UPCOMING EVENT: Theme Parks, Treasure Hunters, and Tribal Icons: World Heritage in an Age of Globalization.
The event is co-sponsored by the NYU Center for Ancient Studies and the College of Arts and Science Dean’s Office.
Jurow Lecture Hall, New York University, 100 Washington Square East (enter at 32 Waverly Place).
6:30 pm lecture, reception to follow.
This illustrated lecture will describe today’s disturbing, bizarre, sometimes tragi-comic landscape of World Heritage attractions—dug up by archaeologists, heavily promoted by would-be tourist magnates, and enabled through such international marketing promotions as “The New Seven Wonders of the World” and the UNESCO World Heritage list. Cultural tourism has all to often become just another entertainment alternative in an age when Indiana Jones has become the AIA’s fundraising icon and developing countries desperately strip mine their archaeological resources in a quest to attract high-end adventure tourists to earn hard foreign currency. This lecture will present anecdotes and telling examples of how the past is being supersized and trivialized from Mongolia to Mali to Machu Picchu and how archaeologists are all too often knowingly—or unknowingly—complicit in the creation of this vast global theme park of the past.
What are the legal ramifications of the practice of restoring a work to the point that the original materials are proportionately less than the new, restoration materials? How does this threaten the authenticity of the work? How does this affect the copyright in the work when copies can be easily made (e.g., digital works)? Will the Museums and conservators have to ask permission from the copyright owner to make such a replica or perform such restoration work? What if the artist doesn't want their work restored? Could the artists' unwanted alteration of a work (even if to preserve it for later generations) violate VARA?
Article continues at http://www.observer.com/2009/culture/copy-wait-dont-whitney-ponders-problem-replication-modern-art?page=0
(AP, Nov 24): "Google is documenting Iraq's national museum and will post photographs of its ancient treasures on the Internet early next year, Google chief Eric Schmidt announced Tuesday...Schmidt, who toured the museum with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill on Tuesday, said it was important for the world to see Iraq's rich heritage and contribution to world culture." http://www.google.com/
This is absolutely marvelous and I am looking forward to them tackling the problem of locating the art and archives displaced during World War II.
Go to http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/artist-arrested-for-42nd-time-this-time-on-the-high-line/
Both winning papers will be published in the 2010 Yearbook of Cultural Property Law. The finalist paper, “Complying with NAGPRA’s Pesticide Provision: A ” by Lydia Grunstra of will also be published in the next issue of the Yearbook.
For more information, see: For complete details, please see: http://www.lootedart.com/web_images/news/artlaw%20brochure.pdf
If you would like to learn about the 1st Instute, please visit:
Jennifer Anglim Kreder, an Associate Professor of Law at NKU Chase College of Law, focuses in restitution claims for Nazi-stolen artwork. Her current research involves prior adjudication claims by museums to effectively bar potential claims for restitution for illegally acquired artwork during WWII and the Holocaust.
The issue of these claims lies in disputes over questionable title, statute of limitations and prior adjudication. After the Nazi rise to power in Germany in 1933 and subsequent persecution of Jews (codified by the 1935 Nuremberg Laws), artwork owned by Jews was left behind, stolen outright, or sold at often unfair market prices due to boycotts, inducement or other forms of persecution. The legal weight of the current claims to the artwork would involve arguments of invalid title because the property was transferred illegality via theft or duress.
Prof. Kreder has traced such disputes arising in the U.S since 2004, the majority of which have been dismissed on the grounds of a run on the statute of limitation and/or prior adjudication claims made by the current "possessors" of the property (for the most part museums). A Michigan court, for example, dismissed a restitution claim on the grounds that the statute of limitations ran in 1941 (which can be viewed as the height of Nazi conquest in Europe), three years after the property was allegedly stolen. Prof Kreder fears that because of rulings like this and museums' bringing prior adjudication claims against claimants (often Holocaust survivors), opportunities for proper investigation into the historical record of the title to the artwork will be lost since potential claimants will be put in the position of defending against these pleadings without necessary time or resources.
One goal Prof. Kreder hopes to accomplish with her research is to take these claims out of the hands of the courts, which she argues lack the necessary historical education to fairly adjudicate these claims. Instead, she hopes to that measures involving more historical research (including, but not limited, to the 1998 Washington Principles) will set up more fair and efficient fora for the proper resolution of these disputes.
Dr. Lucille Roussin, who founded and heads Cardozo's Holocaust Claims Restitution Practicum, was on hand at the discussion to provide insight into this complicated area of law.
A Case in Antiquities for ‘Finders Keepers’
Zahi Hawass regards the Rosetta Stone, like so much else, as stolen property languishing in exile. “We own that stone,” he told Al Jazeera, speaking as the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The British Museum does not agree — at least not yet. But never underestimate Dr. Hawass when it comes to this sort of custody dispute. He has prevailed so often in getting pieces returned to what he calls their “motherland” that museum curators are scrambling to appease him.
