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A draft for a proposal to protect historic artworks

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Corrocium
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A draft for a proposal to protect historic artworks

Postby Corrocium » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:49 pm

Emphasizing the importance of historical artworks to the culture of a nation.
Disturbed by the lack of protection against these significant pieces.

Defining a piece of historical artwork as a painting, sculpture, photograph, stained glass picture, pottery, or drawing over 250 years of age.

The World Assembly hereby:
1. Criminalizes any deliberate tampering, vandalism, or destruction of any historical artwork unless the owner of the artwork is a direct descendant of the original creator.
2. Allows historical artwork to be sold privately or publicly.



What category/area of effect would this be under?

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Araraukar
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Postby Araraukar » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:27 pm

Corrocium wrote:Emphasizing the importance of historical artworks to the culture of a nation.
Disturbed by the lack of protection against these significant pieces.

Defining a piece of historical artwork as a painting, sculpture, photograph, stained glass picture, pottery, or drawing over 250 years of age.

The World Assembly hereby:
1. Criminalizes any deliberate tampering, vandalism, or destruction of any historical artwork unless the owner of the artwork is a direct descendant of the original creator.
2. Allows historical artwork to be sold privately or publicly.

OOC: ...so archaeology is banned entirely. And why should direct descendant of the original creator have any say on a piece owned by someone else? Also, what if there aren't direct descendants or the artist is unknown? Also, does "tampering" include "restoration"? Additionally, check the cultural sites protection act (or whatever it's properly named), if it hasn't been repealed, and see if it says anything about artwork.

What category/area of effect would this be under?

"Bad Ideas" comes to mind...

This either needs helluva lot of work to become anything salvageable, or - as would be preferable - be burned and have its ashes scattered at a crossroads during a moonless night.

Other than that, welcome to the GA forum! :D
- Linda Äyrämäki, acting ambassador in the absence of miss Leveret
Araraukar's RP reality is Modern Tech solarpunk.

Giovenith wrote:And sorry hun, if you were looking for a forum site where nobody argued, you've come to wrong one.
Araraukar wrote:
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Kenmoria
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Postby Kenmoria » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:47 am

“The category for this is surprisingly clear. I suggest Education and Creativity - Cultural Heritage.”

(OOC: However, other parts of the proposal are less clear. For example, you have excluded arbitrarily certain types of artwork, for example: digital art, statues, installation art, land art and dyed art. I suggest putting in a more inclusive definition. Also, your first clause is overly broad. For example, as Ara said, it would ban archaeology in its entirety, as well as possibly restoration.)
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Losthaven
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Postby Losthaven » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:21 am

We do not agree with the nonsense suggesting that this somehow prohibits archaeology. I'm not sure what's wrong with the clumsy archaeologists of Araraukar and Kenmoria but archaeologists generally are not vandalizing or destroying historical artwork, nor can what they do properly be described as "tampering" (see: to interfere so as to weaken or change for the worse; to try foolish or dangerous experiments with; to render something harmful or dangerous by altering its structure or composition). To the contrary, most archeologists go out of their way to avoid vandalizing, destroying, or tampering with things of historical significance.

Although we have not checked to see if this duplicates some of the other cultural heritage resolutions that already on the books, this is definitely not a bad idea! You should stick with it.

I do see a conceptual problem with allowing the deliberate vandalism or destruction of a historical artwork merely because "the owner of the artwork is a direct descendant of the original creator." Either allow any owner to destroy the artwork or prohibit destroying historical artwork regardless of ownership.
But it makes no sense to carve out an exception that would criminalize drawing a mustache on a Rembrandt portrait except by Reggie, because he owns the painting and he's Rembrandt's great- great- great- etc- great-grandson.
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Araraukar
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Postby Araraukar » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:22 am

Losthaven wrote:We do not agree with the nonsense suggesting that this somehow prohibits archaeology.

OOC: One word: pottery.
- Linda Äyrämäki, acting ambassador in the absence of miss Leveret
Araraukar's RP reality is Modern Tech solarpunk.

