In any art fraud, it is always the individual sellers and the dealers who are the subject of prosecution, not the artist. In fact the laws that are related to forgery and art frauds are quite weak when compared to trademark infringements which are another type of fraud. Generally, there are rare instances only of art fraud convictions unless it is clubbed with some other offense such as breach of contract or mail fraud or issuance of bogus certificates of authenticity (COA).
If you are planning to seek prosecution against an art forger and take the help of a property conveyancer in Melbourne or wherever else for that matter, there are some factors that should be kept in mind.
- Opt for civil prosecution over criminal prosecution because as an art buyer, you are then more likely to get your money back and be compensated.
- It has to be proved that you have been a victim of art forgery. The court has to be informed that you have been taken in and spurred to make a purchase because you believed bogus facts about the artwork or certain facts about it were intentionally withheld from you.
- You have suffered a financial loss and that amount has to be specifically worked out.
- The art forger who victimised you should be aware that a fraud has been intentionally committed. This is the most difficult part as art forgers choose to play dumb in court on this score.
Keeping these things in mind, what are the factors that a court will take into account while passing judgement on art forgery?
The first thing that will be taken into account is whether there was truly a financial loss and if so to what extent. If it is a few hundred dollars, your plea might not get entertained at all. Generally a $2000 and above loss will be considered but then too you have to get truly experienced civil side conveyancing lawyers in Melbourne or those practising in your jurisdiction to swing the case on your behalf.
The next is establishing the identity of the art forger. This is very difficult because the person who sold the forged art need not necessarily be the creator of the forged art. Hence, the dealer who sold it to you will argue that he/she was not aware that it was a fake. In such cases, it is very difficult to prove that the seller had intent to deceive you.
These are some of the basic legal aspects related to fraudulent works of art.