Did you know today is 70 years since George Orwell passed away?
But can we from now on freely use his “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” quote?
On January 21, 2020 it has indeed been 70 years since Mr. Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, the well-known English novelist and essayist and author of amongst others “Animal Farm” and “1984” has died of Tuberculosis in a London hospital.
Copyright grants to an author of work the exclusive right to reproduce his or her work. Meaning that only he or she can give his or her authorization to have his or her work modified, translated, rented out, made available to the public or have it distributed. These rights are transferred to the author’s heirs after his or her passing.
Moreover, works of literature covered by copyright are protected until 70 years after the death of the author. One would think that as a consequence, we can all freely use the eloquent writing of Mr. Orwell in any way we desire … However, we should not be too hasty since works of a deceased author only fall in the public domain starting from January 1st of the year following the year of the 70th birthday or his or her death.
Although there is of course the argument that by January 1st, 2021 Mr. Orwell’s literary works have been protected by copyright more than long enough, I have to admit that I anxiously await the first one to use the upcoming end of copyright protection as an opportunity to vulgarize his writing by commercializing consumer goods); adding #SomeAnimalsAreMoreEqualThanOthers and feeding them to masses not having a clue from where the quote originates from…
Katia De Clercq