A case pending in the Western District of Pennsylvania should provide the opportunity for a federal judge to clarify the pleading requirements for the “recognized stature” element of a VARA claim.

In April 2018, street artist Kyle Holbrook and two arts organizations that he founded brought VARA claims against forty-four
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Above: Plaintiff Chuck Close.
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The Ninth Circuit recently issued its decision regarding the validity of the California Resale Royalty Act (“CRRA”) in three consolidated appeals: Close v. Sotheby’s, Inc., No. 16-56234, The Sam Francis Foundation v. Christie’s, Inc., No. 16-56235 and The Sam Francis Foundation v. eBay
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On February 12, Judge Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York awarded $6.75 million in statutory damages to the aerosol artists of “5Pointz,” agreeing with the jury’s advisory finding that property developer Jerry Wolkoff violated those artists’ “right of integrity” under the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”).

As
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The Ninth Circuit has pending before it a significant challenge to the validity of the California Resale Royalty Act (“CRRA”), which will require the court to examine the scope of the “first sale doctrine” and determine whether it is at odds with California’s attempt to establish economic rights for visual artists on subsequent sales of their works.
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