The art and the « puce »

The point on the techniques of marking and identification of cultural property.

A parade against the flight?

Although among the most broken by France and by Europe, castles, old houses and French manor houses are only very rarely assured(insured). It is what a poll(sounding), realized by the Fat broker Savoye in February, 2005 with 3 000 owners deprived of French historical heritage, has just confirmed. This absence of protection saddens the insurers as well as forces of police and gendarmerie in charge of fighting against the flight(theft) and the receiving of French cultural property. Every year, between 6 000 and 7 000 flights(thefts) of works and works of art are committed on the French territory. The stolen properties(goods) are only very rarely got back by their owners, for lack of irrefutable proof – to begin with the detention of a photography of the work or the disappeared work of art. So, in 2005, the Swiss museums victims of Stéphane Breitwieser in 1995 began hardly to get back their properties(goods), having identified them duly. The reluctance of the owners to inventory their heritage(holdings) is still too big. To assure(insure) his(her,its) works of art, his(her,its) antiques(antiquities) or his(her,its) collections has a relatively high cost. To mitigate this attitude, dangerous for the French heritage(holdings), certain companies propose an alternative in the insurance(assurance): it is about the marking. There are various processes of marking of cultural property. But if an object is unique(only), the appeal(recourse) to the marking is unnecessary(superfluous). The grip(taking) of photos and the description of the object are sufficient(self-important) in its identification. The marking is imperative in the presence of multiple (bronzes, china rooms(parts,plays)). The market of companies appears as prospering, but, after examination of the financial situations of the some and others, it turns out that many companies(societies) had to put the key under the door(go out of business), for lack of customers. The techniques of marking are very varied. The objective is the discretion to avoid that the criminals get rid of the marking. The flea(chip) RFID allows the remote drawing. Smaller than a grain of rice, she(it) contains a big memory capacity and turns out detectable until 3 m. She(it) requires no food(supply) and has a very long life expectancy(cycle). Detectors existing on the market were normalized(standardized) and the flea(chip) RFID of a company can be recognized by the detector of a rival company(society). Other initiatives are in progress: the GPS technology opens certain doors, but closes them immediately. The distance of reading of a flea(chip) RFID is short and cannot be improved. Indeed, this one arranges no source of energy. Yet(now), the GPS(GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM) requires the presence of batteries(drum kits): the condition of discretion of the marking and that of the respect for the integrity of the properties(goods) are not so respected. Are the processes of marking compatible with the methods used by the police? It is about the major problem. The specialized services(departments) in charge of the repression of the traffic of stolen cultural property envisage with caution any collaboration with a private enterprise, which is considered at the most as a witness(baton). Besides, in case of flight(theft), the deadlines(extensions) to intervene are very short. Furthermore, the company which holds(detains) the necessary information to identify one or several properties(goods) will maybe be closed! The private individual is thus invited to keep(preserve) a double(copy) of the information concerning his cultural heritage. From a strictly legal point of view, the holding(dress) of files by private enterprises has to respect a particular frame(supervision) (consent of the person, secure access). The private individuals have most of the time to pay(pour) contributions to see their information protected in the aforementioned databases. The results(profits) of the study of the subcommittee Bady relative to the processes of marking will be known in the year 2006. We can however move forward that the subcommittee worried mainly about the sustainability of the existing processes (flea(chip), diverse ink), of the respect for the integrity of cultural property as well as for the cost of the marking. In any case, the owner of cultural property, before envisaging any appeal(recourse) to a company of marking, can very well begin(undertake) to photograph them (by following the advice(councils) lavished by the central Service(Office) of fight(wrestling) against the traffic of cultural property ( and to describe them in the closer, by lingering over details, imperfections known by him alone. His(Her,Its) information will affectedly be preserved and passed on in competent services of police or gendarmerie during the filing of complaints.