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Forgery of a belt buckle from the Merovingian era in the Archaeological State Museum, Gottorf Castle (2011)

As counterfeiting or forgery is called deceptively produced or edited items and information . Branded products are often counterfeited by copying an original or a legally protected product in all its properties, materials, signatures and trademarks in such a way that it appears like the original. Products from a certain manufacturer, artist, politician or writer that were invented by the forger also fall into this category.

Subjects and objects

There are counterfeits in many areas. In history , but also in other sciences , objects, documents or data are forged. In the arts , counterfeit art is primarily used for financial gain and recognition. An example from the literature is BJ Macpherson's Fragments of ancient poetry, collected in the highlands of Scotland , which was passed off as the alleged work of Ossian in 1760 . Forgeries are used for propaganda or associative purposes in journalism and politics. The apparently truthful photography is falsified , among other things, with image processing programs . The English term fake is symptomatic of internet culture .

A wide variety of objects are counterfeited. Examples are the forgery of documents such as forgery of ID cards or for the implementation of political goals as an election forgery . Maps are also forged for political and military reasons. The Donation of Constantine and the pseudoisidoric decretals are known historically . Antiques are imitated from inexpensive materials with aging effects and are sold as old and expensive. The widespread counterfeiting of branded goods falls under the term product piracy . Health damage for the user arises from the trade in counterfeit drugs , which are ineffective or often even hazardous to health. Spare parts for vehicles or electronic devices that are counterfeited or sold under false labeling can impair their operational safety or function. Frequent victims are also collectors who are lured with apparently inexpensive offers and pay dearly for counterfeit objects. For religious reasons, relics were forged in the Middle Ages , in that real body parts of indefinite origin were passed off as supposedly coming from saints. Counterfeiting means of payment promises immediate material benefit ; In addition to counterfeit money and shares, counterfeit stamps are also brought into circulation. One preventive measure is to prevent counterfeiting through security features; that in turn is a challenge for the next generation of counterfeiters.

Imitations and replicas do not count as counterfeits as long as they are marked as such. Plagiarism falls into a gray area and is illegal under trademark law.

Counterfeiting in the media

Not only media consumers but also media makers sometimes fall for fakes. Examples are the Hitler Diaries of the star , the apparent documentaries that Michael Born for Star TV, Spiegel TV Magazine, ZAK and other television media had delivered, or the alleged interviews with Hollywood stars that Tom Kummer in the Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine placed. The story of the forged Hitler diaries by Konrad Kujau was published under the title Schtonk! filmed.

As a mockumentary (of English: to mock (pretend mock, make fun) and documentary) are referred fictional, often parodying documentaries. One example is the supposed documentary Kubrick, Nixon and the man in the moon , which is supposed to prove the claim that the American moon landings were faked by director Stanley Kubrick in the film studio. Orson Welles caused a stir as early as 1938 when he produced a radio play based on HG Wells' War of the Worlds . The radio play was presented like a report, and listeners who missed the explanatory introduction thought it was a true account of an invasion of Mars.

Newspaper ducks or invented facts are a special form of falsification of content , and more and more fake news . In December 2018, the magazine Der Spiegel uncovered the falsifications of its own editor and multiple award-winning journalist Claas Relotius .

Forgeries in art

The high profits to be made on the art market continue to encourage counterfeiting . However, since the visual arts began to analyze their artistic means in the 20th century and to question the authenticity of their works of art, the concept of forgery has been redefined in the artistic sense. The works of Marcel Duchamp , and later Andy Warhol or Sigmar Polke, question the relationship between the original and the copy in a new way. If Duchamp imports manufactured goods from everyday life into the art context with his readymades , existing pictures are re-exhibited by artists such as Richard Prince or Sherrie Levine and the forgeries themselves are declared works of art.

Forgeries in archeology

Forgeries in this area include, for example, the Prillwitz idols as alleged Slavic, prehistoric bronze figures, which were not made until the second half of the 18th century, as well as the Piltdown finds from 1912. They misled research into early human tribal history and were only exposed as a forgery in 1953. From March 23 to September 9, 2018, the LWL Museum of Archeology in Herne showed numerous archaeological forgeries and errors from Europe in a special exhibition, including the tiara of the Saitaphernes, the unicorn from Quedlinburg and a fake relief of the deity Mercury .

Food counterfeiting

Consumer protection associations and the media use the term food counterfeiting for the use of substitutes and extenders in the production of food.

More known fakes

Known forgers

Falsification of a Luther autograph in an incunabulum by Duns Scotus by Hermann Kyrieleis. Princeton University Library. "27 September 1528 Martinus Luther" (approx. 1893/96)

Legal meaning

The following falsifications are criminal offenses in Germany :

The role of the internet and digitization

Advances in digital technologies (see Digital Revolution ) mean that better and better counterfeits can be made and sold. Such counterfeits can lead to considerable economic damage. This applies to both art forgeries and trademark infringements . Even if they are labeled as reproductions or replicas, legal disputes can arise, as in the case of Rolex 2004 .

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: forgery  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Falsified  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Kurt Brunner, In the service of the Soviet power. Confidentiality and falsification of cards in the USSR and GDR , Frithjof Voss Foundation, accessed on October 30, 2018
  2. Roland Söker: Martians in Grover's Mill! - The wondrous world of media fakes . Deutschlandfunk, May 26, 2013.
  3. ^ Fake documentary about North Korea: The Supreme Leader of New Zealand , Spiegel Online, April 18, 2013, last accessed on May 26, 2013.
  4. ^ Susanna Partsch : Tatort Kunst, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2010, pp. 127–145, ISBN 978-3-406-60621-2 .
  5. ^ The art copy as a new original - When repetition is art , Mercedes Bunz: Artnet, December 15, 2005, accessed on July 8, 2013.
  6. Errors and forgeries in archeology, exhibition Herne 2018 , accessed on November 28, 2019
  7. Hamburg Consumer Center: List of food plagiarism ( Memento from October 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  8. adulteration: adulteration, stretch, umdeklarieren , report of Germany radio on April 9, 2019
  9. When honey is stretched with sugar syrup, November 9, 2015
  10. a b Klaus Graf : “To my dear friend Jos Ernst”. January 19, 2016, accessed January 20, 2016 .
  11. Autographs, Chapter 5, Caveat emptor. JA Stargardt, Autographenhandlung, accessed January 20, 2016 . ( Direct link PDF. (PDF) Retrieved on January 20, 2016 . )
  12. Martin Hollender: The Berlin Germanist and theater scholar Max Herrmann (1865-1942): Life and work . Berlin State Library , Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-88053-184-0 .
  13. An unheard of fraud with Luther autographs . In: Central Journal for Libraries . 1896, p. 510-512 . ( Digitized at DigiZeitschriften. Retrieved on January 20, 2016 . )
  14. Anton Vollert : The trial for the fraudulent production of Schiller's manuscripts against the architect and geometer Georg Heinrich Karl Jakob Victor von Gerstenbergk zu Weimar . In: Sheets for the administration of justice in Thuringia and Anhalt . Supplement No. 2, 1856. ( Digitalisat. HAAB Weimar , accessed on January 20, 2016 . )
  15. ^ Nils Graefe: Die Landeskriminaler. Expert for art forgeries from the LKA. (Welzheimer Zeitung, June 16, 2014. Online .)
  16. Broadcast on Arte on March 30, 2019: Leonardo da Vinci: The Secret of the Beautiful Princess ( Memento of the original from April 1, 2019 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /