It seems April 2014 is the month when the US collectors' lobbyists and their lawyers dust off their debating hats and get together to chinwag about how the world is against them. There's the symposium ("Reform of U.S. Cultural Property Policy: Accountability, Transparency, and Legal Certainty") on April 10, 2014 at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York (organized by the ACCP) ["Fixing" it so we get the Stuff]
Then there is the "Roundtable on the Reform of US Cultural Property Policy, Law and the Public Interest" (also organized by the ACCP) Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. [ACCP Symposia on Reforming US Cultural Policy]
Both will apparently focus on that "white paper" by William G. Pearlstein which I have previously discussed here and here. Both involve participants mainly from just two areas, US museums and US cultural property lawyers associated with the antiquities and art trade.
Now we learn of a third such meeting to precede both: "U.S. Federal Power and the Repatriation of Cultural Artifacts" at the New York City Bar Association, New York on April 3, 2014 (free of charge, but no mention of tea and biscuits). Speakers include:
Peter K. Tompa (Program Co-Chair and Moderator, Bailey and Ehrenberg PLLC); Michael McCullough (Program Co-Chair, Michael McCullough LLC, art law practitioner); Sharon Levin (Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of SDNY Forfeiture Section); Evan Barr (Steptoe and Johnson LLP, white collar crime practitioner); James McAndrew (Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman and Klestadt LLP; Former Senior Special Agent, US Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations).
The place of Arthur Houghton III's Cultural Property Research Institute in all this is unrecorded. He's not even noted as being on the panel.
The problem is, isn't it, that the debate should not be just about "repatriation" (and fighting it), but how to deal with the wider issue of the smuggled art on the global market and what the US can do to help combat this problem.