Giovenith wrote:And sorry hun, if you were looking for a forum site where nobody argued, you've come to wrong one.
Araraukar wrote:
Blueflarst wrote:a cosmopolitan hammer
United Massachusetts wrote:Can we all call ourselves "cosmopolitan hammers"?
Us cosmopolitan hammers
Can teach some manners
Often sorely lacking
Hence us attacking
Silly GA spammers

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The New California Republic
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Postby The New California Republic » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:25 am

Corrocium wrote:Defining a piece of historical artwork as a painting, sculpture, photograph, stained glass picture, pottery, or drawing over 250 years of age.

Is there any reason for that number, or is it purely arbitrary?
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Losthaven
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Postby Losthaven » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:27 am

Araraukar wrote:
Losthaven wrote:We do not agree with the nonsense suggesting that this somehow prohibits archaeology.

OOC: One word: pottery.

Archaeologists aren't going around smashing historical pottery. I think you need more than one word to make your point here because I'm not following how this law somehow prevents the study or examination of artifacts.

Edit:
The New California Republic wrote:
Corrocium wrote:Defining a piece of historical artwork as a painting, sculpture, photograph, stained glass picture, pottery, or drawing over 250 years of age.

Is there any reason for that number, or is it purely arbitrary?

I agree with this; the limit seems arbitrary. Why 250 years?
Last edited by Losthaven on Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Araraukar
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Postby Araraukar » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:57 am

Losthaven wrote:
Araraukar wrote:OOC: One word: pottery.

Archaeologists aren't going around smashing historical pottery. I think you need more than one word to make your point here because I'm not following how this law somehow prevents the study or examination of artifacts.

OOC: Arguments like this are obviously based on Real Life because that's the only thing either of us can veriably point to, but since its invention, pottery is everywhere that humans have ever lived in, and occasionally also in places they haven't (but have passed through). If you aren't allowed to in any way destroy or harm or tamper or whatever word you'd like to use, any pottery ever made, you'll be unable to dig anywhere humans have ever lived in (and you might not even know humans lived there, before you find a building site backhoe revealing the remains of an ancient fireplace - and if in doing so it also smashed some piece of pottery to bits, the backhoe operator is now a criminal, or at least will be if he doesn't think it's ancient enough, and keeps on working), as it's going to be nigh impossible to avoid damaging any bits of pottery.

Even cleaning an item is liable to cause damage, especially since sculptures are included, as they've been traditionally painted and the paint flakes off easily - know all the marble statues from ancient Greece and Roman empire days? they weren't white originally, they were painted really gaudily, but the paint has flaked off in the centuries since, and possibly even been intentionally cleaned off of them - not to mention restoration. And what if you're renovating the building and need to remove the artworks to a safer location and can't remove them (like, bolted down statues) without harming them, even if you tried to keep the harm to a minimum? And what counts as deliberate? If you accidentally drop something old and it breaks, does that make you a criminal? And then how do you count deliberation when without thought-reading you can't know if they intentionally dropped it or if it just slipped past their fingers entirely unintentionally?

There should be, at minimum, some clauses that exclude restoration and damage to the things (can't really use "items" if cave paintings are included) if the person damaging them doesn't know they're older than the arbitrary time limit. And also the owner-versus-descendant issue needs solving, especially as on ancient art the artist is rarely known and even on many well-known paintings attributed to a named artist, parts of the painting, like backgrounds, were usually done by someone else. Sometimes the named painter would even sign a student's work as their own if they thought it was good enough to pass off as their own. Who, then, is the rightful descendant?

Also, what happens in extreme situations, say a big earthquake? Are you allowed to damage artworks to save sapient lives?

EDIT: On the age issue; NOT easy to tell, for a layman, the difference even between something buried for 50 years and something buried for 5000 years, as even professionals sometimes get confused. There's a comb-ceramic (around 5000 years old) era human settlement not far from where I live, and when it was found, it was at first assumed that the remains (yes, pottery was involved - the entire cultural era is named after the pottery typical to it) were from early 19th century. Turned out they were a tiny bit older.
Last edited by Araraukar on Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
- Linda Äyrämäki, acting ambassador in the absence of miss Leveret
Araraukar's RP reality is Modern Tech solarpunk.

