The Ethical Trade in Cultural Property: Ethics and Law in the Antiquity Auction Industry


This article considers from an ethical perspective the role that auction houses play as facilitators of the illicit antiquity trade. It reviews the laws that regulate the antiquity auction industry and explains why they fail to prevent the trade in illegally excavated and exported cultural property. The article argues that auction houses should develop policies focused on ethics instead of regulatory compliance, explains why this would better further cultural preservation interests and protect creator cultures, and looks at potential business benefits of an ethical model.

Published in the ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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