Art and the Law


Course Code:
LAW 236
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


This course covers the legal, public policy, and ethical issues that concern artists, art dealers, auction houses, museums, collectors, and others who comprise the world of visual art. Our focus will be on artists' rights (including copyright, resale royalties, moral rights, and freedom of expression issues), how the market in art functions (such as the artist-dealer relationship, auction rules, and issues faced by collectors), and the legal and ethical rules governing the collection, donation, and display of visual art, particularly for museums and their donors. The course focuses on certain recurrent themes: How do statutes and courts define (or attempt to define) art-and how is art defined differently for different legal purposes? How does the special character of art justify or require different treatment under the law from that accorded other tangible personal property, and how does (and should) the expressive nature of art affect the way it is owned, protected, regulated, or funded? We anticipate having two or three visitors to the class during the quarter, such as a gallery owner, auctioneer, and museum director. In addition, we will also have the students participate in at least one or two interactive negotiation simulation exercises inspired by real situations and controversies in the art world. Special Instructions: Students have the option to write a research paper in lieu of the final exam with consent of instructor. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Graduate students from other departments are welcome to take this course with the permission of the instructor. See "Non-Law Students" on the SLS Registrar's Office website for enrollment instructions. Elements used in grading: Class participation, attendance, final paper or final exam.

Past Offerings

2015-2016 Winter

Art and the Law LAW 236 Section 01 Class #45261

  • 2 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Lottery 30
    • 1L Winter Elective

Notes: In-class Final. Open to First-Year JD Students.

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