Giovenith wrote:And sorry hun, if you were looking for a forum site where nobody argued, you've come to wrong one.
Araraukar wrote:
Blueflarst wrote:a cosmopolitan hammer
United Massachusetts wrote:Can we all call ourselves "cosmopolitan hammers"?
Us cosmopolitan hammers
Can teach some manners
Often sorely lacking
Hence us attacking
Silly GA spammers

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Losthaven
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Postby Losthaven » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:19 am

Araraukar wrote:OOC: Arguments like this are obviously based on Real Life because that's the only thing either of us can veriably point to, but since its invention, pottery is everywhere that humans have ever lived in, and occasionally also in places they haven't (but have passed through). If you aren't allowed to in any way destroy or harm or tamper or whatever word you'd like to use, any pottery ever made, you'll be unable to dig anywhere humans have ever lived in (and you might not even know humans lived there, before you find a building site backhoe revealing the remains of an ancient fireplace - and if in doing so it also smashed some piece of pottery to bits, the backhoe operator is now a criminal, or at least will be if he doesn't think it's ancient enough, and keeps on working), as it's going to be nigh impossible to avoid damaging any bits of pottery.

Even cleaning an item is liable to cause damage, especially since sculptures are included, as they've been traditionally painted and the paint flakes off easily - know all the marble statues from ancient Greece and Roman empire days? they weren't white originally, they were painted really gaudily, but the paint has flaked off in the centuries since, and possibly even been intentionally cleaned off of them - not to mention restoration. And what if you're renovating the building and need to remove the artworks to a safer location and can't remove them (like, bolted down statues) without harming them, even if you tried to keep the harm to a minimum? And what counts as deliberate? If you accidentally drop something old and it breaks, does that make you a criminal? And then how do you count deliberation when without thought-reading you can't know if they intentionally dropped it or if it just slipped past their fingers entirely unintentionally?

There should be, at minimum, some clauses that exclude restoration and damage to the things (can't really use "items" if cave paintings are included) if the person damaging them doesn't know they're older than the arbitrary time limit. And also the owner-versus-descendant issue needs solving, especially as on ancient art the artist is rarely known and even on many well-known paintings attributed to a named artist, parts of the painting, like backgrounds, were usually done by someone else. Sometimes the named painter would even sign a student's work as their own if they thought it was good enough to pass off as their own. Who, then, is the rightful descendant?

Also, what happens in extreme situations, say a big earthquake? Are you allowed to damage artworks to save sapient lives?

You may be right that the proposal needs some work but that doesn't make a proposal to protect historic artwork a bad idea. The archaeology complaint is still nonsense: the proposal, even in its current rough form, criminalizes only the "deliberate tampering, vandalism, or destruction" of historical artwork. Archaeologists take precautions at a dig site to avoid harming any buried pottery or other artifacts.
Say what you will about the effectiveness of those precautions; the archaeologists certainly are not deliberately trying to maim or destroy buried historical artwork.

Same goes for your "cleaning" example and most of the others in that paragraph: if you crack a statute while cleaning it, chip some paint while trying a delicate restoration, or drop something accidentally you haven't deliberately destroyed it. "Deliberate" does have an easy-to-ascertain meaning and it's really not so ambiguous as you suggest. It means you've thought about what you're doing ahead of time and are now acting intentionally as part of a preconceived plan.

You may have a point about needing to deliberately damage something for a legitimate purpose, like unbolting a statute to move it if you know that you will likely cause some damage to the statute in the process. As you note, that's nothing an appropriate exception couldn't fix, such as an exception for any action motivated in good-faith to preserve or protect the artwork.

