Search Results for ‘"visual artists rights act"’

May 20 roundup

  • Is universal access to reliably functioning electric power better or worse in countries that officially treat access to electric power as a right rather than a private good? [David R. Henderson on Burgess et al., Journal of Economic Perspectives]
  • “There’s bad lawyering, and then there’s lawyering so bad that the Tenth Circuit holds the plaintiffs’ lawyer liable for $1 mil in attorneys’ fees. But that’s what you get if you ignore orders not to file ‘any more prolix, redundant, meandering pleadings or briefs.'” [Institute for Justice “Short Circuit” on Snyder v. Acord]
  • 1st Circuit: Dept. of Interior broke law when it turned land owned by Mashpee Wampanoag tribe into new reservation land. Feds: okay, we’ll comply and tribe will own land in conventional form instead. Progressive Twitter: settler colonialist shock horror! [WBUR]
  • “Supreme Court Agrees to Decide, What is Hacking?” [Orin Kerr on Van Buren v. U.S.]
  • “The Second Circuit has upheld the awful decision by [a district court] to sanction a building owner millions of dollars for daring to paint the walls of his own building.” [Cathy Gellis, TechDirt; earlier; Visual Artists Rights Act violation found after building owner permitted graffiti installations, later painted them over]
  • “Led Zeppelin wins ‘Stairway to Heaven’ copyright case” [Jonathan Stempel, Reuters]

NYC: 5Pointz building owner must pay graffiti artists

To quote John K. Ross’s summary for Short Circuit:

In 2002, owner of dilapidated industrial property in Queens, N.Y. entrusts its care to a group of artists, who improve its condition and cover it in graffiti, turning it into a tourist attraction and cultural site. In 2013, the owner, who plans to demolish the warehouses and build luxury condos, whitewashes over the art. District court: Which violated the Visual Artists Rights Act; pay $6.75 mil in damages to 21 artists. If the owner had waited a few more months while he got his building permits in order, he’d have been assessed a far more modest penalty.

More: Alan Feuer, New York Times, ABA Journal. More on the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 here.

Art and the law: “Against moral rights”

“My argument is that moral rights laws endanger art in the name of protecting it”. [Amy Adler (NYU Law), 97 California Law Review (Feb.) (PDF), via ConcurOp] The best-known American application of the moral-rights concept in art is the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which (among other provisions) gives visual artists a right to sue in some circumstances if later lawful owners of their artworks alter or destroy the works.

“Art vs. property rights”

One reason not to commission a mural for your building: the federal Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which with some exceptions “prohibits the intentional alteration, mutilation or destruction of artworks without the consent of the artists” and gives the offended artist a right to sue. Lawsuits under VARA have not been numerous, but have raised questions of fairness to art owners as well as of unintended consequences. (Daniel Grant, Wall Street Journal Leisure & Arts/, May 27; Cynthia Esworthy, “A Guide to the Visual Artists Rights Act”,, undated;