Orwell estate again rattling copyright saber over 1984 novel

If he were alive today, Eric Arthur Blair (better known by his pen name of George Orwell) might add another theme to the three defining political ideologies of 1984‘s Ingsoc. The themes in the dystopian novel were “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength.”

Perhaps the new theme would read something like: “This is dumb.” That’s because the Orwell estate is again flexing its intellectual property muscle, this time going after an Internet radio host who dared to sell T-shirts emblazoned with the number 1984. Cafe Press, where Josh Hadley was hawking the shirts, informed him Friday of an “Alleged IP Violation.” The online marketplace said it had received notice from the Orwell Estate of a copyright violation for using “George Orwell Quotes.” CafePress disabled the T-shirts from being displayed in Hadley’s CafePress shop.

In an e-mail to Ars, Hadley declared the episode as “bullshit” and said he plans to sell a “retouched” version in the coming days instead of appealing the decision of CafePress. “Screw them. Maybe they should read some Orwell before being copyright trolls,” he told Ars.

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