The global internet antiquities market exists in a complex cultural heritage framework, comprised of international law and domestic legislation. In this paper, the questions I seek to answer are the following: how do internet antiquities dealers engage with their legal obligations, and how is this engagement translated to the ethics of their businesses? This paper presents a comparative examination of 45 antiquities dealers split across three categories—internet dealers, eBay dealers and social media dealers—revealing three key insights about the internet antiquities market: firstly, that the level of legal literacy in the market is depicted as being quite poor; secondly, that the performance of legal awareness does not always correspond with ethical dealer practices; and finally, some dealers utilise a suite of justifications for their behaviours, practices and values (known as neutralisation techniques) to undermine their legal obligations. Such results confirm existing claims of the failure of self-regulation in the internet antiquities market and reveal a demand for educational campaigns targeted at raising consumer awareness by challenging misleading market narratives and highlighting the ethical and legal issues involved with the trade of cultural heritage.
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