The Economic Analysis of Art Law
This paper surveys from an economic standpoint a number of important legal issues that influence the market for art, which include the creation, sale, valuation, maintenance and, in some instances, the destruction of works of art. We show that the important legal doctrines that bear on the visual arts can best be understood as rough efforts to promote efficiency in the art market. The paper focuses on U.S. legal doctrines and only occasionally mentions foreign law. Among the legal topics we consider are the following: copyright and trademark issues; moral rights which cover the right of an artist to prevent the mutilation and destruction of his work: resale royalties; rules governing ownership disputes between innocent parties such as a good faith purchaser and an earlier owner of the work of art; disputes over the authenticity of a work of art which cause material changes in the market value of the work; and the valuation of art-rich estates.
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