Art Law Report

Katherine Craig Files VARA Claim over Illuminated Mural—“Recognized Stature” and Terms of Agreement Will be Critical

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 2, 2016 at 2:26 PM

Last year we bemoaned a lost opportunity when a preliminary injunction concerning a mural on the Prado Dam in California was decided under what seemed to us to be a misunderstanding of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, 17 U.S.C. § 106A ("VARA").  Although a preliminary injunction was eventually entered on other grounds concerning historic preservation statutes, the court joined a long line of decisions that seemed not to understand or unwilling to apply what VARA actually says.  Given the rarity with which VARA claims actually get to court, it was a frustrating lost chance for some badly needed interpretive guidance.

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Topics: recognized stature, VARA, Copyright

5Pointz Property Owner Sued Again Over Whitewashing of Graffiti—Measure of Damages Bears Watching

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 16, 2015 at 6:33 AM

Several street artists have sued the property owners of the building in Queens that became known as “5Pointz”—a “Mecca” of graffiti and street art. This is the second such lawsuit, after another group of artists failed to obtain a preliminary injunction in November, 2013, and the owners whitewashed nearly all of the painting on the buildings. The new lawsuit seeks damages related to the whitewashing itself, alleging that it was done hastily and secretly without giving the artists sufficient time either to remove or document their work. It relies on the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), the lone moral rights provision of the Copyright Act.

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Topics: HBO, Copyright Act, Ishmael, Moral Rights, Richard Miller, Cady Nolan, Rodney Rodriguez, FCEE, Christoph Büchel’s, Graffiti Art, Visual Artists Rights Act, Patch Whiskey, Kai Niederhausen Semor, Kenji Takabayashi, recognized stature, Banksy Does New York, Jimmy C, VARA, Jerry Wolkoff, Bienbenido Guerra, Luis Gomez, MassMoCA, Banksy, TOOFLY, 17 U.S.C. § 106A, Carlo Nieva, Copyright, 5Pointz, PANIC, James Cochran, Sotheby's, Maria Castillo

Victor Henderson of LA Fine Arts Squad Files VARA Claim Over “Brooks Avenue Painting”

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Victor Henderson, creator of the Los Angeles mural “Brooks Avenue Painting,” has filed a lawsuit alleging a violation of his right of integrity under the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”).

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Topics: Brooks Avenue Painting, Section 106A(a)(3), Moral Rights, The Doors, negligence, Victor Henderson, Graffiti Art, Visual Artists Rights Act, California Art Preservation Act, recognized stature, VARA, conversion, Copyright, 5Pointz, Terry Schoonhoven, LA Fine Arts Squad, Ralph Ziman

5Pointz Not of "Recognized Stature" Under the Visual Artists Rights Act? Court Takes the Narrow View and Paintings are Whitewashed

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 24, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Amidst all the coverage over famed graffiti artist Banksy’s recent "residence" in New York and questions about how artistic license would fare against trespassing and graffiti laws (short answer: poorly), another graffiti case in New York this month has explored the reach of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA). Ultimately, the law did not suffice to prevent the owner of the so-called "graffiti Mecca" from proceeding with its intended use of the property (and obliteration of the graffiti).

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Topics: Carter v. Helmsley-Spear, Copyright Act, Inc., Graffiti Art, Visual Artists Rights Act, recognized stature, VARA, Jerry Wolkoff, Banksy, 17 U.S.C. § 106A, Erin Thompson, Copyright, 5Pointz, Litigation

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