VARA Applies to Unfinished Works
January 28, 2010
Christoph Buchel’s claims survive appeal, First Circuit holds VARA applies to unfinished works.
“On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court assumed that VARA applies to unfinished works of art, but it nonetheless ruled for the Museum in all respects because, even granting VARA’s applicability, it found no genuine issues of material fact. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Found., Inc. v. Büchel, 565 F. Supp. 2d 245 (D. Mass. 2008). Büchel appeals. Because we find that, if VARA applies, genuine issues of material fact would foreclose summary judgment on one of Büchel’s VARA claims – that MASS MoCA violated his right of artistic integrity by modifying the installation – we cannot assume that VARA applies to unfinished works but instead must decide its applicability. We conclude that the statute does apply to such works.
We further conclude that, in addition to his VARA claim, Büchel asserts a viable claim under the Copyright Act that MASS MoCA violated his exclusive right to display his work publicly. Accordingly, we reverse in part the grant of summary judgment for MASS MoCA and remand for further proceedings.”