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. We will look at the practical aspects of what it means to have an "art law" practice" focusing on the inherently interdisciplinary nature of representing collectors, dealers, artists, and others in a largely unregulated 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? Who authenticates art and cultural heritage property, what authentication methods are available and preferred, and what is the nature (and reliability) of the expertise involved? Who should be held responsible, as a matter of law and policy, for fakes and forgeries?
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. We will examine different legal approaches that have been adopted in the US and abroad, and compare how the different legal frameworks have balanced the various interests at stake - those of victims, good faith purchasers, intermediaries, governments and others.
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. We will examine the ethical and policy implications of these decisions, the legal obligations imposed in this area and the liabilities and responsibilities of museums, other educational non-profit institutions, and the governing bodies in relation to the acquisition and deaccession of objects of fine art and cultural heritage.
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. We will discuss the Hague Convention of 1954, now ratified by the UK and US, and other applicable international and domestic treaties and instruments.
International Cultural Heritage Issues. U.S. museums have entered into agreements with foreign nations to settle disputes concerning antiquities and archeological objects in the context of claims that those objects were stolen and illegally taken. We will examine the ethical and legal issues surrounding the claims of ownership, possession and the duties and responsibilities of protecting and preserving items of cultural, historical and scientific significance.
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. We will study the important cases decided before and after passage of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), such as the matter involving the so called "Kennewick man."
Attendance at all seminar sessions, including classes held on days other than Monday and at other non-Columbia venues.
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. For classes held on days other than Monday (noted on the class schedule to be handed out and posted on the courseweb) papers are due no later than 12:00 noon the day before that class. Further instructions relating to the short papers will be posted to the courseweb and discussed on the first day of class. All papers and discussion topics are to be submitted electronically to me at firstname.lastname@example.org in Word or PDF format.
The short papers are to be based on the reading assignment for that week and do not require outside reading. Papers should communicate critical reaction to the reading and subject matter and analysis of the issues. I expect and look forward to each student's contribution to class discussion every class, however, students should be prepared to answer questions and generate and lead class discussions when they have submitted a paper. Students are encouraged to include in the short papers questions and discussion topics for the class, and should be prepared to discuss the issues.
Attendance and the quality of participation and leadership in class discussion will constitute in total 15% of the final grade.
Jane A. Levine, Esq.
Worlwide Director of Compliance, SVP
1334 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021