Monthly Archives: October 2015

Sara Ross

China to review film censorship standards

Still from Laborer's Love - the oldest surviving Chinese-produced film

Still from Laborer’s Love (1922), the oldest-known surviving Chinese-produced film

The People’s Republic of China has begun steps to review the nation’s heavy censorship of film creation, production, and distribution. China is set to overtake the United States as the largest consumer of feature films within two years, but the power of the Chinese film market can already be seen rearing its head. For instance, take a look at the current Box Office Mojo list of the world’s highest grossing films and you’ll find that of the 3 films that entered the top 6 entries of the all-time grossing list during 2015, China was the highest grossing foreign market by 230% for Jurassic World, by 3 to 1 for Age of Ultron, and China raked in even more than the United States for Furious 7, which pushed that film to become the 5th highest grossing film ever. It was a big year for the movie business in 2015 and China was one of the biggest reasons for this.

When it comes to film production, China remains a black box in terms of censorship, but this is something that Reuters News Service is reporting is about to change. In addition to new economic incentives to drive film production, they quote the official Chinese news service Xinhua, stating that the government is considering creating open and concrete film examination standards, with the goal of supporting the “freedom to produce films.” This could signal a significant step away from the country’s 2001 ban on any broadcast material seen as contrary to state goals or “national traditions”; pretty much the kind of material we have come to term “Oscar bait” on this side of the Atlantic. But the draft law being considered in China signifies the growing power of art and art commerce in the Chinese Republic, and hopefully, its link to the growing push for more freedom within the country.

Sara Ross

The Fashion Law Institute boot camp applications open

Fashion Law Institute logo

The Fashion Law Institute has opened the application period for its 2016 Fashion Law Boot Camp. The event will be held in two locations, with one boot camp held in New York City between May 24th and June 3rd, 2016 and the San Francisco camp occurring during August 2016. The program, run by Professor Susan Scafidi, one of the pioneers of fashion law, is open to both professionals and students. If you are interested in a career in Fashion Law, this is one of the world’s only opportunities to learn from industry insiders and develop your skills. An excerpt of the program’s description goes as follows:

Bootcamp will explore diverse areas that affect the fashion industry and are at the heart of the Fashion Law Institute, including intellectual property, business and finance, international trade and government regulation, and consumer culture and civil rights. Within these categories, specific topics include the protection of fashion designs, counterfeiting, licensing agreements, fashion financing, garment district zoning, real estate, employment issues from designers to models, consumer protection, sustainability and green fashion, import/export regulations, sumptuary laws, and dress codes.

To read more about the upcoming 6th edition of the event, you can visit the Institute’s website here.

Sara Ross

Upcoming Law, Religion & Social Thought talk: “The Everyday Life of Religious Difference: Governing Religion in Quebec”

Barras event poster November 2, 2015

On November 2, 2015, York University Professor Amélie Barras will be providing a lecture entitled “The Everyday Life of Religious Difference: Governing Religion in Quebec” as a part of the Osgoode Colloquim on Law, Religion & Social Thought. The lecture will take place between 12:30pm and 2:00pm in Room 2027 at Osgoode Hall Law School. Part of the abstract for the talk reads as follows:

What is the impact of this discourse of request on how we think about religion and religious pluralism? This talk discusses how this discourse carries expectations regarding the forms Islam takes in Canada, as well as how Muslims should act and perform their faith … it explores to what extent this discourse reflects and influences the everyday experience of devout Muslims. Ultimately, the talk argues that this discourse overlooks the complexity of how they work out, with themselves and with others, their religious practices and commitments.

To attend, your RSVP is required at the website with the event code: LRST12

Sara Ross

Bank of America Museum Grants

Prometheus by Orozco

Prometheus by José Clemente Orozco

Every year the Bank of America, as a part of their Art Conservation Project, provides grants to museums so that they can restore antique works of art that would otherwise enter a state of deterioration. This year grants were awarded to museums in Japan, Turkey, Brazil, Qatar, Mexico, the UK and the United States. Art works set to receive restoration include the Édouard Manet Impressionist masterpiece Woman in Evening Dress, modern American Indian sculptures, Enclosed Field with Ploughman by Vincent van Gogh and Mexican revolutionary murals by José Clemente Orozco.

Orozco was a part of the Mexican Muralist movement headed by Diego Rivera, and this year’s grant goes in part to helping restore the political and countercultural work of both Orozco and many of his contemporaries. Orozco specifically was credited with helping to bring the Mexican Muralist revolutionary movement to the United States, working in New York City through the late 1920s and 1930s, in addition to painting the first Mexican Muralist work to be produced outside of Mexico.

You can read more about each of the grant winners at the Bank of America site here.

Sara Ross

Call for Papers: Sub/Urbanizing Austerity: Impacts and Alternatives

Alternate Routes journal header

Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research has announced a call for papers for its upcoming conference “Sub/Urbanizing Austerity: Impacts and Alternatives”, occurring at York University on March 18, 2016. All papers submitted to the conference will be considered for publication in the journal. The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2015, by which you must submit a 300 word abstract of the paper you wish to present and a brief biography. According to the journal:

The goal of this conference is to explore how sub/urban and regional austerity measures have altered fiscal arrangements, social services provisioning, labour-management relations, socio-political and electoral landscapes. Alternate Routes and the City Institute at York University (CITY) are seeking critical submissions that advance or challenge theoretical approaches, explore how different social and community groups have been affected, and alternative public policies to austerity.

