Catching Up

  • Frank Pasquale of Concurring Opinions talks about how the difference between viewing a digital reproduction on the internet is much less effective than viewing a photograph in person, and perhaps this is a good argument for strong IP protection of works of art.
  • Michael Lewis in Commentary magazine talks about efforts by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation to compile a stolen art database of works taken from Prussia. Many of them are now in Russia, where they were removed after WWII.
  • Stephen Farrell of the NY Times reports on Baghdad hiring dozens of artists to paint murals on concrete barriers in the city.
  • Bradley Hope of the New York Sun reported on a ceremony to return an ancient Egyptian vessel which appeared in a Christie’s auction last year.
  • David Gill on looting matters compares archaeologists to animal rights activists; one would hope that not too many archaeologists take their ideas too far as some animal rights activists have done.
Questions or Comments? Email me at

3 thoughts on “Catching Up”

  1. Can I suggest you have missed the point of my comment? Some academics who are sympathetic to the market have compared archaeologists who speak out over the issue of looting to animal rights activists. I do not think the comparison holds — and which is why I have written about it.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. You are right I think that some have compared the illicit trade in antiquities to the trade in endangered species.

    I’m not sure it’s too productive to just compare the rhetoric and approaches of the two groups as you rightly point out. What is more useful, and which is what some have done is to compare the legal protections for endangered species to that of cultural property.

    The 1970 UNESCO Convention really shows its cracks when we compare it to a treaty like CITES, which has a tiered approach, is far less controversial, and seems to have been far more successful. That’s what I’m arguing in my thesis at least.

  3. Language is emotive. And the language of ‘animal rights’ is being used. A further line is taken by John H. Merryman who uses the language of ‘Crusade’ to describe those who speak out about looting.

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