The applied arts are the application of design and decoration to everyday objects to make them aesthetically pleasing. The term is applied in distinction to the fine arts which aims to produce objects which are beautiful and/or provide intellectual stimulation. In practice, the two often overlap.

The fields of industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and the decorative arts are considered applied arts. In a creative and/or abstract context, the fields of architecture and photography are also considered applied arts.

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In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals adopted a utility-based standard for determining when a work of art is deemed “applied art” and therefore not entitled to protection under the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”).1 VARA was enacted in 1990 as an amendment to the Copyright Act, and incorporated the concept of droit moral
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