Last month, a 90-year-old woman visiting an art museum in Nuremberg, Germany was drawn to a 1977 crossword puzzle on display called "Reading-work-piece." Next to the artwork, created by avant-garde artist Arthur Köpcke, was a sign that said, "Insert Words." The visitor took the sign seriously and began filling out the puzzle with a ball point pen.
Police rushed to the scene and questioned the senior citizen, whose name has been released as Hannelore K. She said the museum should have warned visitors not to fill in the puzzle, and the police let her go.
But now the woman is threatening to sue the museum for cleaning up her additions to the art piece. She claims that she now holds the copyright to the "collaborative" artwork, since she enhanced it, but the museum destroyed her creative work by restoring the piece to its original state.
…her lawyer has produced a seven-page rebuttal to the accusation of damaging property.
He says that far from harming the work in question, his client has increased its value by bringing the relatively-unknown Köpcke to the attention of a wider public. Moreover, her "invigorating re-working" of the exhibit further increased its worth.
Indeed, Frau K.'s lawyer claimed that her additions meant that she now held the copyright of the combined artwork—and that, in theory, the private collector might sue the museum for destroying that new collaboration by restoring it to its original state.
The art is said to be valued at around $90,000.
Read the full story at Ars Technica.
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