I could be wrong, but I'm not sure I would address extreme situations like a priceless statute falling on top of a little girl in an earthquake. The nations that would vote against this proposal on the grounds that it would require them to sit by helplessly and just let the girl die are the kind that will find a reason to object no matter what you do. But if you were going to address it, you could make it an affirmative defense to show that the tampering, destruction, or vandalism(?) is not criminal if it is necessary to avoid injury or loss of life.
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Araraukar
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Postby Araraukar » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:33 am

Losthaven wrote:the archaeologists certainly are not deliberately trying to maim or destroy buried historical artwork.

OOC: No, but they do deliberately tamper with aka alter them from the way they are found. I didn't know that fourth noun meaning for the word. That will be my Awesome Thing I Learned Today for today.

and it's really not so ambiguous as you suggest. It means you've thought about what you're doing ahead of time and are now acting intentionally as part of a preconceived plan.

And "deliberate tampering" pretty much describes the whole field of practical archaeology. If the proposal was only about deliberate destruction, then I wouldn't have as big an issue with it.

I could be wrong, but I'm not sure I would address extreme situations like a priceless statute falling on top of a little girl in an earthquake.

I was thinking more of like, say, the Sistine chapel collapses, parts of the ceiling stay intact and protect people from being crushed to death. Are you allowed to break it apart to get the people out, knowing the underside is covered by Michelangelo's paintings?

But if you were going to address it, you could make it an affirmative defense to show that the tampering, destruction, or vandalism(?) is not criminal if it is necessary to avoid injury or loss of life.

What about loss of property? Fires are a thing that happens, too. Are you allowed to break through an old church stained glass window - knowing it to be older than the arbitrary time limit - to be able to get firehoses inside? (Presumably you'd try do as minimal damage as possible, but the proposal currently makes no difference between completely destroying it and doing minimal harm.)

In general some kind "in case of dire emergency or catastrophe or war" exception should be added (in addition to allowing some harming to save the rest of the thing).
- Linda Äyrämäki, acting ambassador in the absence of miss Leveret
Araraukar's RP reality is Modern Tech solarpunk.

Giovenith wrote:And sorry hun, if you were looking for a forum site where nobody argued, you've come to wrong one.
Araraukar wrote:
Blueflarst wrote:a cosmopolitan hammer
United Massachusetts wrote:Can we all call ourselves "cosmopolitan hammers"?
Us cosmopolitan hammers
Can teach some manners
Often sorely lacking
Hence us attacking
Silly GA spammers

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Losthaven
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Founded: Dec 31, 2014
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Postby Losthaven » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:58 am

Araraukar wrote:
Losthaven wrote:the archaeologists certainly are not deliberately trying to maim or destroy buried historical artwork.

OOC: No, but they do deliberately tamper with aka alter them from the way they are found. I didn't know that fourth noun meaning for the word. That will be my Awesome Thing I Learned Today for today.

and it's really not so ambiguous as you suggest. It means you've thought about what you're doing ahead of time and are now acting intentionally as part of a preconceived plan.

And "deliberate tampering" pretty much describes the whole field of practical archaeology. If the proposal was only about deliberate destruction, then I wouldn't have as big an issue with it.

I mean, I think we're at an impasse and should probably just agree to disagree on this one. But I can't help myself so, briefly: I don't think moving something from where it is found alters it in a way that can be considered tampering, and anyway, it is actually one of the principles of archaeological ethics to avoid moving in situ artifacts so I certainly don't think you can say deliberate tampering with artifacts is "the whole field" of practical archaeology.

Araraukar wrote:
I could be wrong, but I'm not sure I would address extreme situations like a priceless statute falling on top of a little girl in an earthquake.

I was thinking more of like, say, the Sistine chapel collapses, parts of the ceiling stay intact and protect people from being crushed to death. Are you allowed to break it apart to get the people out, knowing the underside is covered by Michelangelo's paintings?

But if you were going to address it, you could make it an affirmative defense to show that the tampering, destruction, or vandalism(?) is not criminal if it is necessary to avoid injury or loss of life.

