HLS Courses Related to Art Law


Art Law Seminar

Comparative Law: European and American Civil Justice: Seminar
Comparative Law: Foundations of Western Legal Thought
Comparative Law: The Globalization of Law in Historical Perspective

The trade in art and antiquities is a global one. Disputes often involve ascertaining the legal rules of other jurisdictions. A familiarity with the major legal systems of Europe in particular can be helpful for art lawyers.

Conflict of Laws

Claims for the restitution of stolen or illegally exported art often involve sorting out the law of several countries. Deciding which country's laws should be applied can often decide the outcome of a case. Most high-profile art restitution cases involve complex conflicts issues.

Constitutional Law

For purposes of First Amendment protections, art is considered speech. Protecting controversial art from government censorship is a recurrent problem for art lawyers.

Copyright and Other Intellectual Property

The personality and economic rights of artists in their works and the transfer of these rights to subsequent possessors raise a number of challenging intellectual property issues.

Economic Analysis of Law

Should artists have a share of the sale when their art sells subsequently for prices far in excess of the initial sale? Should artists be able to deduct the full fair market value of their works when making charitable contributions? Should art be publicly subsidized? How should auctions be regulated? How freely should museums be allowed to sell works from their collections? These and other issues of the art world can be illuminated with economic analysis.

Entertainment, Media, and the Law

Covers many of the same First Amendment, intellectual property, and international trade issues as the art law seminar.

First Amendment Theory

Art as speech and the speech rights of artists are an important subset of First Amendment issues.

International Civil Litigation

International Law

Public International Law

International Law: International Commercial Arbitration

The primary and secondary art market is international in scope. In addition, protecting of cultural property in times of conflict, regulating the excavation and export of antiquities, controlling an extensive problem in theft and forgery of art, and related issues implicate many issues in international law and trade.

Law and War in the Twentieth Century

The destruction and looting of the Iraq National Museum and recurring claims for the restitution of Nazi-looted art are but two of the many aspects of the impact of war on cultural goods.

Negotiation Workshop C

Litigation is an expensive and often unsatisfactory way to settle many art law disputes; more satisfactory resolutions can be achieved when the range of interests of all parties are recognized and incorporated in a negotiated settlement.

Nonprofit Organizations (Seminar)

Not offered in 2005-06.

Philanthropy and the Law

Most US museums are private, non-profit entities that rely heavily on gifts of art or monetary donations to acquire major works of art. US museums receive relatively little in the way of public funding. Private or corporate philanthropy and indirect governmental support are major issues for museums.

Taxation: Estate and Gift

Taxation and Regulation of Nonprofit Organizations

Many art lawyers who represent individuals (artists or collectors) got into the business by handling tax or estate problems for their clients. But the tax issues are important to the institutions of the art world as well. Before being moved to the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs was part of the Treasury Department; Customs still controls the importation of art and cultural property into the US. The Art Advisory Panel, which establishes the fair market value of donations or bequests of art, is part of the IRS, which also regulates the operations of tax-exempt organizations through intermediate sanctions or the denial of 501(c)(3) status. Issues of tax policy are of great interest to artists, collectors, benefactors, and museums.

Law and Literature: Seminar
Law and Literature: Spiritual Hygiene for Lawyers: Seminar
Law, Psychology, and Morality: An Exploration Through Film: Seminar
Topics in Law and the Humanities

Students interested in art law might also be interested in these courses focusing on the relationship between law and the humanities more broadly defined.

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Last modified: Thursday, April 18, 2002 02:32 PM by Terry Martin.