Art Law & the Law of the Horse

31 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2017  

Brian L. Frye

University of Kentucky - College of Law

Date Written: December 10, 2017

Abstract

At a 1996 conference on the “Law of Cyberspace,” Judge Frank Easterbrook famously criticized “cyberlaw” as the equivalent of “The Law of the Horse”: superficial and unilluminating. He argued that we should study general legal principles and apply them to cyberspace and horses alike. Easterbrook’s genial jeremiad provoked a litany of responses defending the worthiness of cyberlaw, typically arguing that cyberspace regulation is sui generis and studying it illuminates general legal principles.

“Art law” is arguably analogous to “cyberlaw.” Or at least the “law of the horse.” While precious little law is specific to art, a rich and complex body of social norms and customs effectively governs artworld transactions and informs the resolution of artworld disputes. In any case, a smattering of scholars study art law and a similar number of lawyers practice it. In this essay, I will provide a brief overview of art law from three different perspectives: the artist, the art market, and the art museum.

Keywords: Art Law, Art, artists, copyright, fair use, resale royalty right, moral rights, nonprofit organizations, obscenity, subsidy, art market, art museums, cultural property, holocaust restitution

Suggested Citation

Frye, Brian L., Art Law & the Law of the Horse (December 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3085632 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3085632

Brian L. Frye (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.uky.edu/directory/brian-l-frye

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