Twenty-six teams competed in DePaul's Sixth Annual National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition on February 27 and 28, an unprecedented number of participants for the yearly event. The heightened interest moved this competition into a higher tier, said Lubna El-Gendi, director of student affairs and diversity at DePaul University College of Law, noting that teams were awarded more points for participating.
The National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition is held at the
Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, and allows students to compete through oral and written advocacy in the field of cultural heritage law. This dynamic and growing legal field encompasses several disparate areas: protection of archaeological sites; preservation of historic structures and the built environment; preservation of and respect for both tangible and intangible indigenous cultural heritage; the international market in art works and antiquities; and recovery of stolen art works. This year’s problem focused on constitutional challenges to the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), which protects visual artists' moral rights of attribution and integrity. The problem addressed both a First Amendment and a Fifth Amendment challenge to VARA.
The competition attracts teams from law schools with top-ranked appellate advocacy programs, as well as those with art law programs, and this year’s competition featured teams from 19 different law schools across the nation. Local law schools participating included Chicago-Kent, John Marshall and Northwestern. University of California, Hastings College of Law won the championship round, with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law awarded second place. Students from the University of North Dakota, Northwestern, George Washington University and George Mason also received competition awards.
"I was really impressed by the enthusiasm of the judges and all the competitors," El-Gendi remarked. "It was apparent that both the judges and the competitors put in a lot of time delving into the issues raised by the competition problem. Throughout the competition rounds, I heard some very interesting and insightful questions from judges and many creative arguments from competitors."
Over forty DePaul students participated as competition volunteers, serving as either assistant bailiffs or bailiffs. DePaul students also served on the Competition Board, helping to organize the Competition. Over 80 attorneys participated as judges, including over 20 DePaul alums and numerous renowned cultural heritage law experts from across the country.
The panel for the championship round included Senior Judge William J. Bauer, of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Paul Joseph Kelly, Jr., of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Mary L. Mikva, of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division; Judge Warren Wolfson, former Illinois Appellate Court judge, and Judge Linda Wilde, retired from the Superior Court of California.
International lawyer Megan Kossiakoff’s (JD ’06) young career
has taken her on a whirlwind world tour, from countries in Eastern Europe to
sub-Saharan Africa, and soon Central Asia. But her journey began right here in Chicago,
with the discovery of a medieval manuscript at a museum exhibition.
Kossiakoff focused her undergraduate and graduate studies in
history and the arts, earning a master’s degree from the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago. While a graduate student, she worked in local museums coordinating
exhibitions that involved obtaining copyright permission for images. That’s
when she discovered the story of the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated
manuscript that tells the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.
Impressed by the measures museum officials and community
members took to protect the manuscript during the 1990s Bosnia-Herzegovina
conflict, she focused her master’s thesis on the practical aspects of
protecting cultural heritage during the conflict. With a desire to dig deeper
into cultural heritage studies, Kossiakoff enrolled at DePaul College of Law.
“In my mind, [DePaul] was the only place to go because of the
unique opportunity to focus on this area of law and work with one of the
world’s top experts,” Kossiakoff said. She was drawn to DePaul’s strong
cultural heritage law program and the work of Professor Patty Gerstenblith
through the Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law.
While at DePaul, Kossiakoff served as an editor of the DePaul
Journal of Art and Entertainment Law (now the Journal of Art, Technology &
Intellectual Property Law), and interned at the Field Museum of Natural
History, the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Heritage Center, and the Art
Law Department at Herrick Feinstein LLP.
After earning her JD, Kossiakoff took a position as a law clerk
with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia (ICTY), in the Hague, Netherlands. Following her work with the ICTY,
she stayed in the Netherlands and enrolled in an LLM program in public
international law at Leiden University. Since then, Kossiakoff’s legal career
has taken her from one international post to another.
Kossiakoff’s next stop was Kosovo. There, she served as a
legal advisor to the International Civilian Office (ICO), an intergovernmental
organization with the mandate to supervise and support Kosovo’s government in
its process to become a fully independent state. At the ICO, she worked extensively
on drafting legislation to ensure that sites of religious and cultural significance
would be protected.
Kossiakoff credits DePaul and the skills learned in cultural
heritage law and legal writing programs with impacting her professional
success. “In international environments, you are often working in
English-language environments with people who are not native English speakers.
It is hugely valuable to an organization to have someone who has excellent
legal drafting skills, which is something that DePaul taught me.”
