Under Section 106A, known as the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), authors of works of certain visual arts also have moral rights, specifically rights of attribution and integrity. This means that visual artists of particular types of works have the right to claim authorship of their work and to avoid using their name in any work they have not created. Artists of works covered by law also have the right to prevent the use of their name in a work of art if it is distorted, mutilated or otherwise modified and could cause damage to their honor or reputation. Unlike other authors, visual artists have the moral right to avoid intentional distortion, mutilation or any other modification of their work and to avoid the destruction of their work, if the work is of recognized stature.
For example, if someone mutilates a mural recognized as a work of great value, the painter has the right to sue the person who mutilated the work. VARA covers only fine art such as paintings, drawings, engravings, still photographs for exhibition and sculptures. Registration is required before a lawsuit can be filed, and registration creates the possibility of further legal damages. At any time during the lawsuit, the court may order the seizure of any and all copies of the infringing products.
The guide provides a general, and necessarily limited, discussion of various state laws, regulations, and cases; it is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Items that are seized during the course of the lawsuit may, if the plaintiff wins, be ordered to be destroyed as part of the final decree.