Fakes, forgeries and counterfeit artworks have always been crippling the art market and making everyone doubt the quality, origin and integrity of any piece online. As much as the authorities try to fight the illegal actions, it seems like the violators keep coming up with new ways to smuggle in a fake piece and get it through the art market. With the rise of modern technologies and online sales, the fraudsters are keen to take advantage of all the possibilities at hand, making more than 30% of all listings on online art marketplaces and e-commerce sites problematic. Art Fraud Insights strives to put an end to this criminal activity by launching a new platform that is designed to hunt down fakes and forgeries and clean up the unregulated online art marketplace.
A lucrative and profitable market such as the art market is naturally a very attractive area for fraudulent activities, and being online makes it even more accessible and easy to operate in. According to Colette Loll, the founder of the Washington, DC-based research and forensics firm, a highly organized network of internet sellers is amassing an incredible number of online sales. Even though the online art market is one of the fastest developing markets, with an expected 24% annual growth according to last year’s Hiscox report, it is still one of the least regulated markets and very much plagued by potential risks.
The Art and Artistic Legacy Protection Platform(AALP) plans to join forces with artists and artistic foundations to fight the criminal sales together. AALP will put maximum effort in going to the deepest, darkest corners of the web to find bogus sales and listings and unauthorized copies. Singapore-based Strategic IP Information, responsible for regulating online intellectual property violations, has teamed up with Colette Loll to create this platform which aims to hunt down and deal with illegal sales. The proprietary screening software scours the web and identifies problematic listings on e-commerce sites, mobile apps and even the social media. Once a problem is located, AALP alerts the client, immediately sends cease-and-desist letters to violators and seamlessly collaborates with lawyers to seek payment from them.
Even though there are already several companies which deal with artists’ copyrights and infringements, almost none of them have the technical firepower to reach all corners of the dark web for potentially stolen or forged works. Loll says that online fraud is not going away, and it seems like this problem cannot be solved immediately, at its root, but AALP can certainly diminish its effects and bring much-needed clarity in the online art market.
With forgeries and fakes becoming more advanced and difficult to discover, it is of utter importance for this platform to prevail. Criminals go as far as creating doctored certificates of authenticity and replicating works in an almost flawless manner, fooling almost any buyer – professional or amateur. One must always do extensive research and thorough background checking before any purchase, especially when it comes to online sales.