Monday, August 25, 2008

THE REAL THING?, Artletic & Fine Art Registry’s AVARICE

UPDATED: August 30, 2008 with email correspondence, -below monograph-, to and from Fine Art Registry's Theresa Franks

NOTE: Footnotes enclosed with [FN ].

New York' s Babe Ruth
Taking Advanced Orders Now~ Babe Ruth Limited Edition Exclusive by Bruce Stark. Artletics is proudly introduces a Limited Edition Series commemorating Yankee Stadium’s final season by award- winning artist Bruce Stark, was a two-time winner of the National Cartoonist’s Rueben Category for “Best Sports Cartoonists of the Year” (1966, 1975) has been in retirement for 25 years from the New York Daily News. This is Mr. Stark’s first editorial style cartoon since his retirement and Artletics is honored to include the work of Bruce Stark as apart of our collection.
Black and White,Mixed Media,Giclee`
16" x 20" Limited Edition- $395.00”

The “Limited Edition Exclusive by Bruce Stark” titled New York’s Babe Ruth, being offered for sale as a "Black and White, Mixed Media, Giclee" at $395 each on Artletic’s website[FN 1], are actually -non-disclosed- reproduction/posters. Would you pay that much for a poster?

How can it be proven these are non-disclosed reproduction/posters?

This devastating fact is backhandedly confirmed in the small print (no pun intended) on the Artletic’s website itself, under the subtitle: “Giclee’ Care” (click on it and new webpage opens). In part, it states: “A Giclee print is an elevation in printmaking technology. The images are generated from high-quality resolution scans and printing with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art and photo-base papers.”[FN 2]
Any “images {that} are generated from high-quality resolution scans and print[ed]”[FN 3] would be -reproductions-.

This factual perspective is confirmed by U.S. Copyright Law § 101. Definitions which in part states: "A 'derivative work' is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as [an] - art reproduction."[FN 4]

Under U.S. Copyright Law § 106A, the “Right of Attribution - shall not apply to a reproduction.”[FN 5]

Additionally, under § 103. Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works, it states: "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work."[FN 6]

Which means in layperson terms, the artist owns their original artwork and the printer would own all the derivatives ie., reproductions they were authorized to reproduced from that artwork and would only be contractually obligated to give the artist the number of reproductions they paid for. In other words, the artist pays for 100, the artist gets 100.

The printer would not be contractually obligated to give the artist any plates, negatives, digital files and the like they manufactured to use to reproduce the artist's image, not to mention the overruns that most likely exist. That means, since the printer owns the derivative rights to the derivatives they reproduced, they could reproduce more reproductions, without the knowledge or permission of the artist.

In other words, if an artist doesn't know their rights, they have none, not to mention a so-called "limited edition."

This perspective is confirmed by the Printing Industries of America, Inc. in their 21st-century published Printing Trade Customs, which, in part, states: “6. PREPARATORY MATERIALS Working mechanical art, type, negatives, positives, flats, plates, and other items when supplied by the printer, shall remain his exclusive property unless otherwise agreed in writing.”[FN 7]

Now of course the artist may have asked the printer to reassign those reproduction rights incurred under U.S. Copyright Law by the printer back to the artist -in writing- as a condition for doing business with them. Most printers would gladly do it if asked, they just want the business. Of course, if the artist did get those reproductions rights reassigned back to them -in writing- and notarized from the printer, it would be a written admission by the artist they knew from the very beginning they were at best reproductions.

Which leads to Fine Art Registry’s published August 22, 2008 “Art, Inspiration and Integrity” article by FAR’s Dave Phillips. In part, the author wrote: “One of the most important aspects of Artletics, which conclusively sets it apart from any other publisher, or producer of sports memorabilia or art, is in the area of authenticity."[FN 8]

On page 127 of the Seventh Edition of Black's Law Dictionary, -authentication- is defined as: "Broadly, the act of proving that something (as a document) is true or geniune, esp. so that it may be admitted as evidence."[FN 9]

Fortunately, despite self interest and monetary considerations by Fine Art Registry and Artletic’s Managing Partner & Creative Director Joe Cioffi, artwork and reproductions are not interchangeable, much less the same.

So, what is the public to think when, in this article, Fine Art Registry’s Dave Phillips wrote: "Artletics has formed a partnership with Fine Art Registry and will be tagging {$2.25 each} and registering each Limited Edition Exclusive print before it is shipped. - This will protect the edition from being forged or faked in any way and owners will be secure that they have the real thing?”[FN 10]

In closing, if the above is an example on how Fine Art Registry and Artletic’s Managing Partner & Creative Director Joe Cioffi will protect the real thing, who will protect the public from them? 

