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George Orwell’s estate threatens radio host for using the number 1984

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“Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.” So goes the slogan of Ingsoc, or the English Socialist Party, the totalitarian rulers in George Orwell’s paradigm-setting dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The descendants of Orwell, whose name has become synonymous with mechanisms used to enforce power, are trying to force an Internet radio host to stop using the iconic “1984” on merchandise, claiming copyright infringement, leaving one to wonder whether they ever read Orwell’s work.

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Josh Hadley, who runs 1201 Beyond, said he received a “cease and desist” letter from the Orwell estate because he was selling T-shirts with “1984” on them, TorrentFreak reports.

“First off is the irony of the estate of George Orwell being all Orwellian but second is that you can’t copyright a number,” Hadley told TF. “The U.S. Copyright office has long since established this.” Hadley added he didn’t use any of the author’s quotes on the T-shirt even though the estate had accused him of doing so.

But Bill Hamilton, executor of the estate, said the merchandise Hadley was selling does breach copyright laws.

“The estate has never licensed merchandising, nor have the licensees of the relevant film rights, under which merchandising usually comes. Some of the merchandising I asked to be taken down was in clear breach of copyright,” Hamilton told TF.

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Hadley said he still plans to sell the shirt with “1984” on it because it’s something he believes George Orwell himself would approve of, noting the “Big Brother-like” manner the estate watched his website for transgressions.

“This is blatant abuse of the copyright system and more off it’s a ridiculous attempt to control something that needs no control,” Hadley told TF. “I am in the process of having this image retouched and added to the store on my current site as I will not allow this kind of abuse of authority to stand.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Psychoanalyst Justin Frank on why Trump ‘hates reality’ and must be ‘quarantined’

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Donald Trump is a living, breathing national emergency. Our president has repeatedly encouraged violence against his perceived enemies — and at least some of his supporters are following his lead. These are not isolated incidents. There are dozens of court cases where Donald Trump has been cited for "inspiring" acts of violence and other crimes. There are also the most odious examples such as the recent white supremacist terror attack in El Paso in which the alleged mass murderer wrote an online "manifesto" that almost verbatim channeled Trump's threatening rhetoric towards nonwhite people.

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Like a fox — how a TV news channel is tearing America apart

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A little over 20 years ago, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes concocted a profitable way to tap into the white supremacist ideology still bubbling below America’s surface.

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It’s been a lucrative strategy. However, just making a buck wasn’t enough for them. They also wanted to shape the fortunes of the country they were dividing. Here, too, they had tremendous success.

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