Monday, July 13, 2020
 

Law Students Crazy Over Visual Artists Rights Act


We still haven’t heard from the 7th Circuit regarding the long-awaited Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District decision. However–and to keep the suspense going–two new law review articles on the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”) have just been published.

Michelle Moran, law student at Marquette University Law School, contends that quilt artists should receive the same intellectual property protections as other artists in her article, “Quilt Artists: Left Out in the Cold by the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.”

The United States Copyright Act with the inclusion of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) gives sculptors, painters, and photographers a bundle of rights that include the moral rights of attribution and integrity. However, the artistic efforts of artists who create quilts, whether the original purpose was to hang the quilt on the wall or to provide warmth and comfort on a bed, are not included in VARA due to the exclusion of applied art from VARA. This Comment contends that the Congressional intent to protect the highly personal connection artists have to their creations supports extending the rights of attribution and integrity to quilt artists.

Virginia Cascio, of DePaul University Law School, takes the Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District case and argues that “the district court’s narrow interpretation of VARA and its hostility to the plaintiff’s claim illustrates that the courts, fearing the restriction of property rights, have mistakenly limited the scope of VARA to the point that it is no longer a viable source of protection for site-specific artists.”

You can access Cascio’s article,  “Hardly a Walk in the Park: Courts’ Hostile Treatment of Site-Specific Works Under VARA,” here, but it’s not free.

 

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