Possible Class Action Lawsuit Against NYPD and City Raises New VARA (and Civil Rights) Questions
06/30/2021We have written often about the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), and in particular the emerging legal conversation about how VARA applies to street art. Now, a recently-initiated case—against New York City and the NYPD—may break new ground on that topic.
Artist’s Lawsuit Highlights Need For Caution In Using Digital Images of Artworks
07/30/2020A recently filed lawsuit by the artist Pat Lipsky highlights an often-overlooked risk for New York galleries and auction houses exhibiting works online: running afoul of New York’s Artist’s Authorship Rights Act (“AARA”). That law—a precursor to the federal Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”) of 1990—gives artists in New York the legal right to claim or disclaim authorship of a work of art, and object to its display, publication or reproduction in an altered, defaced, mutilated, or modified form that could damage the artist’s reputation. Unlike VARA, AARA protects not just the artist’s interests in the work itself, but also any reproductions of the work, even if no physical change has been made to the original work.
Judge Rejects Cady Noland’s Final Attempt To Sue Over The “Restoration” of Her Work
06/04/2020This blog has written before about acclaimed conceptual artist Cady Noland, who has a reputation for being particular about how her works are installed, maintained, exhibited, and sold. As our previous posts explain, she has even, on more than one occasion, disavowed an artwork she created, prompting litigation. Now, a federal judge has issued a ruling in Noland’s most recent legal skirmish, dismissing her attempt to bring copyright infringement claims related to the restoration of one of her artworks.
Artists Win Second Circuit Appeal In 5Pointz Graffiti Art Case
02/25/2020We’ve been following the 5Pointz case since its inception, through summary judgment, a trial, an advisory jury verdict for the plaintiffs, and a decision by federal district judge Frederic Block, who issued an award of $6.75 million (and later declined to reconsider that award). Now, three federal appellate judges from the Second Circuit have weighed in, unanimously upholding Judge Block’s award and his reasoning in this groundbreaking case regarding graffiti art.
Mural Artist’s Suit Against GM Over Cadillac Commercial Survives Summary Judgment
10/04/2018Back in August, we wrote about a new lawsuit against automotive giant General Motors, and its potential implications for graffiti art. Now, the artist plaintiff in that case has at least partially prevailed in GM’s motion for summary judgment, clearing the way for a trial.
Trial Judge Refuses to Reconsider Massive Award For Graffiti Artists in VARA Case Regarding Destruction of 5Pointz Works
06/19/2018Earlier this year, federal district judge Frederic Block issued an opinion ordering the defendants to pay significant damages for their violations of the Visual Artists Rights Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106A (also known as VARA). Now, Judge Block has denied the defendants’ request to reconsider his ruling, instead reaffirming and bolstering that earlier decision in advance of the defendants’ appeal to the Second Circuit.
Judge Awards Damages In Connection With Graffiti Artists’ VARA Claims Regarding Destruction of 5Pointz Works
02/13/2018This week, a federal judge awarded a total of $6.75m to the 21 graffiti-artist plaintiffs whose works were destroyed in the now-famous 5Pointz case.
Another Case Takes On Video Game Depictions of NBA Players’ Tattoos, Raising Copyright Questions
12/20/2017A new lawsuit by a tattoo artist against the makers of a popular video game series may explore some interesting questions about how U.S. copyright law applies to tattoos.
5Pointz Trial Applies Visual Artists Rights Act to Graffiti Art for First Time
10/24/2017If you rode the New York City subway’s Flushing-bound Number 7 Line before 2013, you probably recall the elevated train snaking through 5Pointz, a group of Long Island City warehouses emblazoned with colorful graffiti. After years of protracted litigation, a trial is now underway in Brooklyn federal district court that will determine whether federal law affords the artists who created 5Pointz a legal right to the graffiti.
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