Writing at the NY Times Opinionator Blog, William Cohan says yes, it's "utterly unregulated." The Art Market Monitor begs to differ:
"This handy art world cliche is silly. The art world is governed by all the rules and regulations of the commercial code. . . . The authenticity of art is regulated by a vast network of scholars and museums. The case of the Norsigian negatives is a terrific example of how well the system works with a hive of experts appearing instantaneously to dismantle claims and offer a convincing alternative theory."
Speaking of the Norsigian negatives, the NYT reports today that "The Ansel Adams Publishing Trust, which controls the licensing rights to Adams’s work, filed a federal trademark infringement suit Monday in San Francisco as part of an effort to block the sale of prints by Rick Norsigian, a Fresno contractor who bought the negatives 10 years ago for $45. The suit argues that Mr. Norsigian and a consulting firm run by his lawyer, Arnold Peter, have 'acted knowingly, willfully and with malice' in marketing the negatives as Adams’s work."
Finally, in related, and breaking, news: Why You Can't Always Trust Art Dealers.