What about loss of property? Fires are a thing that happens, too. Are you allowed to break through an old church stained glass window - knowing it to be older than the arbitrary time limit - to be able to get firehoses inside? (Presumably you'd try do as minimal damage as possible, but the proposal currently makes no difference between completely destroying it and doing minimal harm.)

In general some kind "in case of dire emergency or catastrophe or war" exception should be added (in addition to allowing some harming to save the rest of the thing).

If the author finds these concerns persuasive, they can be easily address with a provision clarifying that it is an affirmative defense to the crime described by this resolution that the person destroying, vandalizing, or tampering with a piece of historical artwork did so as a reasonable, necessary measure in response to a dire emergency or catastrophe of war.
Last edited by Losthaven on Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Araraukar
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Postby Araraukar » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:09 am

Losthaven wrote:defense to the crime

OOC: It shouldn't be a crime in the first place!

Perhaps some "emergency services" excuse would work - like not creating criminals out of firemen or healthcare emergency workers or police, if they need to mess something up to do their job. Then private citizens could use that (as in, they were "de facto emergency services" at the time, because the ones with authority couldn't get there in time) as their defence. But you shouldn't have to put firemen through a trial just because they needed to make a split second choice between saving lives and preserving an old piece of art.
- Linda Äyrämäki, acting ambassador in the absence of miss Leveret
Araraukar's RP reality is Modern Tech solarpunk.

Giovenith wrote:And sorry hun, if you were looking for a forum site where nobody argued, you've come to wrong one.
Araraukar wrote:
Blueflarst wrote:a cosmopolitan hammer
United Massachusetts wrote:Can we all call ourselves "cosmopolitan hammers"?
Us cosmopolitan hammers
Can teach some manners
Often sorely lacking
Hence us attacking
Silly GA spammers

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Losthaven
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Founded: Dec 31, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Losthaven » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:20 am

Araraukar wrote:
Losthaven wrote:defense to the crime

OOC: It shouldn't be a crime in the first place!

Perhaps some "emergency services" excuse would work - like not creating criminals out of firemen or healthcare emergency workers or police, if they need to mess something up to do their job. Then private citizens could use that (as in, they were "de facto emergency services" at the time, because the ones with authority couldn't get there in time) as their defence. But you shouldn't have to put firemen through a trial just because they needed to make a split second choice between saving lives and preserving an old piece of art.

I disagree; I think the person breaking up the Sistine Chapel with a pick-axe should have the burden of explaining why they're doing that. It may be obvious in a given situation that the defense would apply and prosecutors would be wise to drop charges in such cases. But making general criminal laws like "don't kill people" or "don't destroy historical art" and then carving out justification or exception defenses for people who do those things under forgivable circumstances is a reasonable system of criminal law.

Edit: But that said, I definitely do agree with Ara that this proposal needs quite a bit of work before it would be something I could vote for.
Last edited by Losthaven on Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Once a great nation, a true superpower; now just watching the world go by

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Araraukar
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Founded: May 14, 2007
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Araraukar » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:17 am

Losthaven wrote:It may be obvious in a given situation that the defense would apply and prosecutors would be wise to drop charges in such cases. But making general criminal laws like "don't kill people" or "don't destroy historical art" and then carving out justification or exception defenses for people who do those things under forgivable circumstances is a reasonable system of criminal law.

OOC: Yet many resolutions make an exception for authorities when they're doing their job, so it's not like that's an unheard of concept either. And doesn't require unnecessary criminal proceedings (as many nations would likely have national laws about, say, suspending police officers suspected of a crime, whether or not acquittal would be automatic).
- Linda Äyrämäki, acting ambassador in the absence of miss Leveret
Araraukar's RP reality is Modern Tech solarpunk.

Giovenith wrote:And sorry hun, if you were looking for a forum site where nobody argued, you've come to wrong one.
Araraukar wrote:
Blueflarst wrote:a cosmopolitan hammer
United Massachusetts wrote:Can we all call ourselves "cosmopolitan hammers"?
Us cosmopolitan hammers
Can teach some manners
Often sorely lacking
Hence us attacking
Silly GA spammers


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