To keep reading go to http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/science/17tier.html?_r=2&ref=science
‘Copyright and Cultural Institutions’ Will Assist Cultural Heritage Institutions
ITHACA, N.Y. (Oct. 29, 2009) – How can cultural heritage institutions legally use the Internet to improve public access to the rich collections they hold?
"Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums,” a new book published today by Cornell University Library, can help professionals at these institutions answer that question.
Based on a well-received Australian manual written by Emily Hudson and Andrew T. Kenyon of the University of Melbourne, the book has been developed by Cornell University Library’s senior policy advisor Peter B. Hirtle, along with Hudson and Kenyon, to conform to American law and practice.
The development of new digital technologies has led to fundamental changes in the ways that cultural institutions fulfill their public missions of access, preservation, research, and education. Many institutions are developing publicly accessible Web sites that allow users to visit online exhibitions, search collection databases, access images of collection items, and in some cases create their own digital content. Digitization, however, also raises the possibility of copyright infringement. It is imperative that staff in libraries, archives, and museums understand fundamental copyright principles and how institutional procedures can be affected by the law.
“Copyright and Cultural Institutions” was written to assist understanding and compliance with copyright law. It addresses the basics of copyright law and the exclusive rights of the copyright owner, the major exemptions used by cultural heritage institutions, and stresses the importance of “risk assessment” when conducting any digitization project. Case studies on digitizing oral histories and student work are also included.
Hirtle is the former director of the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections, and the book evolved from his recognition of the need for such a guide when he led museum and library digitization projects. After reading Hudson and Kenyon’s Australian guidelines, he realized that an American edition would be invaluable to anyone contemplating a digital edition.
Anne R. Kenney, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University, noted: “The Library has a long tradition of making available to other professionals the products of its research and expertise. I am delighted that this new volume can join the ranks with award-winning library publications on digitization and preservation.”
As an experiment in open-access publishing, the Library has made the work available in two formats. Print copies of the work are available from CreateSpace, an Amazon subsidiary. In addition, the entire text is available as a free download through eCommons, Cornell University’s institutional repository, and from SSRN.com, which already distributes the Australian guidelines.
Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums by Peter B. Hirtle, Emily Hudson, and Andrew T. Kenyon. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Library, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-935995-10-7. Price: $39.95. Available for purchase at https://www.createspace.com/3405063, and for free download at: <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1495365> and <http://hdl.handle.net/1813/14142>. It is also available for purchase at Amazon.com, at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0935995102/tag=corneunivelib-20>.
Brown Bag Lunch with Alice Segal – November 11, 2009
Alice Segal is an immigration specialist with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security. Although an immigration specialist seems an unlikely guest speaker for the Cardozo Art Law Society, Segal has been assigned to Cultural Property and Art Law investigations. Although it’s not the Thomas Crown Affair, the work does involve rather intriguing cases of international art theft.
Art Law investigations occur when works with dubious provenance are found crossing the U.S. border. Segal lends investigative support for these investigations. This support involves interpreting criminal statutes to find power to investigate and interpreting treaties to determine what obligations the U.S. government has in regard to recovered works. Segal also helps draft “hold harmless agreements” to prevent liability for damage to the works while in the care of the U.S. government.
One interesting case was resolved at the beginning of November. A Jewish Bible had been published in Venice around the year 1516. By the early 20th century, ownership of the Bible had transferred to the Jewish Community of Vienna. In 1938, the Bible was seized by the Gestapo and taken to the Berlin archives. After World War II, it was transported to Switzerland. Then in 2008 it was brought to the United States and put up for auction. An agent at ICE, experienced with items lost during the Holocaust, noticed the Bible in the catalogue and ICE became involved. It has now been returned to the Jewish Community of Vienna. Segal noted that, as with this case, most of these art investigations are resolved without criminal charges or civil penalties. A rare example of art experts, Government officials and immigration lawyers working together to do the right thing.
The press release from ICE can be found here: http://www.ice.gov/pi/nr/0911/091109newyork.htm
Another recent press release from ICE regarding other recovered cultural property: http://www.ice.gov/pi/nr/0906/090601newyork.htm
For information on art theft, visit the Art Loss Register: https://www.artloss.com/content/home
Deaccessioning Museum Works
New York Legislative Assemblyman Richard Brodsky came to the Cardozo School of Law on October 9, 2009 to discuss the issue of deaccessioning, a hot topic in the art world. In the ‘financial crisis’, museums in New York and around the world are selling off works in order to maintain funds. In one of the more publicized local instances, Brandeis University attempted to sell its entire Rose Collection. The President of the Rose Art Museum said that, given the recession, “we had no choice.” Two donors of works have initiated an action against the University, and the litigation is still pending.
In December 2008, the Board of Regents adopted emergency measures to help regulate this deaccessioning phenomenon. On March 17, 2009, a new Bill (A06959) was introduced by in the New York State Assembly that would install more permanent regulations. Brodsky is the sponsor of the Bill.
