I am pleased to report on the outcome of a matter we announced in February. After a disagreement with the City of Palo Alto (California) about her sculpture Digital DNA, Sullivan & Worcester LLP client Adriana Varella has agreed to relocate the sculpture to the campus of Harvard Business School. The agreement is a positive outcome that ultimately did not require litigation, and a reminder of the importance of artists’ rights under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”). I was honored to be able to work with this incredible artist to preserve her importance sculpture and begin an exciting new chapter for her art.
Topics: Adriana Varella, VARA, Digital DNA, City of Palo Alto, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, Right of attribution, Right of integrity, 5Pointz, Boston Globe, Harvard Business School, Harvard
Last week Apollo magazine published my comments about the recent 5Pointz decision. The article can be found here, and the text is reprinted below:
Detroit police have issued a warrant for well-known artist Shepard Fairey in connection with his recent visit to the city, on suspicion of vandalism. While Fairey was apparently in Detroit to paint a commissioned mural at One Campus Martius, he told the Detroit Free Press, “I still do stuff on the street without permission. I'll be doing stuff on the street when I'm in Detroit.” According to the Free Press:
Topics: Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Patrick Cariou, Moral Rights, Andre the Giant, Graffiti Art, Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, Barack Obama, One Campus Martius, Banksy Does New York, VARA, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, appropriation copyright, Copyright, 5Pointz, Hope, Detroit Free Press, Associated Press, Fair Use
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.
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
News came last week that another lawsuit has been filed over allegations of misappropriation of graffiti images. In this case, as summarized nicely by Cait Munro on ArtNet (I haven’t seen the complaint yet), graffiti artist Craig Anthony Miller:
Recurring events involving public art have underscored the tension between that expression and the law. Banksy’s “residence” in New York last fall broached this subject, but this summer’s Brooklyn Bridge flag incident, and several new lawsuits asserting copyright in graffiti will test the bounds of what the law protects and what it permits. As Banksy says in one of his murals, "graffiti is a crime."
Topics: Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, Ahol Sniffs Glue, David Anasagasti, Steel, City as Canvas, Moral Rights, Argentina, Public Art, Graffiti Art, Philippa Loengard, Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, Leonardo’s Last Supper, Columbia Law School’s Kernochan Center for Law Med, Chicago, Museum of the City of New York, VARA, Public Expression, Michael Bloomberg, American Eagle, Terry Gilliam, Banksy, 17 U.S.C. § 106A, Copyright, Buenos Aires, 5Pointz, Revok, Roberto Cavalli, vandalism, Reyes, Graffiti, The Atlantic, New York
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”).
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
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).
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