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The Art World Gets Tough

44 BoxerThe global art market is estimated to be worth about 43 billion Euros per annum, but it is prey to forgeries and unauthorised reproduction of art work.

The art market including museums and foundations, is very keen to curb counterfeiting, as its insidious nature could undermine trust in the art market.

Last year, the German police recovered 1200 statues created in the style of sculptor Alberto Giocometti. The German authorities successfully prosecuted the counterfeiters and made it the first ever judgment whereby it was recognised the original artist was the victim of copyright infringement.

Usually breach of copyright is the only weapon against counterfeiters outside the criminal law jurisdiction. However, a number of custodians of original art are adopting various Intellectual Property (IP) remedies to protect the name and image of artists such as the misuse of an artist's name Picasso being one such example.

Steps being taken include domain name protection, trademark, and personality or image rights protection.

Organisations such as the Giacometti Foundation and Picasso Succession are devoting considerable resources to stem counterfeiting and misuse of the artist's name particularly through on line dealing. It would appear that the art world is beginning to strengthen its teeth given the onslaught of counterfeiting and image misuse.


Julian Wilkins

Julian Wilkins is Editorial Director for Blue Pencil Media Limited. Julian has a LLB (Hons) in law and M.Phil in law as well as a Diploma in European law and was admitted as a solicitor in 1988; he practices in the area of media, entertainment, and intellectual property law as a consultant for Devereaux Solicitors in London. Julian is also a Notary Public and CEDR accredited commercial mediator. Julian has written for academic publications and contributed to an Exhibition Catalogue about 1960s photographer Philip Townsend. Julian is a member of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers and also the British Institute of International and Comparative law. Julian is a finalist in The Media Lunch Club “Short Circuit” script competition to be held in November 2011. Julian’s comments “The rapidly changing world economy and technology is presenting incredible opportunities for the Creative Industries and Blue Pencil hopes to reflect and contribute to these changes.”

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