Some EU countries are now imposing stiff financial penalties on tourists who buy fake designer goods.

In France those caught buying fake designer clothes, sunglasses, sports gear, handbags and watches could face a fine of up to 300,000 euros (£260,000) or a three year prison sentence.

I have a pair of fake Chanel sunglasses. I do not dare go to France with them. Anyone who wishes me to have an authentic pair of Chanel sunglasses is welcome to send them to me.

New opposition to the Google settlement coming in from Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo.

Google reached the sweeping settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers in October. The two groups had sued Google for copyright infringement in 2005 over the company’s plan to digitize millions of books from libraries, alleging copyright violations. The agreement sets up a mechanism for Google, along with a registry operated by authors and publishers, to display and sell millions of books online.

Consumer groups also oppose:

According to Consumer Watchdog, because the settlement guarantees that Google would be offered the same terms from the Book Rights Registry that any competitor might receive, competitors would be discouraged from establishing a competing service. The most favored clause should be eliminated to remove barriers to entry, the letter states, adding that “it is inappropriate for the resolution of a class action lawsuit to effectively create an anti-compete clause.”

Stash of works by Frida Kahlo may be a big fat fake.

Princeton Architectural Press, which will soon publish a book of Kahlo’s oil paintings, diary entries and personal letters, says it has stumbled across “an astonishing lost archive of one of the 20th century’s most revered artists … full of ardent desires, seething fury, and outrageous humour.”

But news of the discovery has prompted a group of Kahlo scholars to denounce the items – which belong to an antique-dealing Mexican couple who bought them from a lawyer who got them from a woodcarver who claimed to have got them from Kahlo – as fakes.

Australia moves to protect the rights of exploited indigenous artists.

The code, updated from a draft version released in December, still accommodates non-cash transactions between dealers and artists. This includes paying for paintings with used vehicles and alcohol. The original draft would have prevented dealers from remunerating artists “with drugs or alcohol”. The reference to alcohol has been removed from the revised code, which states that unprofessional conduct includes paying for work with “drugs or illegal goods or services”.

Eyebrow raising truths of the art business. I have also been paid monies owed in the form of a used car. I still have the car. It’s a good car. It is the only time that person ever actually paid me fairly for anything.

In Spain, magicians go to war over the rights to magic tricks.

The magicians have asked Spanish lawyers to come up with ways of challenging the Masked Magician and his programme Magic Without Secrets in court, claiming that their favourite tricks should be protected by intellectual property laws.

British Equity hopes to get payments for exploited reality show contestants who receive nothing for appearing on the telly.

The motion will read: “The contestants in such programmes are often compelled to enter into restrictive contracts and because of a loophole in the National Minimum Wage Act for competitions they generally do not get paid.

“These programmes may be very popular with the public but are based on exploitation and humiliation of vulnerable people, which cannot be acceptable.

“The public’s demand for high-quality entertainment should be met by professional drama and light entertainment which has been replaced by this cheap exploitation.”

Another nutter hoped to attract attention for themselves by attacking the Mona Lisa.

This is far from being the first attempt to vandalize the Mona Lisa itself. Among other incidents, in 1956, a stone was thrown at it by a man disturbed at being forced into political exile from Bolivia.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz in hot water: she took out loans on her art, and can’t pay them back. Hat tip to Arlene Harris.

Ms. Leibovitz approached Art Capital, which is based in Manhattan, in June 2008, concerning her “dire financial condition” arising from “mortgage obligations, tax liens and unpaid bills to service providers and other creditors,” the suit alleges.

Ms. Leibovitz reportedly earns $3 million a year for her magazine work for Vanity Fair and Vogue and tens of thousands of dollars daily for commercial shoots.

British National Gallery (and other museums) claim copyright on fine arts long out of copyright.

U.S. law provides a precedent almost eerie in its similarity to the current controversy. In the late 1990s the Bridgeman Art Library Ltd., a British company that licenses fine art images, sued Corel Corp. for selling a CD-ROM featuring public-domain images taken in part from Bridgeman’s collection of copies. The company claimed that the effort, skill and judgment that went into making high-quality photos meant those images were covered by copyright, even though the paintings being copied were all of moldy vintage.

More at The BBC.

Meant to post this much earlier: Liability insurance for bloggers.

Upper East Side New York art dealer engages in big fat cheat to the tune of $88 million.

The Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, said the dealer, Lawrence B. Salander, sometimes sold the same painting to more than one buyer. Aides to Mr. Morgenthau said Mr. Salander sold one painting to three people, promising each a 50 percent share.

Victims of the fraudster include tennis player John McEnroe.

Fabulous Fakes pondered at the Boston Museum.

Strange things can happen when you’re a (sorta) public figure — and the Web encourages weirdness. Once someone altered my Wikipedia entry to read: “Greg Cook wrote many comics but all were rejected by the human society. He was later killed in 2001 because his works were so bad.”

Senate proposal may severely restrict internet freedoms.

A bill making its way through Congress proposes to give the U.S. government authority over all networks considered part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Under the proposed Cybersecurity Act of 2009, the president would have the authority to shut down Internet traffic to protect national security.

Please do feed the artist. My ebay auctions continue. I draw because my patrons pay me to!