Citizens' Issues
“No, Sir, It’s Not Mine!”
“I swear, I don’t even know her.”
 
We have seen it before. The most recent denials being that of a politician and a footballer. DNA is proving many errant, rich hedonists, to be the lawfully-conceiving paters. Now it’s, “Hi, Dad! Long time, no see.” PS. “What about my inheritance?”
 
Some call a child a creation, God’s gift, even if not legitimate. There are other creations. A letter is one. A cooked dish is a fabulous creation; especially if it’s Mom’s. So is a woven tapestry. A cupboard, a table and the chair. Huts, buildings, castles, towers, magnificent bridges—all are technically ‘creations’.
 
Paintings, as creations, are a constant source of dispute. Except Pablo Picasso, and maybe the self-exiled MF Husain, one hardly remembers an artist making a pile in his lifetime. All masters are usually venerated only after death. That is the time when the legitimacy, or illegitimacy, of their paintings is put to the test. 
 
Not knowing a Constable from a Rembrandt, this writer would be hard-pressed to determine the authenticity of a painting. One has to study brush strokes, chemicals and the type of paint used, the canvas or backing, or some other arcane stuff. These are the tell-tale marks that separate an original from a fake, a copy. Masters’ assistants have been known to duplicate, both style and tools, to create original counterfeits. 
 
You be the judge on this mystery about one such ‘masterpiece’.
 
A painter’s works fetch millions of dollars. One painting is put up for sale by one Robert Fletcher, who claims certain evidence in favour of genuineness. He says that he was a parole officer in the mid-1970s; a convicted man named Peter Doig had painted the art piece in question and that he had seen Doig paint it. 
 
Peter Doig, now famous as a multi-million-dollar artist, refuted all that Fletcher said. He denied that he was ever in jail. He did not use those materials or canvas, in this case, in the 1970s. Moreover, a man named Pete Doige (with the extra ‘e’ in the second name), was in jail at the suggested time and had been painting there. According to Doig, the painting was not his, and he had not sold it to Fletcher for ‘a hundred bucks’. In short, he was not the ‘father’.
 
Before we answer this riddle, it may be wise to consider the alternatives. Doige, the convict, sells a painting to Fletcher while in jail. Did Fletcher know of the similarity in names and thought he could make a few millions after 40 years, by selling a fake? Did Doige, the incarcerated, know of the real Doig and sold canvasses in that name? Was it really a Doig, discarded by the painter in a huff, not happy with the work? Many masters have been known to do that, just as writers tear up page after page. Who, and what, is right?
 
The law has thought of these possibilities and the US has a statute in place. But it was meant to weed out fakes when the artist was dead. Experts, judges and juries were to decide on the validity of claims. Now, here was a man disclaiming ‘paternity’, a man very much alive.
 
The Visual Artists Rights Act allows an artist to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of “any work which has been distorted, mutilated, or modified,” so as not to be prejudicial to the artist’s standing. So, when he says, ‘Not mine’, what are the authorities supposed to do? Does the present owner have a priceless canvas in his hands, or just a piece of cloth?
 
In India, we have procedures to check the authenticity, or otherwise, of signatures. If a person claims a sign, even an ‘X’, as his, it is accepted. If he disputes the signature, 27 samples are taken. They are analysed by the approved forensic laboratory and its report presented to the court, where an almighty battle ensues about the validity of the report itself. Then, what about a painting, or a sculpture, or a showpiece? Whose word is to be taken as the truth and who decides?
 
What if someone, going through ancient manuscripts, found a da Vinci note that said that his student had wasted time on the painting of a woman with a road, a bridge and a volcano behind her? Will the Louvre close down and Paris lose its charm? OMG!
 
The author swears he did not ‘create’ the article above. Wanna prove he did?
 

User

Amazon to soon refund $70 mn of in-app purchases for illegally billing users
New York, Amazon has decided to refund up to $70 million to its users, a move that comes a year after the company was found guilty of illegally billing users for unauthorised in-app purchases.
 
The in-app charges occurred from purchases made by kids when playing with freemium apps. 
 
A US federal court in 2016 ruled that Amazon had failed to "clearly inform parents that free apps may still include in-app purchases, and did not provide enough notice and password requirements to prevent unwanted charges."
 
According to a report in Verge on Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimated that parents were charged upwards of $70 million between November 2011 and May 2016.
 
According to the FTC, Amazon will begin is refund programme "shortly". 
 
In November 2016, Amazon had requested a US district court that it would make refunds in form of gift cards, but the request was rejected. 
 
It is, therefore, expected that the company will refund affected customers money back directly to their debit or credit card, or through paper checks.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Litigant Rapped for Delaying Tactics
The judiciary is the third arm of democracy, after the executive and the legislature. It is the judiciary that comes to the rescue of harried citizens when they are victims of State excesses or State neglect. Similarly, the judiciary plays an important role in adjudicating personal, commercial and property-related disputes. The elaborate structure of the judiciary in the form of various...
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