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Law

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Art market

Senate investigation finds art market secrecy allowed Russian billionaire brothers, friends of Putin, to evade government sanctions

A detailed report calls the trade “the largest, legal unregulated industry in the United States” and recommends increased transparency and government oversight

News
Law

California may grant repatriation rights to unrecognised Native American tribes

A new state bill expands federal rights for Indigenous groups to reclaim human remains, burial objects and other sacred artefacts from institutions

News
Art crime

California man sentenced to five years in prison for $6m international art fraud scheme

Philip Righter pleaded guilty to selling works fraudulently attributed to Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, among others

News
Law

International Criminal Court trial begins of Jihadist police chief accused of destroying Timbuktu’s cultural heritage

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud is on trial for war crimes in Mali

News
Law

New York grand jury indicts Inigo Philbrick on federal fraud charges

The dealer was arrested by the FBI on the Pacific island Vanuatu last month and transferred into federal custody

News
Tutankhamun

BBC investigation uncovers legal dispute over blockbuster Tutankhamun exhibition

Lawyer says Egypt breached heritage protection laws by contracting a private company to tour the artefacts

News
Art market

Monaco court dismisses criminal case against Yves Bouvier

The Swiss art dealer had been accused of fraud and money laundering by the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev—a related case in Geneva remains active

News
Law

Heirs battle estate over $30m Monet painting from Emden collection sold during Nazi era

Le Palais Ducal is at the centre of an ownership dispute that has kept the work from coming to auction

News
Restitution

US Supreme Court agrees to hear Berlin museums' appeal in lawsuit over restitution of medieval treasures to Jewish heirs

Panel will consider museums' argument that a trial over rightful ownership of the Guelph Treasure cannot be heard in American courts

News
Law

Colour balance: painter Pat Lipsky sues over digitally ‘distorted’ images of her work

The artist says photographs of her canvas Bright Music II, offered for sale online, have been altered beyond recognition as her work

News
Australia

‘Broken’ heritage laws: Australia launches investigation after 46,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art is obliterated

Parliamentary enquiry will examine how mining giant Rio Tinto obtained legal right to destroy ancient Juukan Gorge site

News
Antiquities & Archaeology

Paris dealer who sold golden sarcophagus to New York’s Metropolitan Museum charged with fraud and money laundering

The work was returned to Egypt last year after officials were shown evidence it might have been looted during the Arab Spring in 2011

News
Russia

Russian theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov found guilty of fraud and ordered to pay $1.85m in damages to culture ministry

Accused of embezzling funds while staging a contemporary arts festival, Serebrennikov faced six years in prison but was handed a suspended sentence

News
Art market

Video, virtual hearings and 'e-bundles': how remote justice is being served in art cases during the pandemic

A focus on long-term planning and contract law are among the chief lockdown concerns

News
Censorship

'I have a 1% chance of being acquitted': Russian activist faces six years in prison for posting vagina drawings online

Police say the body-positive images, accompanied by captions like ‘Real women have body fat and it’s normal,’ violate pornography laws

News
Unions

Labour organising committee assails Philadelphia museum’s use of a ‘union avoidance’ law firm

Employees call on the museum to take a position of neutrality in any union vote

News
Antiquities

Sotheby’s cannot sue Greece over bronze horse, US court rules

The country's government had questioned the provenance of the artefact, forcing it to be pulled from a 2018 sale

News
Hong Kong

Hong Kong artists abroad launch pro-democracy platform as China's security law looms

Online project documents one year of anti-government protests in the territory and aims to rally support from international art community

News
Art market

Mary Boone released from prison early after the facility sees spike in coronavirus cases

Jailed for tax fraud, the incarcerated Manhattan dealer has been moved to a re-entry facility just under half way through her 30-month sentence

News
Disasters & destruction

Mining company Rio Tinto apologises for destruction of 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site

Blasting of two ancient rock shelters at Juukan Gorge was authorised in 2013 by Western Australia state government

News
Law

Court dismisses Cady Noland’s lawsuit against collector and dealers who conserved Log Cabin sculpture

The conceptual artist, who disavowed the work, claimed that replacing materials without her consent violated the US Visual Artists Rights Act

News
Heritage

Steve Bannon wins first major battle for medieval monastery

Italy retaliates with criminal prosecution of right-wing religious group funded by US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist

News
Art market

Convicted art fraudster Ezra Chowaiki subject of yet more legal drama

New racketeering suit against the disgraced New York art dealer, brought by a Spanish collector regarding paintings by Picasso and Léger, gets off to a mixed start

News
Art market

Gold tycoon and art collector James Stunt charged with money laundering and forgery

The former husband of heiress Petra Ecclestone denies any criminality and says he will contest all charges

Analysis
coronavirus

Can’t pay your rent? Here’s what you can do if you're a UK gallery

Coronavirus has left many art businesses struggling to pay their bills, but there are resources available to help