Also link to:




4.  www.

5. Ibid

6. Ibid



Seventh Edition of Black's Law Dictionary, ISBN 0-314-22864


On page 93 of Randon House College Dictionary, -avarice- is defined as an: "insatiable greed for riches, inordinate desire to gain and hoard wealth." ISBN 0-394-43500-1

CORRESPONDENCE (to FAR's Theresa Franks):

August 27, 2008

Theresa Franks
Fine Art Registry®
Global Fine Art Registry, LLC.
3434 West Greenway Road, #200
Phoenix, AZ 85053

Note: Footnotes are enclosed with { }.

Dear Ms. Franks:

Your partner Jeff Cioffi’s Artletics’ website is selling non-disclosed reproductions.

As you recall, you called me last night concerning my posting “The Real Thing?, Artletics and Fine Art Registry’s Avarice{1}” monograph on my blog. In that telephone conversation, I stated the so-called Bruce Stark “New York’s Babe Ruth” Limited Edition Giclees were nothing more than -reproductions-.

You replied: “I agree with the majority of what you say,” but then you tried to excuse your business partner’s unethical practice and profit at the consumer’s expense because you state: “{Joe Cioffi} has worked his butt off,” “he is just starting out” and “{I} should give him my understanding.”

What I do understand is that you, Fine Art Registry Theresa Franks, just asked me to undermine everything I practice as an artist and document as a scholar so you and your business partner Joe Cioffi can cash-in selling non-disclosed reproductions to the unsuspecting public and perpetuate misconceptions and misrepresentation in the marketplace against legitimate artists, not to mention those who sell fully disclosed reproductions as reproductions.

As for Joe Cioffi “just starting out,” that is contradicted by your business partner’s own words, in an August 20, 2008 interview by Chris Tucci posted on the The Sports Artwork Forum blog. In part, Mr. Cioffi is quoted stating: “After being in business for five years. - the creation and growth for an online brand, like Artletics.”{2}

Additionally, in this interview, your business partner Joe Cioffi is quoted stating: “the state of the art in regards to type of print is Giclees. They reproduce beautifully and they last a lifetime.”{3}

Yet, despite Joe Cioffi’s admission giclees are reproductions, he does not disclose those reproductions as reproductions that he sells up to $395 or more, on his Artletics website{4}.

So, late yesterday afternoon Joe Cioffi called me concerning my posting “The Real Thing?, Artletics and Fine Art Registry’s Avarice” monograph on my blog. Throughout that conversation, I informed -repeatedly- to Mr. Cioffi that reproductions he sells must be disclosed as -reproductions-. Joe Cioffi’s response to that statement was, in part, to try to convince me that the memorabilia market was different.

Unfortunately, Joe Cioffi, despite his professed art background, exposed his lack of connoisseurship{5} when he asked me repeatedly how I reproduce my lithographs. The only problem, for Mr. Cioffi, lithographs are original works of visual art created by an artist and would -never- be trivialized as a reproduction. That perspective is confirmed by U.S. Customs regulations{6}, U.S. Copyright Law{7} and statutory law{8} and established published industry definitions{9} by those who have transparent agendas.

Since Fine Art Registry has partnered with Joe Cioffi and his Artletics company, I asked why FAR and you have not informed him to disclose reproductions as reproductions. You replied: “What it boils down to, we don’t enforce.”

Later, when I again repeated same issue of disclosing reproductions as reproductions, you stated: “I know what is right but it’s not my responsibility.I don’t advise. - I’ll help them.”

How can Fine Art Registry and you be partners, in promotion and profit, with Joe Cioffi and his Artletics website{10} and not, in part, be responsible?

Now, throughout my telephone conversation yesterday with Joe Cioffi, he kept repeating that giclees, offered for sale on his website, were limited editions and investments. So, I asked him whether he, the artist Bruce Sparks or anyone from Fine Art Registry witnessed the printing of the edition of 750 so-called giclees titled “New York’s Babe Ruth?”

Joe Cioffi said: -no-.

I immediately asked Joe Cioffi: how does anyone know there weren’t more reproduced than 750? He replied he never trusted an edition was limited and that one or more extras could have been printed.