The Bill would require each collecting institution to adopt and publish a binding collection management policy and mission statement. Acquired items that are consistent with the mission statement must be accessioned to the collection, and the institution must publish a register of all items in the collection. Generally speaking, an item may only be deaccessioned if it no longer fits within the scope of the mission statement. If an item is successfully deaccessioned, proceeds from its disposal may only be used to acquire another item for the collection and/or for the preservation of items in the collection.
It seems wrong for lawmakers to be making largely artistic choices on the behalf of cultural institutions, but Brodsky argues that the Bill would not enable legislative authorities to make such choices. Instead, he insists that the lawmakers are only requiring public disclosure of a clear mission statement. Within that mission, the museums are largely autonomous. If a work is not within the statement, it may be deaccessioned. If the museum wants to alter its statement so that it no longer encompasses certain works, then it must do so publicly. Collections are held in the public trust, Brodsky argues, and they must be maintained for the public benefit. The impetus driving this Bill is the fear that institutions will sell works to keep the doors open, and institutions will be left with open doors and no paintings.
However, Brodsky admitted that he did not know how real or imminent the dangers were of these museums going bankrupt. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been one of the biggest critics of the Bill, and it seems difficult to argue that the Met should not be able to sell some of the works that have been sitting in its vault for decades in order to raise money. Even if such a work were to fall outside of the mission statement and could be deaccessioned, it would not be of much benefit if the proceeds of the disposal could only be used to acquire new works. There’s always the danger that if certain works can’t be sold, these institutions will be left with lots of paintings but closed doors. The debate continues.
Initial News of Lawsuit:
Current Sublime Website:
With the tech industry looking on, the Supreme Court today will explore what types of inventions should be eligible for a patent in a pivotal case that could undermine such legal protections for software.
A ruling that sides with the Patent Office could bar patents on processes and methods of doing business, such as online shopping techniques, medical diagnostic tests and procedures for executing trades on Wall Street. And it might even undercut patents on software.
In a worst-case scenario for the high-tech industry, the ruling could invalidate many existing software patents or at least make them more difficult to defend in lawsuits. And it could make such patents harder to obtain in the future because software is generally patented as a process for doing something rather than as a physical invention.
"Technology companies care about this case, because it will define what you can and cannot get a patent on," said Emery Simon, counselor to the Business Software Alliance, which represents large technology companies, including Microsoft and Intel.
It's impossible to know what products might never have come to market without patent protection for software. But tech companies say these patents have played a critical role in keeping the U.S. at the cutting edge by giving people control over their inventions for nearly 20 years.
That day, in years ago, federal agents taped a live microphone to my chest. I pulled my shirt on and together we waited for the pothunter to arrive at the museum. I was the museum's director, and the pothunter was coming to see me.
The young man had heard rumors of valuable Mimbres-culture pots and where to find them. Tempted by a fast fortune, he grabbed a shovel and went exploring on federal land. Having some luck, he called the museum to discuss getting an appraisal of his find. I answered the phone and, as luck would have it, sitting next to me in my office was an armed drinking coffee.
"A federal judge on Thursday ordered a Santa Cruz company to immediately quit selling Beatles and other music on its online site, setting aside a preposterous argument that it had copyrights on songs via a process called “psycho-acoustic simulation.”"
Pleadings are up on the website too.
Bulgaria's new law on cultural heritage is about to face one of its first tests in the prosecution of Dimitar Draganov, a professor in numismatics from the town of Rousse on the Danube.
On , (BNT) said that prosecutors had accused Draganov of participation in an organised crime group specialising in illegal treasure hunting, intending to profit from selling archaeological findings.
The case is notable because it is the first time that a professor esteemed as an expert in numismatics has been accused of such a crime. The news came two weeks after the new law's deadline expired for all holders of archaeological findings to register them in court.
While the United States and Iran heatedly battle over nuclear
disarmament on the world stage, they joined forces last week before the
7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court heard arguments on Oct. 26 in a case asking whether the Field
Museum in Chicago and the University of Chicago must give up artifacts
purportedly owned by Iran as compensation for victims of a terrorist
bombing allegedly sponsored by Iran. The U.S. government as amicus
curiae sided with Iran in an effort to overturn a trial court ruling
backing the victims' efforts to seize the artifacts.
"The questions of foreign sovereign immunity at issue in this case are
ones of significant interest to the United States," Sharon Swingle, an
attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, said in oral arguments.
"They have an impact not just in this case obviously, but in all
litigation involving foreign states in U.S. courts and also have a
ramification for the treatment of the U.S. in foreign courts abroad."
The case grew out of a 2003 default judgment in the U.S. District Court
for the District of Columbia, which found Iran liable for $71 million in
damages caused by a 1997 terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. Subsequently,
victims filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois seeking to seize the artifacts as payment.
Last week Iran was appealing a 2008 decision by the lower court to
reconsider an earlier decision forcing Iran to list its U.S. assets and
a 2006 decision that only Iran, and not a third party, can seek to
shield its assets from the default judgment. Iran stayed out of the case
until the 2006 ruling, but afterward hired Thomas Corcoran Jr. of
Washington, D.C.-based Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe. He declined to