A Culture Of Plagiarism?

“We have become a culture of borrowers—musicians sample, painters appropriate, computerists worship open-source software. Cool. The problem is that at the same time we’ve forged a society in which misrepresentation is routine, encouraged, obligatory. For all her sweet Hogwarts dreams, an observant, canny, IvyWised-up kid is bound to draw certain conclusions about the way the real world works. She might have noticed, for instance, that the “announced” first printing of her novel was 100,000, about twice the number that shipped—and if she asked why, she would’ve learned that 100 percent exaggeration is simply publishing’s rule of thumb.”

Conductor Of The People

David Robertson is one year into his tenure as music director of the once-beleagured St. Louis Symphony, and the reviews, both at home and on the road, have been good. But Robertson has always been known for his desire to connect with the larger community, and so, as the SLSO begins to promote its next season, he has taken to holding “town hall meetings” to which SLSO patrons are invited for the purpose of grilling their music director, even if they just want to complain about all the new music he’s programming.

England’s Most Intimate Theatre Company

For 25 years, Cheek by Jowl has been one of Europe’s most innovative and challenging theatre troupes, and has become a mainstay at festivals across the continent. Now, as the company prepares to settle down for a three-year residency at London’s Barbican Centre, its founders are reflecting on what has kept the group’s work fresh over the years. “Togetherness is this company’s calling card, an intense yet informal rapport between actor and actor, actor and audience, and ultimately the symbiotic relationship between Declan Donnellan the director and Nick Ormerod the designer, British theatre’s savviest couple.”

More Legal Headaches For DaVinci?

A Roman Catholic cardinal who was on the shortlist to become pope last year is hinting at potential legal action that could be taken by the church against DaVinci Code author Dan Brown and the producers of the movie version of the controversial book. (Exactly what action that might be, the cardinal did not say.) Meanwhile, the two authors who unsuccessfully sued Brown for copyright infringement are having trouble coming up with their court-ordered share of Brown’s legal bills.

On The Trail Of The Art Smugglers

“Greek detectives arrive in London today for talks with Scotland Yard as Athens steps up its efforts to combat the international trade in smuggled antiquities. After the recent discovery of priceless relics in an Aegean island home, they hope the meeting will not only shed light on the murky business but also illuminate London’s role as a hub for traffickers.”

The Explorer, The Museum, and Another Controversy Over Ownership

The Royal Alberta Museum is scrambling to raise $1 million to buy a historic collection of native Canadian artifacts gathered by explorer James Carnegie when they hit the auction block in New York this week. “The museum fears the pieces of Canadian history will be dispersed among private collectors and institutions as the items are sold individually. But the sale is also coming under fire from the Minneapolis, Minn.-based American Indian Movement, which for years has likened Sotheby’s sale of native artifacts to Nazi theft of property from Jewish families during the Holocaust.”

Did Publisher’s Business Plan Contribute To Plagiarism Debacle?

“Since the downfall of Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard sophomore whose novel was yanked from stores and whose two-book contract was canceled by her publisher last week, attention has focused on Alloy Entertainment, the little-known book packager that shared the copyright with her. What has received scant notice is that the parent company, Alloy Media + Marketing, is not really in the publishing business. It is an advertising and marketing firm that specializes in selling stuff — and helping others sell stuff — to teenagers and preteens.”

South Africa Gets Back A Piece Of Its Art History

In the dark days of South Africa’s apartheid regime, poor black artists living in the township ghettos surrounding Johannesburg spent their lives creating work that no one asked for, and that the white minority ruling the country would never exhibit. But a few foreign collectors made a point of buying up what they could of the township art. “Now, in an unusual and well-orchestrated burst of generosity, these collectors are giving the art back to South Africa, helping to restore an important part of the country’s historical record.”

The Great eBay Art Robbery

“It was the scandal that rocked the internet. A seemingly worthless painting sold on eBay in early 2000 for $135,805 — all because buyers believed it might be the work of the 20th-century abstract painter Richard Diebenkorn. It wasn’t. Nor was the story behind the painting true… Before long the tangle of deceits that led to the historic sale began to unravel on the front pages of newspapers around the country.” Now, one of the perpetrators of the hoax has written a book to lay out his side of the story.