Yet, under the subtitle “Artletics Difference in Authenticity” on Joe Cioffi’s Artletics website, it states: “Each Artletics Limited Edition piece comes hand numbered and signed by the artist. On the bottom left hand corner of your piece you get the security of FAR registration number to ensure your piece is authentic.”{11}

So, are we to suspend disbelief or just believe something is limited when those who promote it as such did not witness it’s printing, much less the security of the digital file used to reproduce it?

Then to add insult to injury, Fine Art Registry tagging system is promoted by Fine Art Registry to the public as being for works of art with no mention of reproductions you register also.

This skewed perspective is confirmed in Fine Art Registry published June 20, 2006 “The Fine Art Registry™ Tag, Not Just a Pretty Label” article by David Charles posted on your website, it states: “the tag also serves as an incontrovertible identifier by its absence. A work of art presented as an original which was in fact a forgery would be identified as such by the lack of a tag on work of art that would be recorded in the FAR registry by an artist who was known to have all his or her work registered. Similarly if a stolen piece had the tag removed completely by destroying the canvas or the matte or wherever the tag is applied.”{12}

How can a Fine Art Registry tag be an “incontrovertible identifier by its absence,” if FAR tagged reproductions were never identified as a reproductions to begin with?

Also, several times, in the late afternoon telephone conversation with Artletics Joe Cioffi, he asked would I remove the reference in my blog to the 750 Bruce Stark giclees as “reproduction/posters.” He told me that they were not posters. I informed him these giclees he is selling are reproductions, aside the subjective argument of quality, no different than posters reproduced.

Additionally, he asked if he would call them reproductions, would I remove my blog or remove what he felt were offensive references toward one of his artists {Bruce Sparks).

I told him I would commend those who would give full and honest disclosure to reproductions as reproductions.

Then finally at the end of our telephone conversation, Joe Cioffi asked whether I would consider consulting for him and that he would pay me. I told him absolutely not. I do not accept money because it could be characterized as coloring my scholarship.

Which is ironically very much how you ended our telephone conversation yesterday evening. Aside profusely complementing me throughout our telephone conversation, with a line or two expressing how “upsetting” my monograph was, you asked me to: 1) join your organization, 2) sit on committees you would organize, 3) help FAR explain what lithographs are, 4) help you write legislation and 5) write articles (telling me you pay for them) for FAR to post on your website.

Additionally, you wished I had just called or emailed you if I had any questions or concerns about Fine Art Registry. You said: “{I} was wrong in this case” and “unfair to {Joe Cioffi} when I posted “The Real Thing?, Artletics and Fine Art Registry’s Avarice” monograph on my blog.

In closing, you said: “you wanted to education the consumer” and “so many people need help who don’t get it.” On that point, we agree. Hence, the posting “The Real Thing?, Artletics and Fine Art Registry’s Avarice” monograph on my blog.

I hope the next time I may come across Fine Art Registry and Artletics’ websites, full and honest disclosure of reproductions as reproductions will be embraced.

For the sake of the public and their informed consent, fellow artists and those who sell fully disclosed reproductions, I hope you both accomplish that goal.


Gary Arseneau
artist, creator of original lithographs, scholar & author
P.O. Box 686
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32035



3. Ibid


5. In Paul Duro & Michael Greenhalgh’s published Essential Art History, “connoisseurship” is defined as: “that of the art expert able to distinguish between the authentic and non-authentic, for example between an original and a copy.”

6. U.S. Customs’ “April 2004 Works of Art, Collector's Pieces Antiques, and Other Cultural Property - An Informed Compliance Publication. ” In part, it states: "The expression "original engravings, prints and lithographs" means impressions produced directly, in black and white or in color, of one or of several plates wholly executed by hand by the artist, irrespective of the process or of the material employed by him, but excluding any mechanical or photomechanical process."


8. California Civil Code 1738-1745

9. 1965 A GUIDE TO THE COLLECTING AND CARE OF ORIGINAL PRINTS sponsored by the The Print Council of America and authored by Carl Zigrosser and Christa M. Gaehde. On page 98, the authors wrote: “An original print is a work of art, the general requirements of which are: 1. The artist alone has created the master image in or upon the plate, stone, wood block or other material, for the purpose of creating the print. 2. The print is made from the said material, by the artist or pursuant to his directions. 3. The finished print is approved by the artist.”


11. Ibid


CORRESPONDENCE (from FAR's Theresa Franks):

RE: Connoissurship
From: Fine Art Registry (
Sent: Fri 8/29/08 1:46PM
To: -Gary Arseneau-

You can lead a horse to water...

[NOTE: -Gary Arseneau- is subsituted for email address.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:00 PM, October 03, 2011  
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