This course will examine laws, legal principles and special policy issues relevant to the legal treatment of art and cultural heritage. A detailed class schedule, with reading assignments and guest speaker information, will be handed out at the first class and posted to the courseweb. In this course we will examine the following general subjects and issues:
Art Dealers, Auctioneers and the Art Market. We will study the legal definitions of and relationships among art dealers, auctioneers, collectors and other players in the art market.
Authenticity and Quality. What are the legal ramifications - civil and criminal - when works of art and cultural heritage are alleged to be fake, forged, or otherwise not in conformance with represented attributes and characteristics?
Title and Theft: Given that works of art and cultural heritage often have high monetary value and/or intangible cultural significance, they are often the objects of theft and fraud. We will examine the civil and criminal laws applicable to the recovery of stolen art and cultural heritage, as well as different legal approaches that have been adopted in the US and abroad.
Museums. There is vigorous debate, and much litigation, in the art world at present over the circumstances, if any, under which museums or non-profits ought to buy or sell art.
War, Art and Cultural Heritage. Using World War II and the Iraq war as examples, we will focus attention on special issues and considerations present when looting and theft of art and cultural heritage takes place in time of and in the aftermath of war.
International Cultural Heritage Issues. U.S. museums have entered into agreements with foreign nations to settle disputes concerning antiquities and archaeological objects in the context of claims that those objects were stolen and illegally taken.
United States Archaeological Resources. We will discuss the cultural heritage regulatory scheme in the US, including the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, and various statutes applicable to domestic archaeological material and cultural heritage. If there is time and class interest, we will consider the Abandoned Shipwreck Act and issues arising out of underwater archaeology and salvage .
Native Cultural Heritage. We will examine issues relating to the cultural heritage of indigenous people and the pervasive problems of looting and theft from Native American sites in the United States.
Students are required to do a total of 5 short papers (of approximately 1600 words each) for five different seminar classes. The papers are due no later than 2:00 pm on the Friday before we meet as a class on Monday. Further instructions relating to the short papers will be posted to the courseweb and discussed on the first day of class. The short papers are to be based on the reading assignment for that week and do not require outside reading.
Attendance and the quality of participation and leadership in class discussion will constitute in total 15% of the final grade.