Six of one, half a dozen of the other? Comparing two Art Law Resources
By Jennie Nadel
New Kid on the Block
Getting the Deal Through (GTDT) is a London-based website that provides users with updates on laws and regulations, published by Law Business Research and a number of other publications. The website, managed by Law Business Research Limited (http://lbresearch.com/), solicits lawyers and law firms from around the world to synthesize legal information.
Their research platform can be useful for a variety of audiences including law firms, universities, regulators, and corporate counsel providing assistance to legal query. Currently, GTDT covers information on 150 countries across 90 practice areas with an audience of around 200,000 including in-house and private practice lawyers. The practice areas span a wide variety of topics including acquisition finance, commercial contracts, copyright, intellectual property & antitrust, mergers & acquisitions, patents, and more. The website content is organized by practice area, then jurisdiction. Information is presented as responses to series of Q&A to help users find information and is designed to take complex subjects and strip them down into understandable summaries. Each practice area is developed by a contributing editor and a leading practitioner in the field. The website offers a compare tool that allows users to make comparisons of the same practice area but in different regions of the world, which is especially handy for those interested in the international exchange of art. It also contains updated information and trends for each country at the bottom of the page.
In 2018, GTDT launched a new page for Art Law practice. This resource is edited by Pierre Valentin, partner at Constantine Cannon LLP in charge of the Art & Cultural Property Law Group practice. The Art Law practice area page posits 49 questions with 12 sets of answers available corresponding to 12 countries such as China, Turkey, France, Switzerland, and the United States, including both California and New York. These questions range from the most common subjects surrounding the buying and selling of art to queries of cultural patrimony, museums, auctions, etc. The answers given for “The United States – New York” page are offered by Amelia Brankov, counsel at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.
2nd ed. The Art Collecting Legal Handbook
GTDT’s Art Law Q&A’s are akin to the 2013 and 2016 editions of the “The Art Collecting Legal Handbook” the reference book edited by Bruno Boesch and Massimo Sterpi. The 2013 Handbook was designed to help the collector navigate art collections in an international framework and offered a useful introduction to art law themes for a number of countries including Argentina, Greece, Israel, Japan, and Mexico. While art collecting and preservation has become increasingly transnational, legal frameworks and practices remain fairly local. The book addresses these issues with the aim to provide collectors with knowledge on a wide array of jurisdictions. The United States – New York section of the Handbook was compiled by Ambre Nérinck-Seltzer, attorney at Nerinck Seltzer Law as well as John Charles Thomas, attorney and former Supreme Court Justice of Virginia.
How do the two resources compare?
The 2018 GTDT art law resource is similar to the information provided in the Boesch/Sterpi Handbook. They both use the Q&A style format; however, the 2013 Handbook book includes fewer questions – , only 32 – and thus fewer answers, while the online resource contains 49. The answers vary in length depending on the nature of the question and its relevance to the country.
Both the GTDT website and 2013 Handbook contain a fair amount of overlap in terms of questions. For example, both explore the need to conduct due diligence on behalf of the seller, laws regarding fakes and forgeries, protection against Holocaust-based claims, copyright, and tax import and export laws. One point of departure is that the 2013 Handbook seems to contain more pointed questions surrounding repatriation of art works and restitution claims. Furthermore, the Handbook helpfully creates subject headings before questions to more easily navigate the various topics including: cultural heritage and the art market, purchase and export, sale, art philanthropy, tax, etc. The Handbook also consists of a list of information and references such as principal laws and regulations, law enforcement authorities, as well as a few collector and trade associations.
As some of the materials in the 2013 Handbook, now 5 years later, may be outdated, a second edition from 2016 is available. The market value of the original 2013 Handbook retails for $150 on Amazon. The 2nd edition is only $106.55 (plus shiping).
By contrast, the GTDT offers its materials for free during a brief trial period, though this is not available for individual students. Individuals interested in the content long-term need to create a single-user account with a company email address. For companies, organizations, or law schools interested in using the website, price is available upon inquiry. Lastly, for 2-month unlimited access to all content, the price is $850.
Overall both the website and the Handbook offer similar information in the Q&A-style format, answering basic art law questions. The pros of GTDT include the comparison tool to quickly contrast the same question from one country to the next and the accessibility of an online format with the inclusion of many other legal practice areas and jurisdictions besides art law. The Handbook requires only a single payment to own the book; however, it cannot be updated like a website can. It might be more cost effective as it retails for $150 rather than a 2-month access available for $850. However, those with a work email can take advantage of GTDT’S free in-house counsel. One of the features available in the Handbook is a list of resources and references to each country’s law and government authorities as well as collector and trade associations relevant to that specific country. Lastly, the Handbook offers legal advice for 21 countries while GTDT only offers 12 (though not all of the 12 countries listed in GTDT are available in the handbook).
* * *
The Center for Art Law is pleased to note that contributors to both of the resources have participated in our past events. Massimo Sterpi, one of the co-editors of the The Art Collecting Legal Handbook, was our distinguished speaker at a program held at Ascent Contemporary Projects on November 15, 2014. Amelia Brankov, one of the contributors to the 2018 GTDT resource, spoke at the Center for Art Law Summer 2017 program on negotiating contracts between artists and galleries.
- Bruno Boesch and Massimo Sterpi, eds., The Art Collecting Legal Handbook (2016), available at on Amazon
- Bruno Boesch and Massimo Sterpi, eds., The Art Collecting Legal Handbook (2013), available on Amazon
- Pierre Valentin, ed., Getting the Deal Through: Art Law, available at here.
About the Author: Jennie Nadel is a Summer 2018 intern at the Center for Art Law. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2018 majoring in History of Art with a double minor in Museums & Society and Visual Arts. She will be pursuing her M.A. in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute in the Fall.