Sunday, July 22, 2018

eBay Online Fraud Nets $5 million

As with Costco, eBay was recently used to defraud art collectors of over $5 million dollars by selling them sophisticated fake works by Warhol, Chagall, Miro and Picasso. In NPR’s Weekend Edition, Liane Hansen interviews a member of the FBI’s art crime team and an art dealer about how fakes are distinguished from authentic works of art as well as how the internet has affected the art market. At any one time, eBay has over 110 million items on sale.


Religion Belongs in the Picture

In response to a federal district court’s ruling, “Wisconsin high school students will be allowed to use religious symbols and imagery in their artwork, but not gang related symbols, sex, or blood.”

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The New York Yankees Are Burning

No, the Yankees’ locker room did not catch on fire from an abundance of steroids. Rather , Curtis Publishing Co., owner of Norman Rockwell’s “Bottom of the 6th” painting, has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking to stop ESPN from rebroadcasting The Bronx is Burning (a series about the 1977 New York Yankees) until ESPN withdraws the image from the film.

(Bottom of the 6th, by Norman Rockwell)

According to Curtis, ESPN “did not have a license to use the painting and was committing willful copyright infringement.” The eight-part film series has been sold in both DVD and VHS formats. Keep in mind that there is a difference between having title to the painting and owning the copyright to it. However, we’re sure no IP lawyer would have sued if Curtis simply had title. More from the AP here.


Art Teacher Sold Fake Art

A former public school art teacher made at least $20,000 by making fake ceramic vases and bowls in his garden studio and passing them off as the work of renowned artists. 52 year-old Jeremy Broadway began selling his fakes via the internet and eventually offered his fakes to world-famous auction houses such as Christies. The fake works were sold to collectors across the U.S. and Europe, but the exact number of sold fakes is still unknown. A stack of fake pots was found by police during a raid on Broadway’s studio. The Guardian has more on this story.


U.K. to Ban Intimate Spanking!

According to the BBC, a “bill outlawing the possession of ‘extreme pornography’ is set to become law next week.”

It’s bad enough that airline travelers carrying laptops now have to worry about the images stored on their hard drive (no pun intended), but now the U.K. has placed the burden on consumers to filter out any “extreme pornography” from their possession. In a seemingly extreme and sexual-xenophobic gesture, the U.K. seems hell-bent on denying their debaucherous citizens pleasure from foreign porn: “Until now pornographers, rather than consumers, have needed to operate within the confines of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act (OPA). While this law will remain, the new act is designed to reflect the realities of the internet age, when pornographic images may be hosted on websites outside the UK.”

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Spain: Thieves Like Art…Lots of It!

Approximately 150 art thefts occur yearly in Spain, reports El Pais. The majority of the

works stolen are paintings, including two paintings by Diego de Velázquez stolen from The Real Madrid Palace in 1989. In the last 15 years there have been over 7,000 art thefts, with approximatly over 500 stolen artworks still to be recovered by Spanish authorities (although they do mention a 2001 recovery of two Goyas). The majority of thefts occur in churches, private homes, auction houses and art museums. As if this wasn’t enough, authorities have to deal with a second problem stemming from these thefts: forgeries! Spanish authorities believe that the market for forgeries is growing, amplified by unscrupulous art experts more than willing to authenticate fake Warhols, Picassos, and Dalis.


Judge: Kurtz Not A Terrorist

After approximatley five years of wasting public monies on a ridiculous charge, a “judge threw out charges Monday against Steven Kurtz, a college art professor accused of improperly obtaining biological materials for an exhibit protesting U.S. government policy on genetically modified foods. U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara ruled that the 2004 mail and wire fraud indictment against Steven Kurtz, a University at Buffalo professor, was ‘insufficient on its face.’”

“Kurtz is a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble, which has used human DNA and other biological materials in works intended to draw attention to political and social issues. His arrest drew protests from artists in several countries who called the charges an intrusion on artistic freedom.The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo said it was considering an appeal but otherwise declined to discuss the ruling,” said CBC.


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