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90 year old claims copyright in “vandalised” artwork

Chris JHolland22 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.

 

 

 

Museums benefit from New Copyright Exceptions

Chris JHolland30 May 2014

It is interesting that some of the new copyright exceptions have been extended to benefit Museums specifically:

Preservation Copies
A good example is the updated Section 42 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) which permits libraries, archives and museums to reproduce copyright works for purposes of replacement and preservation. Not only does this exception now cover museums, it has also has also been widened to encompass copying of works in any format. This means for example that deteriorating film stock and fading photographs can now be reproduced (digitised) for preservation.
Dedicated Terminals
The other prominent example of the inclusion of museums is an entirely new exception in Section 40B of CDPA (new to UK  legislation that is – it is drawn from the EU Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC). This permits libraries, archives, museums and educational establishments to make a copyright work available on a dedicated terminal to members of the public for purposes of research and private study. Interesting that this is not limited to “non commercial” research, but then it does not permit copying.
Although not explicit in the wording of the new exception, the IP Minister, Lord Younger has made it clear that the primary purpose is to improve the availability of digitised copies of older copyright material which may be fragile and otherwise inaccessible to the public.
There is ongoing litigation in Germany involving a University which sought to rely on the underlying exception in EU legislation to justify making a recently published book available via “dedicated terminals” (Schulze v. Darmstadt). Various issues have been referred to the European Court of Justice (reference C-117/13). The outcome will be interesting.