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March 2016

Five Charged with Selling Non-Genuine Alaskan Native Artworks On March 3, 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Alaska charged five individuals with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Four business owners and an employee were accused of selling fraudulent native artworks at shops in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway, Alaska. The whale and walrus bone carvings were misrepresented as artworks carved by Alaska Natives artists. Not only were these items produced by non-Native Alaskan artists, but one of the works at issue was allegedly manufactured in Cambodia. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt noted that “Congress adopted the [Indian Arts and Crafts Act] as a “truth-in-marketing law” and such misrepresentations and practices are unacceptable. The maximum penalty for violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation Seventh Annual Conference On March 25, 2016, the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP) co-sponsored its Seventh Annual Conference with the Fordham Art Law Society. The conference, titled Looted Art and Cultural Property; Current Controversies, Future Resolutions was held at the Fordham University School of Law in New York, NY. The conference featured the following panels:

  • The Parthenon/Elgin Marbles: New Perspectives on a Centuries-Old Dispute, moderated by Leila Amineddoleh;
  • Recent Developments in Cultural Heritage Restitution Cases: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?, moderated by Elizabeth Varner;
  • Conflict-Related Looting and Destruction of Cultural Property: Is Current Policy Working?, moderated by Channah Norman; and
  • What is Digital Cultural Heritage and What Can It Do?, moderated by Thomas Kline.
    More information about the event, including speaker names and short bios, may be found on the conference website.

Blockchain – So Contemporary! On March 8, 2016 the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP hosted a panel about Blockchain and the arts. For those of you haven’t read David Honig’s article on digital art, blockchain is a decentralized ledger hosted on multiple servers. Blockchain has many different applications when it comes to the artistic world and the panelists discussed how it could impact the music and visual arts world.

While most of the panelists discussed the implications of blockchain to digital media Robert Norton of Verisart discussed how blockchain can be used in conjunction with physical art. This led to a question by a member of the audience, who happened to be a wine collector, about whether other technology was better suited to insure authentication in physical media since the blockchain ledger and the object are not integrated.

If you want to learn more about blockchain the event organizers host a blog, Creative Block (chain), where they report on news surrounding the blockchain and even have a primer to educated the uninitiated. DH

Door to Door Performing Art or Fake Art Scam Move over eBay, according to Malvern police in the United Kingdom, an Eastern European female has scamming people in the Pickersleigh area by knocking on doors, selling artwork (photocopies) between 10 and 15 Euros each. The Pickersleigh Safer Neighbourhood Team is advising people to remain on guard, specifically elderly or vulnerable individuals.

The crime fighters in the region are being vigilant. They want to find the predators preying on the vulnerable community members and achieve justice. The spokesperson urged, “If you have any doubt who is at your door, don’t answer it.” JP