By the end of her stretch in Kosovo, Kossiakoff was the head
of the ICO’s legal unit and was directly involved in drafting constitutional
amendments to help end Kosovo’s supervised independence.
“As part of my position with the ICO in Kosovo, I was able to
draft legislation that required government officials and religious leaders from
the minority community to work together to protect cultural heritage. It was an
important part of the post-conflict reconciliation process.”
After a brief assignment with the World Bank, Kossiakoff moved
on to her next post with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO)
in Juba, South Sudan. She supported the constitutional review process in South
Sudan by drafting sample text for inclusion in the permanent constitution and
advising committees of the National Constitutional Review Commission, a process
that stalled in 2013 when South Sudan ultimately descended into civil war.
“I joke that as my career progresses my living conditions get
far worse. I spent nearly a year living in a shipping container in South Sudan
having very little freedom of movement,” Kossiakoff said. “You have to think
creatively to get work done when there are so many unforeseen events and
restrictions.” Since leaving South Sudan, Kossiakoff has worked with the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a monitoring
officer in Ukraine. But she will soon be relocating again, rejoining the IDLO,
the only intergovernmental organization with the mandate to promote the rule of
law, as a legal counsel for their program in Afghanistan.
Kossiakoff will be based in Rome and will travel regularly
to Kabul. “Going to difficult places like South Sudan or Afghanistan can be
incredibly challenging on a professional and personal level,” admitted
Kossiakoff. “I originally saw myself as a headquarters person, but found that
working in hardship locations is far more rewarding than I ever imagined.”
Professor Patty Gerstenblith, distinguished research professor of law and director of DePaul's Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law, was quoted extensively by the LA Times in an article
examining the issues surrounding copyright to the works of photographer Vivian Maier.
Vivian Maier's photographs, many taken in Chicago in the 1950s and
'60s, were discovered after her death when a box of her belongings was
purchased at auction by real estate agent John Maloof. Since then, the
story of Vivian Maier and her photographs has become much more
complicated, as a legal battle over Maier's estate, and control over
copyright to her work, has been initiated in Illinois (the state where
Maier passed away).
As Professor Gerstenblith discusses in the article, the first step
will be to determine who is the proper heir to the estate, which might
be an issue in the Maier estate given the existence of two potential
cousins in France. Professor Gerstenblith notes, "[i]n some cases, . . .
heirship is more complicated because you have family that is more
distantly related. This has come up in cases of Nazi looting. The
claimant has to prove they are the right heir and that can be quite
This is one of the issues that the courts in Illinois will need to grapple with in resolving the Maier case.
A recent New York Times article highlighted the growing use of drones
by archaeologists, including by Morag Kersel, an anthropolgy professor
at DePaul University and CAMCHL's Affiliated Faculty Member.
The article focused on the use of drones in protecting archaeological
sites in Peru, but cited Professor Kersel's work with drones in Jordan.
As Professor Kersel stated in the article, "[a]erial survey at the site
is allowing for the identification of new looting pits and
determinations of whether any of the looters' holes had been
Click here to read the entire article. Professor Kersel's work has also been featured in National Geographic, on the cover of the Fall 2013 Insights magazine, and in an ASOR blog post.
DePaul Distinguished Research Professor Patty Gerstenblith, director of the Center for Art, Museum, & Cultural Heritage Law, was quoted in a Boston Globe article
discussing the recent return of eight artifacts to Nigeria by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
The artifacts include a 2,000-year-old terra-cotta head and were
given to the MFA in a 2013 bequest by collectors William and Bertha
Teel, longtime supporters of the museum. The decision to return the
eight artifacts was the culmination of 18 months of research, driven by
Victoria Reed, who was appointed the first full-time museum curator of
provenance in the United States by the MFA in 2010.
Gerstenblith praised the MFA's actions as "out-front," and more
involved than measures taken by peer museums. The MFA now voluntarily
and rigorously researches object histories and, if one is determined to
be questionable, will find a way to make amends.
Gerstenblith also was quoted in an AP News article
regarding the recent discovery of thousands of artifacts in the home of
a 91-year-old man in rural central Indiana. The FBI's Art Crime Team is
investigating, but whether any laws had knowingly been broken remains
to be seen. As Professor Gerstenblith noted, "[s]tate, federal and
international laws are involved," and "[m]uch depends on whether objects
are considered stolen or were imported with a license."
In addition, Gerstenblith discussed the difficulties faced by nations
making claims for the return of cultural artifacts in a recent ABA
Journal article. The piece also cites an article originally published in the DePaul Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law.
