Wednesday 19 January 2011

MOU Facts? Inconsequential


I guess if you are a coin-dealer busily causing your country's government international embarrassment in heel-digging resistance to measures to prevent import of illegally exported items, yesterday's announcement of the extended MOU with Italy could be the cause for bitterness and a feeling of loss and failure. That certainly is what comes over in Sayles' blogged moanings 'Planning a vacation in Italy? -- DON'T'. Bitterness, it seems, has led him to lose contact with the facts. It seems he has deluded himself into accepting the fictions of the coiney campaign against the US anti-antiquipiracy measures as the truth. The embattled veteran campaigner really should re-read the CCPIA (more carefully this time) and the text of the Federal Register (ditto) and think before writing. Is there any mention there of a requirement for "provenance"? No, but according to Sayles, coineys are opposed to the MOU because of the
" widespread absence of provenance information for coins and other minor antiquities in general—never before required, but now instantly mandatory".
No its not, you need an export licence Mr Sayles. Just an export licence. All the rest of this rant is, just that. Senseless ramblings unrelated to what has actually happened. The coiney is losing it, perhaps it is time to hand the baton on to a younger man capable of following what the discussions are actually about. He ends his diatribe against the world raving:
if you're planning a trip to Italy to see all those fantastic sites, think about the MOU and what it does to your rights. Do you really want to reward Italy for their intransigence? Maybe you'd do better to visit Britain where they have a few treasures as well, along with a law and an attitude that actually does help preserve our knowledge of the past.
This is wholly in keeping with the illogic of the rest of this inconsequential rant. That is, none whatsoever. Firstly all Italy has done is asked the US to respect the fact that it has export licencing procedures for antiquities (which the US "in theory" has already agreed to do by being a state party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention - though the way this actually works, largely in name only) , so it is hardly "intransigence" expecting the US to actually honour what it already says it honours. As for Britain's "law", every single dugup antiquity which leaves Britain needs an export licence, just the same as Italy. Mr Sayles is coinfusing two quite separate laws. The laws on customs procedure are one thing, those discussing the ownership of cultural property quite a separate legislative package - in the US too.

Vignette: Arrrrr..... I guess it's too much to expect antiquipirates to be graceful losers.

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