Art Journal Legal Settlement
The Fall 2007 issue of Art Journal (vol. 66, no. 3) published a book review by Joseph Massad that, inter alia, contained a section relating to Palestinian Art by Gannit Ankori. In February 2008, the College Art Association, publisher of Art Journal, received a letter from Professor Ankori’s United Kingdom solicitors alleging that the review was defamatory of her. CAA investigated these allegations thoroughly and reviewed all possible responses in consultation with legal counsel.
In evaluating all of the information and other relevant factors, CAA decided to settle the matter. We take this opportunity now of letting our membership know of our decision. As part of the settlement, we, as publishers, will be printing an apology and errata notice in an upcoming issue of Art Journal. In this capacity, CAA is also continuing its commitment to respect the distinct responsibilities of publisher and editor.
In any legal matter such as this, there will be many points of view and, naturally, we understand some will be concerned with CAA’s actions just as there will be some that will affirm our judgment. Board deliberations consider all relevant aspects of an issue, including how they affect CAA’s financial ability to provide the services and programs that sustain dialogue within CAA as well as the association’s important and fundamental philosophical and professional principles. CAA is constantly made aware, for example, of the association’s dual commitment to advocate for freedom of speech and to maintain access to speech. The latter is one of the most powerful services that CAA provides through its publications and programs, and it prioritizes this in its budget.
As CAA has resolved this issue, we have continued CAA’s commitment to its membership in the association’s active publishing program, development of member services, and planning for next year’s Annual Conference, among many activities. As CAA continues to take steps to ensure the financial stability and health that sustain it in the long term, CAA remains committed to the shared goal of maintaining the creative and scholarly debate that characterizes the best in our organization.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. Should you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Paul Jaskot (President) or Linda Downs (Executive Director) at any time.
On July 24, 2008, CAA held an editorial workshop to discuss the advantages and legal risks of publishing—journals, websites, conference sessions, publications, and the like—in an international environment, and to explore protective practices and policies that could be considered by CAA in the future. The workshop brought together legal experts, censorship experts, free-speech advocates, and commercial and university-press publishers together with members of the CAA Board of Directors, the editors and reviews editors of Art Journal, The Art Bulletin, and caa.reviews, and CAA staff.
CAA has prepared and is making available this summary of the workshop discussion to inform CAA and its members, as well as other organizations and individuals, when considering these issues. These notes do not represent CAA policy, nor do they constitute legal advice. CAA hopes, however, that they will be of use to authors and editors in developing and implementing appropriate editorial processes in connection with their publishing activities.
Authors Guild, “Rules, Britannia! The Growing, Chilling Reach of Commonwealth Libel Laws.”
Jennifer Howard, “News Analysis: U.S. Librarians, Authors, and Publishers Weigh the Chilling Effects of ‘Libel Tourism,’” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 25, 2008.
Published in May 2008.