January 24, 2003
Life and Death by Copyright: The Strange Story of Annlee

Two artists, Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno, bought the exclusive rights to an animated character named Annlee from a Japanese agency selling stock manga characters. They paid a little over $400 for Annlee's copyright and then let their friends use her character in their artworks. Then, they "killed" her off, forbidding future uses of her likeness by transferring Annlee's copyright to Annlee herself! Mickey must be jealous. He has to do the bidding of the Disney corporation, constantly appearing on their mugs and t-shirts. But Annlee, the first cartoon character to hold her own copyright, has been liberated from the grind of commerce and mass-production.

An exhibition of artworks starring Annlee is on view at SFMOMA until March 13, 2003. Artforum also features Annlee in their January 2003 issue.

Posted by Lisa Wang at January 24, 2003 12:56 AM
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Lisa Wang insightfully moves the discussion of intellectual property to the reflexive “meta” level by reprinting a report about a copyright object that now “owns” its own copyright. But while we can laugh at the idea that copyrighted objects might own their own copyright, it becomes a little scarier to contemplate the idea that patented objects might also “own” their own patent, which the following report shows that they might soon demand:

Robot Breaks Out - Recently, in Rotherham, England, Gaak the robot, who is part of a research project into equipping robots to think for themselves, escaped from the lab while it was momentarily unattended and made it as far as the parking lot of the Magna Science Center before being stopped by a visitor's car. It had forced its way out of a small pen used to house units scheduled for repair. Said Professor Noel Sharkey, “The robots have all learned a significant amount and are becoming more intelligent by the day."

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