News
Law

New York court rules Call of Duty video game as art

The gaming publisher Activision is protected under the First Amendment to use the Humvee vehicle brand “if realism is an artistic goal"

News
Auction houses

Christie's settles $16.7m in tax claims with New York District Attorney

Manhattan prosecutors say the auction house failed to collect sales tax on $189m in private sales over five years

News
Copyright

US copyright law comes under scrutiny as new legislation makes its way before Congress

A planned new mediation system, which aims to streamline copyright breach claims in the US, has loopholes that could deny artists justice, critics say

News
Law

Supreme Court rules film-maker cannot sue North Carolina for copyright infringement

Opinion finds Congress overstepped its authority with 1990 federal statute, but allowed for a new law to "stop states from behaving as copyright pirates"

News
Collectors

Portuguese judge orders seizure of all assets owned by African art collector Isabel dos Santos in the country

Move is intended to stall the sales of stakes in multi-million-Euro companies based in Portugal

Comment
Law

The US Supreme Court’s silence on Nazi art theft fails Holocaust survivors

Last week’s decision to reject an appeal over the ownership of Picasso’s The Actor was a missed opportunity to clarify the limitations of the 2016 HEAR Act

News
Banksy

Charges dropped against South African billionaire over allegedly fraudulent Banksy deal

Martin Levick had been accused of duping an investor into lending him $3.5m for the purchase of the work

News
Law

Mary Boone sued by former director for withholding wages and ‘misappropriating’ more than $10m

The incarcerated dealer allegedly had Gagosian gallery wire millions into her personal account for the sale of a Brice Marden painting to pay off tax penalties before she went to jail

News
Law

France reconfirms that women baring their breasts in public is illegal—even for artists and protestors

Two women who are part of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen were charged for topless protests, one of which was in a Paris museum

News
Italy

Steve Bannon wins again in battle against Italian ministry of culture

President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist wants to set up a nationalist bootcamp in an Italian monastery

Analysis
Art market

When artists and galleries split, what are the legal implications?

As successful artists increasingly seek non-exclusive contracts with multiple galleries, clarity becomes critical in navigating splits between artist and gallery

News
Museums

Uffizi wins legal battle against 'cybersquatter' owner of Uffizi.com domain name

The unofficial websites were used to sell tickets to the Florentine museum at inflated prices

News
Law

New York dealer sues artist Derek Fordjour for $1.45m

Gallery owner and real estate investor Robert Blumenthal claims the artist failed to deliver seven works promised in a $20,000 deal made in 2014

News
Law

San Francisco artist sues Disney for copying her ‘tremendously cool’ painted van in Pixar film

Sweet Cecily Daniher rented her unicorn decorated vehicle to the studio for a party, only to find out its doppelganger will appear in the animated movie Onward

News
Artist estates

New York judge dismisses further counterclaims made by Robert Indiana's estate against Morgan Art Foundation

The decision made yesterday follows a similar ruling made last July in which the estate’s counterclaims of non-payment of royalties and unauthorised reproductions were dismissed

News
Museums

Tate privacy battle over viewing platform 'snooping' goes back to court

Claimant says she feels “completely exposed” in her apartment overlooked by the museum

News
Law

Artist pleads guilty to assault and harassment charges in domestic violence case

As part of plea agreement, Tobias Madison must attend a 26-week batterers’ programme and attend weekly therapy sessions to have his criminal record cleared in a year’s time

News
Nazi loot

Supreme Court delays Guelph Treasure appeal so US government can add its views to case

The German state museum agency has argued that it cannot be sued in American courts by heirs of Jewish dealers who sold the works during the Holocaust

News
Controversies

Luanda Leaks: Isabel dos Santos—who owns vast African art collection—accused of making her $2.2bn fortune by exploiting Angola

Dos Santos and her husband Sindika Dokolo own around 3,000 works by artists including William Kentridge and Zanele Muholi

News
Art crime

Why do courts lack conviction in art cases?

Collapse of Bulmer theft case is just the latest in string of failed art-related convictions

News
Art market

Tough UK anti-money laundering law comes into force tomorrow—here's what you need to know

The lawyer Kenneth Mullen offers advice to art dealers, agents and galleries who could be unprepared for the hastily enforced new regulations

News
Restitution

New evidence cited in restitution claim for Panama Papers Modigliani

Dealer Oscar Stettiner’s grandson says painting, now owned by David Nahmad, was looted by Nazis

News
Art market

'A victory of justice over big money': criminal case against art dealer Yves Bouvier dismissed by Monaco court

Verdict is likely to have a domino effect on all other cases filed by Russian billionaire collector Dmitry Rybolovlev

News
Art market

Judicial review of UK Ivory Act rejected

After months of fundraising to bring legal action, judge dismisses antiques trade's objections to upcoming ban

News
Law

Who really owns this Schiele watercolour Portrait of the Artist's Wife?

