The Digital Media Project



Martin Springer


TRU #21 to freedom of art





Martin Springer

Affiliation/additional information:

Active Contributor, Luebeck, Germany

Date submitted:







Name of TRU

TRU to freedom of art


Summary description of TRU

"Along with science, research, and teaching, art is free. The freedom guaranteed covers the artistic creation as regards both the work produced and the effect produced by it."


"One cannot without inhibiting the free development of the creative artistic endeavour prescribe how the artist should react to reality or reproduce his reactions to it. The artist is the sole judge of the "rightness" of his response. To this extent the guarantee of artistic freedom means that one must not seek to affect the manner in which the artist goes about his business, the material he selects, or the way in which he treats it, and certainly not seek to narrow the area in which he may operate or lay down general rules for the creative process." [1]


Use records of TRU

Throughout history of mankind, artists, in their chosen communicative medium, gave immediate perceptible form to what they have felt, learnt, or experienced. Artistic activity involves both the conscious and the unconscious, in a manner not rationally separable. Here are some examples for artistic freedom in action:

  • Literature: In his book entitled Mephisto, a Novel, or How to Get on in the World, Klaus Mann portrays the rise of Hendrik Höfgen, a talented actor who in order to make a career for himself as an artist in collusion with Nazi powers, is false to his true political leanings and rides roughshod over all human and ethical considerations. The model for Hendrik Höfgen was the actor Gustaf Gründgens, one of the Hamburger Kammerspieler in the 1920s, when he was a friend of Klaus Mann and briefly married to his sister Erika. In August 1963 Klaus Mann announced the publication of Mephisto, and suit was brought by the adoptive son and sole heir of Gustaf Gründgens, who died in October 1963. [1]
  • Music: In her manifesto "you can't say "fuck" in radio free america" [2] Patti Smith states: "We believe in the total freedom of communication and we will not be compromised. The censorship of words is as meaningless as the censorship of musical notes; we cannot tolerate either. Freedom means exactly that: no limits, no boundaries...rock and roll is not a colonial power to be exploited, told what to say and how to say it."
  • Sculpture: In their project "Nikeground - rethinking space"[3] , Austrian artists [4] use the name and the logo of a shoe manufacturer for a monument on a square in Vienna. After several weeks, the shoe manufacturer withdraws the case against the art project [5]


  Nature of TRU

Legally supported, but in different regions, is and has been effected by political and/or business influences.


Benefits of TRU

Mankind benefits by this TRU, since art is essential for the development of society and for the balance of public power.

Systems wishing to suppress the freedom of expression are negatively affected by this TRU.


Possible digital support

  • Creative Commons Sampling License [6]



  • Reasonable Copyright
  • Hardware and software tools (e.g. text editors, image editing software,...) that enable artists to manipulate (e.g. edit, quote, copy, combine,...) material (e.g. text, picture, audio, video,... DM content) without any restrictions

8. References [1] - BVerfGE 30, 173 Federal Constitutional Court (First Division), 24 February 1971, translated by Professor Basil Markesinis
[2] - "you can't say "fuck" in radio free america", Patti Smith 1977
[3] - Nikeground
[4] -
[5] - Public Netbase, Pressrelease 2004
[6] - Creative Commons Sampling License