Art Law Co-Chair Megan Noh recently spoke with Bloomberg Law in connection with the rights that may be afforded to street artists as the Black Lives Matter movement inspires an increase in "protest art" around the world. While the Visual Artists Rights Act ("VARA") may protect protest-inspired street works, there are limitations, and the loose regulations are likely to result in complicated legal issues.
As Bloomberg Law notes, "The Second Circuit said the 'relevant community' to determine stature would typically include fellow artists, historians, critics, and curators, but also noted recognition by the general public. This was echoed in a 2019 Copyright Office report, which said a definition of recognized stature that "accounts for the opinions of those beyond the academic community coincides with congressional intent to extend VARA protection to a greater range of artistic works."
In response, Noh notes that "The relevant community is going to vary depending on the art...(I)f we are thinking about community in terms of the geographic location of the intended audience, some art has a highly local community, and some is appreciated globally."
For more, read the article titled, Protest Art Fate Tied to Obscure, Rarely Litigated Copyright Law on the Bloomberg Law website.
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