Field archaeologist and Center for Art, Museum, and Cultural Heritage Law Affiliated Faculty Member Morag Kersel was
recently featured in National Geographic's Daily News as part of their
weekly "In Focus" series. Dr. Kersel is also assistant professor of
Anthropology at DePaul University.
The National Geographic article focused on Professor Kersel's Follow
the Pots project, a five-year research initiative that uses unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor looting at an Early Bronze Age
archaeological site in Fifa, Jordan. As noted in the article,
'[u]nmanned aerial vehicles . . . are quietly revolutionizing modern
Professor Kersel's innovative use of UAVs and aerial photography as a
method of site assessment and monitoring allows for a better
understanding of the movement of looted artifacts and how archaeological
sites are used. Click here to read the entire article.
Professor Kersel's work was also featured on the cover of the Fall 2013 Insights magazine and in an ASOR blog post.
DePaul Law Professor Patty Gerstenblith discussed the J. Paul Getty Museum's "Victorious Youth" statue for the LA Times piece "The Getty's Victorious Youth' is subject of a custody fight":
Patty Gerstenblith, a leading advocate of protecting archaeological
sites and sending looted art back to nations of origin, said that
"Victorious Youth" shouldn't be considered a looted work and needn't be
returned. Italy never had a legally valid ownership claim, she said,
because the statue wasn't found in Italian waters or on Italian soil,
and it wasn't made or owned by modern Italy's Roman and Etruscan
Known informally as the "Getty Bronze," the statue is no stranger to
legal battles. It was discovered in 1964 in international waters off the
coast of Italy and has been on display at the Getty since 1978,
attracting more than 400,000 visitors a year. Italian authorities have
repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to claim the Getty Bronze as state
property, beginning in the late 1960s.
In recent years, an Italian prosecutor filed a new claim and a decision by the Court of Cassation in Rome is currently pending.
Professor Gerstenblith also had a letter to the editor
published in a recent Saturday edition of the newspaper. Her letter was
written in response to an opinion piece, "More laws, less treasure,"
which argued that cultural property laws lead to a decline in
archaeological discoveries. In response, Professor Gerstenblith noted
that the author of the opinion piece confused correlation with causation
and also failed to distinguish between national ownership laws and
other "patrimonial" laws such as export controls.
Above and Beyond
In a recent profile for DePaul’s online magazine, Distinctions, Professor Patty Gerstenblith talks about art and cultural heritage law and why DePaul’s program is a leader in the field.
The discipline of art and cultural heritage law itself is a
relatively new field. I have been teaching at DePaul for 30 years and
have benefitted from being in the right place, at the right time: The
field and I grew up together.
Perhaps the aspect I like most about the field is its
interdisciplinary nature: Teaching it requires some knowledge of art
history, archaeology, anthropology, history, international relations and
other academic fields. One thing we do well at DePaul College of Law is
to look at the big picture. Here, art and cultural heritage law is
affiliated with two other areas: intellectual property and international
law. Both of these programs at DePaul are nationally recognized. As a
result, our students graduate with a broad set of practical skills.
"When I say DePaul is 'the right place' for exploring cultural
heritage, I mean that literally. Here, we appreciate and respect
different cultures set against a global environment."
I have been fortunate to serve twice on the President’s Cultural
Property Advisory Committee in the Department of State, currently as the
committee’s chair. The committee makes recommendations to the Assistant
Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs as to whether
the United States should enter into bilateral agreements with other
nations to restrict the import into the U.S. of undocumented
archaeological and ethnological materials.
The legislation under which the committee operates is part of the
United States’ adherence to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of
Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of
Ownership of Cultural Property. When this legislation was adopted in
1983, the United States was, and probably still is, the single largest
end-destination country for looted antiquities and stolen artifacts. The
work of the committee is, therefore, important in establishing good
relations with other countries and in helping to preserve the world’s
When I say DePaul is “the right place” for exploring cultural
heritage, I mean that literally. Here, we appreciate and respect
different cultures set against a global environment. I think this is
what our mission is all about, and that is what this specialty is all
DePaul’s commitment to art and cultural heritage law is apparent in
many ways. For one thing, I am one of the few professors in the country
with this specialty who is a full-time faculty member. Also, we are
continually enhancing our program. For example, we are introducing two
new courses next year—one on customs law, which will address the legal
interactions surrounding international trade, and one on art market
transactions, which will deal with the commercial law surrounding the
business of buying and selling art. Again, our students will gain skills
that can be applied in several contexts.
