Copyright Cowboys Performing the Law

Cornelia Sollfrank / 2012

This text looks at the role of Appropriation Art in contemporary discourses on copyright and intellectual property. It discusses whether appropriation artists have been able to meet their own critical claims, and what the value of a strategy, which depends so much on the workings of the art world, could be within a copyright-critical discourse whose issues go far beyond the art world. In: Joshua Pablo Rosenstock (Ed.), Journal of the New Media Caucus, V.08 N.02: Found, Sampled, Stolen: Strategies of Appropriation in New Media, 2012.


research, writing

copyright © 2004, Cornelia Sollfrank

Cornelia Sollfrank /2004

The starting point for this text is the question of who can be considered the author of a digital image collage produced by nag_05. The related investigation is based on legal research conducted in the field of copyright for computer-generated works as well as joint authorship, and aims at meticulously discussing as many legal options as possible. The text simultaneously applies and reflects legal thinking as it is performed through the adopting of legal terminology. There is also a video available in which the author reads the text to screen.


exhibition, interview, project

Legal Perspective

Four legal experts elaborate on copyright issues related to the net.art generator – from a legal perspective. Four-channel video installation, (12 to 15 minutes each). German with English subtitles.

In 2004 Cornelia Sollfrank submitted the anonymous_warhol-flowers to four copyright law experts and filmed their responses. Instead of displaying prints of the automatically generated images, these expert videos were installed at [plug.in] Basel. The interviews not only illustrate the different appraisals of the situation by various experts but also clearly demonstrate the legal grey area between artistic freedom and the letter of the law resulting from artistic appropriation. Aesthetic necessities and legal logic appear irreconcilable. Thanks to the participating lawyers: Peter Eller, Munich; Jens Brelle, Hamburg; DrsRolf auf der Maur, Zurich; Dr Sven Krüger, Hamburg.