A three-way battle is brewing in New York courts as the heirs of two Holocaust victims take on the work’s current owner

News
Law

A 13-year fight over cardboard: Kippenberger restoration drama finally comes to a close

Inadvertent damage to paintings’ frames triggered a drawn-out, multi-million dollar lawsuit

News
Art market

US House of Representatives passes an anti-money laundering bill that could affect art and antiquities dealers

Introduced in March, the Counter Act is the latest legislation that faces dealers with financial regulatory burden

News
Forgeries

Hollywood executive Ron Meyer files $10m lawsuit over alleged forged Rothko

The NBCUniversal vice chairman and co-founder of Creative Artists Agency claims two art dealers duped him into buying the fake painting for nearly $1m in 2001

News
Art market

Passions run high as UK's controversial Ivory Act challenged in court

Antiques trade fought for judicial review of proposed ban, due to come into force in the coming months, but draft judgement will not be made until 31 October

News
Opioid Crisis

Nan Goldin brings Pain to Purdue Pharma bankruptcy hearings in New York

Demonstrators at the White Plains courthouse kept up the pressure to hold Sackler family accountable in opioid crisis, as a $10bn settlement hangs in the balance

News
Art crime

Money laundering, trafficking, ivory: crackdown on art crime intensifies

Wave of sentencing and changes in legislation puts pressure on art world

News
Law

Letter calls attention to domestic assault allegations against Swiss artist

Signatories have asked New York's Swiss Institute to address “troubling claims” about an artist included in current group show

News
Artist estates

How to make the most of an artist’s estate

Four takeaways from the Institute for Artists’ Estates’ Los Angeles workshop

News
Banksy

The full story behind Banksy's pop-up shop in Croydon

Street artist has created merchandise range from disco balls made from riot police helmets to hand-stitched welcome mats

Archive
Law

Italy sues for return of antique pottery which they claim to own under national law because they are objects of archaeological interest.

The US has filed a complaint in a federal district court to determine who owns 230 antiquities produced in ancient Italian pottery workshops

News
Law

Art history professor Gary Xu Gang accused of sexual assault and rape by two former students

Plaintiffs' lawyer says sexual harassment of university students remains an 'epidemic' despite the progress of the #MeToo movement

News
US politics

Experts fear California's gig economy law may hit culture workers

Independent curators and handlers could be affected but no major changes predicted in museum recruitment practices

News
USA

Sackler family agrees to give up 'entire value' of Purdue Pharma in bid to settle opioid cases

But state attorneys general predict an imminent bankruptcy filing as settlement talks break down

News
Law

Families express frustration over trial outcome in California's Ghost Ship fire

Acquittal for one man and deadlock on another shifts focus to pending civil lawsuit

Archive
USA

US government intervenes as Israel bombing victims issue lawsuit asking for Iranian antiquities from museums

Iran argues that artefacts housed abroad should have immunity since they originate from a foreign sovereign state

News
Law

London art dealer Joseph Nahmad spared jail after banging ex-partner’s head against wall during drunken row

Nahmad received a suspended sentence on Friday and must attend 20 days of rehab

News
Law

‘Completely unacceptable’: Nan Goldin attacks proposed settlement in opioid crisis

Artist says the reported deal is a cynical attempt to avoid significant restitution

News
Law

Sacklers in talks over multibillion-dollar settlement of opioid crisis lawsuits

Proposed settlement calls for family's company Purdue Pharma to file for bankruptcy and become a public trust distributing profits

News
Art law

Number of Manhattan's park art vendors can be limited by New York City, court rules

Appeals court says that guidelines limiting number of sellers in four green spaces are constitutional

News
Artists

Robert Indiana’s caretaker allowed him ‘to live in squalor and filth’ despite artist having $13m in the bank

Jamie Thomas is accused of stealing more than $1m and 100 works of art from the late artist in new court filing

News
Art market

Timothy Sammons 'very remorseful' as he is jailed for defrauding clients of up to $30m

British art dealer sentenced to up to 12 years after pleading guilty to fraud and grand larceny in the New York State Supreme Court

News
Law

London art dealer Joseph Nahmad banged partner’s head against wall during drunken row at Knightsbridge flat

Nahmad could face jail time after admitting two counts of assault against Georgia Barry

News
Law

Family claims quarter share of disputed Isleworth Mona Lisa

The painting, long the subject of an attribution dispute, is now at the centre of a legal conflict over ownership

News
Law

Street artist sues Ellen DeGeneres and Walmart for copyright infringement

Julian Rivera says his heart-shaped “love” design was copied on a popular line of clothing without his permission

Comment
Law

Why this Cézanne painting could hold the key to solving thorny heritage disputes

Innovative agreement to share contested work from Gurlitt trove provides a roadmap for similar legal cases