"Our students get a richer, fuller educational experience in this field than they would at any other law school."
Our conferences attract scholars and practitioners from all over the
country—faculty and students from other law schools, lawyers who work
for museums, government agencies and auction houses, art dealers and
collectors. Our National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition is
the only one of its kind. This year, the competition hosted 19 teams
from around the country and featured more than 75 volunteer attorney
judges, including many nationally renowned cultural property experts.
These events build our prestige, while providing great networking and
educational opportunities for our students.
We educate our students in other ways as well. Our Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law
offers them opportunities for extern/intern placements at The Field
Museum, Chicago History Museum, and other nonprofit and government
agencies. Students have been publishing our Journal of Art, Technology and Intellectual Property Law for more than 20 years, and they contribute research to my work and to our events.
For reasons like these, I think—in fact, there’s no doubt in my
mind—that DePaul’s program is the best in the country. Our students get a
richer, fuller educational experience in this field than they would at
any other law school. I am really proud of that.
Patty Gerstenblith is
a distinguished research professor of law and director of the Center
for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law. She is founding president
of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation
(2005-2011), a director of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield (a
nonprofit organization committed to the protection of cultural property
worldwide during armed conflict) and immediate past co-chair of the
American Bar Association’s Art and Cultural Heritage Law Committee. In
2011, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the
President’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee in the Department of
State; during the Clinton administration, she served as a public
Emily Casey (JD '12) was featured in a recent article in the Connecticut Law Tribune. Casey, an attorney at Tobin Carberry O'Malley Riley & Selinger in New London, Conn., was interviewed about her transition from an archaeologist to an attorney with a special interest in art and cultural heritage law.
While a DePaul law student, Casey was actively involved with the Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law, serving on both the National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition board and the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Society student board.
Visit the Connecticut Law Tribune website to read the article.
Third-year law students Sarah Wilson and Kyle Brennan will head to Oxford, England, next week to compete in the 12th Annual International Intellectual Property Law Moot, hosted by the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre at the University of Oxford. The teammates were invited to participate in the oral rounds of the 2014 Oxford Moot on March 20-22, on the basis of their two written submissions.
“Wilson and Brennan advanced to the oral rounds in a year where the competition organizers fielded increased interest in the competition, and received very strong written submissions,” said Lubna El-Gendi, associate director of the Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law. “Last year, only 20 teams were invited to compete in the oral rounds, and only two of those teams were from the U.S.”
The focus of the 2014 moot is copyright and moral rights. Competitors will address the meaning of “original” works with respect to copyright protection, fair dealing, moral rights, and whether parties can contract out of protections built into copyright laws. The oral rounds will comprise four preliminary rounds, followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and a grand final. The moot hypothetical is available on the competition website.
“We each expressed our desire to participate and were fortunate to be chosen to represent DePaul,” said Wilson. They credit El-Gendi and center director Professor Patty Gerstenblith with spearheading the effort to garner interest in the competition and encouraging the team.
Wilson and Brennan, who share an interest in art law and interned together at Customs and Border Protection, pooled their knowledge for three months during the brief-writing process. “We frequently met to discuss the most advantageous arguments for each position,” recalled Wilson. “The international character of the problem posed challenges in learning how each country implements statutes and addresses the particular issues. Fortunately, Kyle studied in Dublin during the spring semester last year, which proved to be quite useful in acquiring an understanding of international legal systems."
"Participating in the competition gave us a useful way to learn more about the laws of nations throughout the world and view the issues from a global perspective,” added Wilson.
In mid-January, they were selected for the oral rounds. They have received extensive support from faculty members at the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology (CIPLIT®), who served as guest judges during their oral argument practice sessions, which they conduct three or four times a week. Christopher Evers, formerly at DePaul, and Aaron Rosenthal, a 2012 DePaul art and museum law alumnus, also provided "invaluable" advice and feedback, the moot competitors said.
While both teammates have previously traveled in Europe, they have yet to explore Oxford or other small English towns outside of London. As competition occurs the weekend before spring break, Wilson said they plan to stay in England a few days after the competition to explore the British landscape.
“The DePaul community has offered unparalleled support and we are quite grateful,” said Brennan and Wilson. "We would not be able to attend the competition without the financial support of the Center for Art, Museum & and Cultural Heritage Law, and extend a special thanks to Professor Gerstenblith and Ms. El-Gendi for making this wonderful experience possible."
The fifth annual National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition will run this Friday, February 21 and Saturday, February 22 at the Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.
