90-Year-Old Who Ruined Crossword Art Wants Copyright

Hannelore K. claims copyright to new version
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2016 7:27 AM CDT
90-Year-Old Who Ruined Crossword Art Wants Copyright
She says it's now more expensive.   (Shutterstock)

A 90-year-old German woman says she didn't damage an $89,000 piece of art in the form of a crossword puzzle when she scribbled in a few answers—she actually increased its value. A lawyer for the retired dentist, identified only as Hannelore K., says she simply completed Arthur Koepcke's puzzle "as the artist intended," noting a phrase in the crossword at Nuremberg's Neues Museum read "insert words," reports the AP. Her "invigorating re-working" of the piece actually increased its value, partly by bringing Koepcke into the spotlight, he adds, per Ars Technica.

The lawyer actually claims Hannelore now holds the copyright to the improved artwork. And in theory, he says, Neues Museum could be sued for destroying her work, by way of restoring the art back to its original version, which it has now done. It isn't clear if Hannelore plans to sue. Though she's accused of damaging property—the artwork belongs to a private collector, not the museum—her lawyer notes Koepcke would have approved of her updates: He was an artist of the Fluxus movement, which inspired artwork known to involve the viewer in some way. (Read more on the case here.)

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