Accessibility statement

Art: A Problematic Life Cycle - LAW00059M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Peter Harrison
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

This module takes a chronological approach in considering the pressure points at which art law problems and disputes are most likely to arise during the life cycle of a typical work of fine art, such as a painting or sculpture. Legal, artistic, commercial and ethical issues arising during the creation, sale and destruction/deaccessioning of art will be explored.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

In considering the life cycle of a typical work of fine art this module provides students with a wide-ranging understanding of the main pressure points artists' creative rights and the requirements for their subsistence (or registration) of intellectual property rights and the scope of protection of each. The module will also consider ethical and social issues raised by the creation of art and the control of artists. It will highlight authors' moral rights, droit de suite and copyright and the historical context of their development in relation to the art market. Additionally, it will consider the legal and ethical implications of the destruction and deaccessioning of artworks.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of the role of copyright and moral rights in the protection of artistic ideas and their expression
  • Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of the territorial nature of the intellectual property system, the international mechanisms used to address this, and the concept of exhaustion of rights
  • Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of common contractual issues arising when art is sold and the application of droit de suite rights
  • Analyse, with critical awareness, the methods employed to control artists and the role of censorship and obscenity laws
  • Critically evaluate advanced scholarship on the philosophical justifications for and arguments against, the existence of the intellectual property system
  • Demonstrate initiative and originality in applying legal rules and principles to advise clients on how intellectual property rights can, and cannot be, used to protect an individual's creative effort
  • Synthesise complex facts and apply legal rules and principles to evaluate and advise on the legal issues affecting museums and galleries, owners and artists when artworks are destroyed or deaccessioned
  • Apply a range of personal and collaborative transferable and practical legal skills in the context of solving problems pertaining to the creation, sale and destruction of art works

Module content

This module will provide students with an understanding of the main art law pressure points during the life cycle of a typical work of fine art, such as a painting or sculpture. The module considers the legal issues arising during the creation, sale and destruction/deaccessioning of art. Artists' creative rights and the requirements for the subsistence (or registration) of their intellectual property rights and the scope of protection of each will be examined. The module will also consider ethical and social issues raised by the creation of art and the control of artists. It will highlight authors' moral rights, droit de suite and copyright and the historical context of their development in relation to the art market. Additionally, it will consider the contractual and commercial issues arising when art is sold as well as the legal and ethical implications of the destruction and deaccessioning of artworks. Teaching will involve 'Problem Based Learning' sessions as well as seminars.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Client/partner advice memo
N/A 80
Essay/coursework
Participation
N/A 20

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Client/partner advice memo
N/A 80

Module feedback

Students will receive formative feedback on their written and participation skills during the course of the module in seminars and PBL sessions. Individual summative feedback on assessments will be provided.

Indicative reading

Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts - Merryman, Elsen, Urice (eds)

Museums Association Disposal Toolkit

Museum Administration 2.0 - Hugh Genoways, Lynne Ireland, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko

Visual Arts and the Law - Judith Prowda

Art and Copyright - Simon Stokes

Sothebys: The Inside Story - Peter Watson

Intellectual Property Law - Jennifer Davis

Moral Rights: Principles, Practice and New Technology - Mira T. Sundara Rajan



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.