Email us for help
Vondran Legal® - VARA Copyright Law Firm - Kerson vs. Vermont Law School - the Underground Railroad Mural. If you have a legal issue involving art law, paintings, scultpures or illustrations, call us at (877) 276-5084.
The Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) is a United States copyright law that was enacted in 1990. It was introduced to protect visual artists and their artwork from destruction, mutilation, or modification that could harm an artist's honor or reputation. VARA grants certain rights to artists, including the right to prevent the destruction, distortion, or modification of their artwork, and the right to be credited as the author of their works.
The history of VARA can be traced back to the early 20th century when modern art movements like Cubism and Surrealism emerged. These groundbreaking art forms challenged traditional notions of representation and pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. However, artists often faced significant criticism, and their works were sometimes destroyed or modified without their consent, leading to infringement of their artistic integrity.
In response to such incidents, artists and art collectors began advocating for legal protection of an artist's moral rights, which had been recognized in some European countries. Moral rights refer to an artist's non-economic rights, such as the right to claim authorship and to prevent the distortion or modification of their work. The concept of moral rights was enshrined in the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in 1928, which established international copyright standards.