On the Case: Everything You Need to Know About Creating a Virtual Reality Tour

Accurate goes before cool when creating VR for museums.

For those readers who are living in a cabin in the woods (and are presumably reading artnet by candlelight), we are happy to report that the hottest craze of this summer is Pokemon Go, a wildly popular augmented reality game. But Nintendo, the company behind Pokemon Go, isn’t the only one cashing in. Museums in the US and abroad have also seen a spike in attendance thanks to the game. Arkansas’s Crystal Bridges Museum, for example, has reportedly seen an almost 30 percent increase in attendance as visitors capture Pokemon in the galleries. Continue reading

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Brothers in Law: Augmented Reality

“There’s an angry mob in the conference room!” our new receptionist, Felicia, exclaimed. The mob turned out to be a troop of shaggy artists led by our old client Simeon, and fortunately they hadn’t come to lynch us but to seek advice on a cutting-edge area of law and art: augmented reality, or AR. Continue reading

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Augmented Reality & the Museum Grumpasaurus

Rex, the ambitious young Director of a regional natural history museum, recently invited me to a tea to celebrate the opening of their new dinosaur wing. He sat me next to Tyrone, the museum’s senior paleontologist, who was so old that he had probably seen some of his specimens running around in the wild. Continue reading

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Brothers in Law: A Photographer’s Artistic Freedom v. an Individual’s Rights to Privacy

Our teenage friend Jay is a renowned amateur birder whose feathers aren’t easily ruffled. Still, he was dismayed to spot an unflattering picture of himself taken without his parents’ permission and posted online by a fledgling rival. Worse, other birders were flocking to the rival’s website to purchase posters of the offending photo. Our young pal had cried foul, and his mother, Robin, was itching to sue. She phoned us to see if they had a case. Continue reading

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Satisfaction Guaranteed: Brothers in Law on Commissioning a Work of Art

We received the penned note from Miranda at the end of a punishing day. It was just two sentences long, but it raised a slew of legal issues and a few other concerns. “I am about to commission a sculpture of my husband, Carlo, for a 10-year anniversary,” she wrote. “Anything I should consider?” We didn’t know Miranda but were happy to assist. Continue reading

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Brothers in Law: When Conceptual Art Certificates of Authenticity Go Up in Smoke

Ashley was passionate about Conceptual art, but her pyromaniacal son had a different burning enthusiasm. After the firemen left, our client discovered that the extensive documentation on her collection had gone up in flames. A smoking mad Ashley phoned us with heated questions early the next day.

“Since Conceptual art is all about the idea being expressed in an artwork rather than its physical form, what exactly did my idiot son lose in the blaze?” Continue reading

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On the Case: The Law on Augmented Reality and Museums

There is nothing virtual about being sued.

A few of our more tech-savvy museum clients have recently been exploring whether and how to make some of their exhibits come alive by using exciting new “augmented reality” (AR) technology. At the same time, they have been grappling with cutting-edge legal issues involved in this new technology—which is where we come in.

In the interest of allaying fears and providing a brief legal road map on AR, here are a few typical questions we have received thus far. Continue reading

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Brothers in Law: What’s in a Name?: Legal Options When Authenticity is Challenged

It’s possible that our client Boris was, as he claimed, just a small-time florist from Moscow—but we had our suspicions. How many Russian florists own a Gulfstream G650? Boris also had a thorny legal problem: His insurance company had just determined that five expensive paintings he had bought from Madame Chardon, an elderly French dealer, might be fakes. Continue reading

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Brothers In Law: Royalty Pains

All is not cool in California. The state’s Resale Royalty Act, which gave artists or their agents (including their heirs) a 5 percent royalty on any resale of their art over $1,000 if the seller resided in California or the transaction took place there, was struck down by a federal court in 2012. The law was both welcomed and reviled, depending on whom you asked: Proponents claimed the law gave much-deserved compensation to artists for their efforts, especially for work bought cheaply and later sold at a big profit; critics countered that artists did not deserve special treatment and that the law put a damper on the art market while benefiting successful artists who didn’t need help. The gulf between these two views was—and remains—as wide as the Pacific. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Behind the Ivory Curtain

A ban on illegal ivory has far-reaching implications for antiques dealers.

 

This year the US Fish and Wildlife Service imposed a sweeping ban on the import and sale of ivory from the African elephant, an endangered species that has been decimated due to poaching. Now, the import of African elephant ivory for commercial purposes, meaning for buying and selling, is banned. The ivory can be owned, but not legally sold. Continue reading

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