90 year old claims copyright in “vandalised” artwork
By Chris J Holland, on 22 August 2016
A 90 year old German woman on an organised visit for senior citizens to the Neues Museum in Nuremberg was misled by the instructions on a work of art in the form of a crossword puzzle. She followed the instructions to “insert words” using her biro. Unfortunately the Museum regarded this as vandalism and felt obliged to pursue criminal charges (for insurance related reasons). The artwork by Arthur Kopcke from the 1970s has been valued at around £68,000.
Hannelore K’s lawyer has rebutted the claims of the museum and has gone so far as to claim that by filling in the crossword Hannelore has created a separate work of art in which she can legitimately claim copyright. On that basis they are taking issue with the Museum for having Hannelore’s contribution to the work (the writing in biro) removed and thereby destroying her own copyright-protected work.
The lawyer also claims that Hannelore K’s contribution has had the affect of increasing the value of the artwork by attracting media attention to an artist who is not very well known.
The story is reported fully in the Arstechnica Blog.