DePaul University College of Law welcomes 19 teams to the competition, including students from local schools Chicago-Kent, John Marshall, Northwestern and Southern Illinois. This year’s competition addresses questions concerning the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, which establishes a framework for imposing import restrictions on undocumented archaeological and ethnological materials.
The competition provides students with an opportunity to advocate in the nuanced landscape of cultural heritage law, a dynamic and growing legal field.
The annual event is cosponsored by the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, which conceived of the idea six years ago. Now, firmly established, the competition attracts teams from law schools with top ranked appellate advocacy programs as well as those with art law programs.
"One of the goals of LCCHP is to increase awareness of cultural heritage law, both within law schools and among the general public. This competition is an integral part of that growth and development," said Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Art, Museum, & Cultural Heritage Law Patty Gerstenblith.
Dr. Morag Kersel, field archaeologist, assistant professor of anthropology at DePaul University, and the Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law’s affiliated faculty member, was recently featured on the cover of the fall 2013 issue of Insights, a publication by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul University. Professor Kersel is currently working in Jordan on the Follow the Pots Project, a multi-year research initiative that uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to monitor looting at an Early Bronze Age archaeological site in Fifa, Jordan. One of the purposes of this project is “to better understand both the ancient and modern use of a prehistoric mortuary site.”
As noted by Professor Kersel, the archaeological site at Fifa is “threatened by systematic looting as a result of the demand for artifacts in the antiquities market.” Professor Kersel examines the path of artifacts looted from this archaeological site in an effort to understand and track how artifacts go “from the ground to the consumer.”
The innovative use of UVAs and aerial photography as a method of site assessment and monitoring makes it possible “to both document looting and site destruction at Fifa as well as generating spatial data for digital mapping.” During the 2013 season, Professor Kersel and her team were able to conclude that “looters are revisiting old looter’s holes, there is ongoing recent looting, and there is a discernable difference in looting episodes.”
Professor Kersel received a Harris Grant from the American Schools of Oriental Research and a College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Faculty Research Award for this innovative research program, and “this season of aerial site monitoring was the first of a five-year plan to revisit the site at the same time each year to investigate change over time and to assess the potential impact of anti-looting campaigns and outreach programs.” In conjunction with Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and colleagues from the universities of Notre Dame and Connecticut, Professor Kersel hopes to develop effective strategies to combat looting at this important archaeological site.
Read Professor Kersel's post on the ASOR blog.
Heather Hope Kuruvilla (JD '11) was recently named the new interim director of the Meadowlands Museum in Rutherford, New Jersey. Kuruvilla, who graduated from DePaul with a certificate in Arts & Museum Law, hopes to restablish the Meadowlands Museum as an integral part of the broader regional community.
Read more in her interview with the NorthJersey.com's South Bergenite.
The Paris auction of seventy Hopi "visages and headdresses" — some more than 100 years old — took place Friday morning, supported by a French court ruling.
The auction of sacred Native American artifacts was a cultural heritage topic of discussion this week, stirring up controversy in the United States and in Paris. Ultimately, the Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auction brought in around $1.2 million, higher than the house estimated in yesterday's New York Times feature.
NPR's "All Things Considered" spoke to Professor Patty Gerstenblith last week about the controversial sale:
"Members of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona believe the pieces should not be sold and instead should be returned to their Hopi villages. The tribe has successfully repatriated items from museums in the United States with the help of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. While that law cannot help them outside the U.S., DePaul University law professor Patty Gerstenblith says property law might.
'If an object is community owned, owned by a group, then an individual from that group could not necessarily - would not have the authority to sell the object without the permission of the whole group.'"
The auction was repeatedly interrupted by protestors, denounced by French advocacy groups and received highly critical coverage in the Associated Press.
In a recent article in the New York Times titled "Museum Leaders Toughen Artifact Acquisition Guidelines," blogger Randy Kennedy discussed the new rules incorporated by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD).
The vote will strengthen the requirements museums must meet in order publish pictures and information about antiquities that may be subject to questions of looting.
Since 2008, museums have posted information about antiquities they've acquired on an AAMD-sponsored website. Museums will now need to publish pictures and information about these artifacts, as well as cite a reason for acquisition.
Though the publication guidelines enforce greater ethical responsibility in cultural heritage, Professor Patty Gerstenblith, director of the Center for Art, Museum and Cultural Heritage Law, still expressed concern over the acquisition of these antiquities.
“What I want to see is the museums not acquiring these things in the first place,” Gerstenblith said. “It remains to be seen how they enforce that part."