In honor of Hal Davis’ 1985 court case, Hannah Ross has taken famous contemporary works and copied them. Without altering the images in any manner, she converted the digital images to computer code and displayed the code. There is a grey area when it comes to US copyright law: a derivative work is allowed to attain copyright on the basis that the original was creatively altered. But the extent of alteration and what constitutes ‘creativity’ is vague. An additional technicality is that in order to begin a derivative work, one must be granted permission by the owner: “only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work.” The act of creation itself is the infringement. So these works are in violation of copyright law because they are identical to the originals, but are just read in a different visual format.
About the Artist
Hannah Ross was born in Washington D.C. and spent six years living abroad in Panama, Japan and the UK. She received her BFA from New York University and has completed photographic training through the Pratt Institute and the Corcoran. Ross is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on photography who makes satirical works about the notion of ‘ideal Americana’, the influence of media and society’s conventions. A majority of her inspiration derives from international cognitive studies, personal experiences, sociology and commercial trends. In looking at how society functions and grows, Ross finds links between humanity’s method of thinking and its actions.