on paper, it has entered the language and culture so thoroughly that perhaps it should be treated as the copyright version of a generic term.
Big Brother Big Brother Reviewed by Anonymous on Thursday, March 29, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. George Orwell's novel "1984"...

  2. Surely in copyright terms "genericism" would not be required in any event in the UK, because the "work" is not original and was not original when Orwell used it (an existing two-word phrase which he merely used as a proper noun). Also, on the basis of Exxon, it would be deminimus.


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