Powder Springs, GA asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Georgia

Q: If I commission art and don’t like the hair and get someone to edit it, is it a violation of VARA?

A friend of mine had digital art made for their stream but the hair on the character was incorrect so she had it changed. The artist is claiming that it violates their rights under VARA

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), artists have certain rights to integrity of their work, which includes the right to prevent alterations or modifications that could harm their reputation. However, VARA protections generally apply to physical works of art rather than digital creations. While it's essential to respect the rights of the artist, making minor edits to digital art, such as changing the hair on a character, may not necessarily violate VARA.

The key consideration is whether the modification significantly alters the original intent or integrity of the artist's work. If the changes are minor and do not substantially affect the overall character or message of the artwork, they may be considered permissible alterations. However, if the artist feels that the edits undermine the integrity or reputation of their work, they may have grounds to object under VARA.

To address the situation, it's advisable for your friend to communicate openly with the artist and try to find a mutually acceptable solution. This could involve discussing the reasons for the requested edits and exploring options for resolving any concerns the artist may have. By approaching the situation respectfully and seeking to find a resolution that satisfies both parties, your friend can mitigate the risk of escalating the dispute and potentially violating VARA.

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