UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, recently launched the Cultural Heritage Laws Database
"Looting, theft and illegal export and import of cultural property are worldwide problems. In 2003, UNESCO devised an international solution to combat this illicit traffic: the Cultural Heritage Laws Database."
"By compiling on the Internet the national laws of its Member States, UNESCO offers all stakeholders involved (Governments, customs officials, art dealers, organizations, lawyers, buyers and so forth) a complete and easily accessible source of information. In the event of a legal question about the origin of an object (which may have been stolen, pillaged, or illegally exported, imported or acquired), it is very useful to have rapid access to the relevant national laws."
"The database owes its originality and effectiveness to two features: not only is it the main gateway to national legislation, but it also brings together the laws applicable to the cultural heritage as a whole (whether movable, immovable, intangible, underwater or natural)."
"Both States and art markets stand to gain from this: while free access to national laws allows good faith buyers to easily verify the legal antecedents of cultural property, it will make it harder for traffickers to claim to be ignorant of the law and thus of the illegal nature of what they are doing."
Labels: comparative and foreign law, cultural industries, databases, international organizations, legislation