The full call for papers can be read here.

Sara Ross

IPinCH Knowledge Base – a cultural heritage research archive

IPinCH logo

IPinCH logo

The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage: Theory, Practice, Policy Ethics project has developed a Knowledge Base. According to the site, the Knowledge Base is “a searchable online repository and archive” of documents that were discovered over the course of the project’s execution. This database, freely accessible to the public, is the result of the project that is “concerned with the theoretical, ethical, and practical implications of commodification, appropriation, and other flows of knowledge about the past, and how these may affect communities, researchers, and other stakeholders.” Run out of Simon Fraser University, you can access this expansive archive here:

Sara Ross

The Rise of the Canadian Art Law Clinic

CJAM logo

For a long time, the Clinique Juridique des Artistes de Montreal provides free legal information to the artistic community, so that they have access to the kind of legal help that is often outside of their financial reach. Founded in 2008 by counsel Keith Serry, a fellow McGill Law grad, the organization has flourished over the last five years, eventually bringing on co-Director Olivier Plessis and handfuls of other Montreal lawyers. Since then, similar organizations have begun to pop up, including the 2011 founding of Artists’ Legal Services Ottawa by April Britski, Rachelle Laforge, and Yael Wexler.

The application of the law to artists and culture can often create insurpassable obstacles for those living on an artist’s salary. This also includes how strongly artists can enforce the contracts they’ve signed that are supposed to provide them with the royalties upon which they live. The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law undergraduate program has a similar clinic, the Artists’ Legal Advice Services, focusing on entertainment law.

To read more about the organizations or get involved, you can visit them here:


or here:

Sara Ross

Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection

ARCA logo

The Association for Research into Crimes Against Art has opened its early application period for the 2016 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, through November 15, 2015. The general application period will then continue from November 16, 2015 to January 1, 2016, where applications will be adjudicated for the remaining spots, depending on housing availability. The 2016 program will take place between May 27, 2016 and August 15, 2016, in its traditional home of Amelia, Italy. This is one of the only programs of its kind in the world, described this year as:

In its 8th year, this academically intensive ten-week program provides in-depth, postgraduate level instruction in a wide variety of theoretical and practical elements of art and heritage crime. During the summer students will explore art crime in history, its nature, its impact, and what is currently being done to mitigate it. Students completing the onsite courses and a final thesis earn a postgraduate certificate under the guidance of internationally renowned cultural property protection professionals.

This year’s courses will include “The High Stakes World of Art Policing, Protection and Investigation”, “The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers and Thieves”, “Antiquities and Identity”, and the immediately relevant in our day and age, “Art Crime in War”, among others. The program also requires the submission of a thesis project based upon your time here. In addition, the Association will be holding its Annual Summer Art Crime Conference between June 24-26, 2016, where students will be able to mix with art crime scholars from all over the world.

You can read more about this year’s program at their website:

Or contact them directly by email at: education (at)

Sara Ross

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act


Over the past several months you may have seen Internet chatter about a new Canadian “tip line” on social media, pertaining to the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act. This act was passed as Bill S-7 by the Conservative-majority Parliament in June 2015, and received royal assent. Officially, the law is “An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts”. The title of the act has been seen as insensitive at best (and racially charged at worst). Though the campaign promise made by the previous government to establish a Canada-wide “tip line” to support the Act does not appear to be on the agenda of the current government, the Bill itself is still becoming law. Here is what you need to know about Bill S-7 :

Part one of the act, which amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, makes any foreign national or permanent resident inadmissible to Canada if they are found to have engaged in polygamy on Canadian soil (the practice of being married to more than one individual).

Part two of the act, which amends the Civil Marriage Act, creates new legal requirements for a person’s consent to marriage, including new requirements regarding the dissolution of previous marriages before executing a new one. It also sets the minimum age for marriage in Canada at 16 years of age.

Part three, which amends the Criminal Code, clarifies the Code to ensure it is a criminal offense for an officiant to knowingly wed two people in contravention of federal law, that it is a criminal offense to knowingly “celebrate, aid or participate in a marriage rite or ceremony” for someone beneath the age of 16, that it is a criminal offense to remove a child from Canada in order to contravene these laws, that a judge can “order a person to enter into a recognizance with conditions” that prevent that person from breaching these laws, as well as amendments to the Prisons and Reformatories Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

You can read the full Bill here at the Parliament of Canada’s website.

Sara Ross

New Obiter Dicta column on Legal Television

Obiter Dicta logo

This year the Osgoode Hall undergraduate newspaper Obiter Dicta will be running a new column of articles entitled TV L Rev, described as “a bi-weekly roundup of legal television” in which writers (starting with the October 13th piece by Henry Limheng) will provide a run-down of that period’s legally-oriented scripted television, including reviews of each episode. The first article focused on the debuts of the shows How To Get Away with Murder and The Grinder, making a comment that other articles would include reviews of other shows including Suits and The Good Wife, in addition to others as they arise through the television season. You can read the first of this series of articles here, and find future articles as they arise at