Do We Keep or Jettison the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990?


The United States Copyright Office is undertaking a public study to assess the current state of U.S. law recognizing and protecting moral rights for authors, specifically the rights of attribution and integrity. As part of this study, the Office will review existing law on the moral rights of attribution and integrity, including provisions found in title 17 of the U.S. Code as well as other federal and state laws, and whether any additional protection is advisable in this area. To support this effort and provide thorough assistance to Congress, the Office is seeking public input on a number of questions.

Comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 9, 2017. Reply comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on April 24, 2017. The Office may announce one or more public meetings, to take place after written comments are received, by separate notice in the future.

This is a good opportunity for art lawyers, artists and other entities interested in this weird European tradition to opine on what’s good and what’s not working in the current law, better known as the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”). Let’s start with, do we really need it? Does VARA have any teeth?

More information here via The US Copyright Register. Instructions on submitting comments are available here.