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Week In Review

By Ben Natter

Neue Galerie Returns Painting Seized by Nazis and Then Rebuys It in Settlement

The Neue Galerie of New York has reached a settlement with the family of Alfred Hess in connection with a painting by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, which was purchased by the gallery at auction in 1999. As part of the settlement, the gallery was required to return the painting to the Hess family and then repurchase the work at an undisclosed fair market value.

This settlement is of interest because the gallery owner, Ronald Lauder (son of Estée Lauder) has been a vocal and driving force in the return of art stolen by the Nazis. The return of this work came after an investigation into the origins of the work conducted by the Neue Galerie. The Hess family had been successful in other restitution claims in the past.


Met Picasso Belonged to Family That Fled Nazis, Suit Says

The estate of Paul Leffmann, a German Jewish businessman, filed suit against the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Southern District. The complaint states that Mr. Leffman was forced to sell the Picasso painting for $13,200 to Picasso's art dealer and a Picasso collector in 1938.

In 1941, Thelma Foy bought the painting through New York's Knoedler Gallery for $22,500, and it was donated to the Met in 1952. The estate estimates the value of the painting to be more than $100 million. The complaint argues that the museum should have known that the painting had been owned by Paul Leffmann and that he was forced to sell the work.

Mr. Leffman's estate had been unsuccessfully negotiating with the Met for several years prior to filing this complaint. Attorneys for the Met stated that the 1938 sale was made at fair market value and that there is no issue with provenance.


Facebook Ordered to Stop Collecting Data on WhatsApp Users in Germany

In response to Facebook's August announcement that it would begin sharing data relating to WhatsApp users with Facebook, the city of Hamburg's Data Protection Commissioner ordered the company to stop collecting and storing data of German WhatsApp users, and to delete any data already stored relating to the 35 million German WhatsApp users.

The August announcement from Facebook stated that WhatsApp would disclose phone numbers and analytics to Facebook and allow businesses to contact WhatsApp users. Facebook has a subsidiary based in Hamburg, and the Data Protection Commissioner does have authority over the company.

Facebook responded that it is in compliance with European privacy rules and offered to work with the Data Commissioner. The Commissioner took issue specifically with the fact that Facebook did not ask for consent from WhatsApp users.


Prison Sentence Over Smashing of Shrines in Timbuktu: 9 Years

The International Criminal Court ordered a radical Islamist, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, to nine years in prison for his organization of the destruction of historic Muslim shrines in Timbuktu, Mali. This sentencing is of interest as it was the court's first prosecution of the destruction of cultural heritage as a crime of war. Mr. Mahdi stated that he regretted his actions. He organized the destruction while serving in a position with Ansar Dine, an Al Qaeda spin-off.


New York City Starts $5 Million Fund for Women in Film and Theater

The Mayor's Office announced a new five-part initiative to promote equality in film and theater this past Thursday. The Office will create a fund of $5 million dollars for female artists in film and theater to advance projects relating to women. The fund will be distributed over five years. There will also be associated contests for potential NYC-based TV pilots and additional city sponsored scholarships.


ACC Football Game Will Move to Orlando's Camping World Stadium

The ACC football title game has been moved to Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The ACC pulled the game from Charlotte in protest over North Carolina's controversial House Bill, which limits the legal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The game is historically playered in Charlotte, NC.


Judge Issues Temporary Gag Order in Derrick Rose Rape Lawsuit

The California judge presiding over the Derrick Rose civil suit issued a temporary gag order on Thursday in response to pretrial publicity and manipulation of the press by both sides. Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald said that he was inclined to issue a longer gag order in light of pretrial publicity about the case, which was filed in the central district of California.

Fitzgerald was of the opinion that both parties were attempting to manipulate the press through statements and filings intended to garner attention and not serve their clients' best interests.


Law on Disparaging Trademarks Gets Supreme Court Review

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case concerning a service mark application for an Asian-American band called the Slants. The SLANTS application was refused registration on the grounds that the name is disparaging, as it is historically a derogatory term for Asians.

Last year, a federal appeals court in Washington found in favor of the band and decided the Lanham Act statute covering disparaging marks was unconstitutional. The government argues that the Lanham Act does not prohibit free speech, but merely prevents registration of disparaging terms. The band agreed to the case going before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court decision should also resolve the REDSKINS trademark cancellation appeal, which is scheduled to be heard by a Virginia appellate court in December. The Redskins petitioned to the Supreme Court to hear its case at the same time, even though the case has not reached the appellate court. The Court did not respond to the petition.



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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 1, 2016 5:14 PM.

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