Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Unfortunately, such silence is not an isolated incident but part of what seems to be a growing trend nationwide among art experts, where fear of litigation seems to be stifling open, honest and constructive debate."

William D. Cohan writes about the "deeply and profoundly disturbing" "ongoing self-censorship among a group of highly regarded art scholars" regarding "a questionable multimillion-dollar trade in sculptures supposedly by Edgar Degas" (on which, start here).  They "are keeping mum not because they have doubts about the accuracy of their opinions or their facts, but because they are afraid of being sued."

He says "one idea being bandied about ... is to convene a symposium that will allow all sides of the debate to air their views in a 'litigation-free zone,' if you will."  To which lawprof Ann Althouse responds:  "Discussion in a litigation-free zone... what a concept! As if, in some later lawsuit, a judge would exclude evidence of these statements under some new 'litigation-free zone' privilege."