The Personal Rights of Artists

39 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2021

See all articles by Derek Fincham

Derek Fincham

South Texas College of Law Houston

Date Written: October 11, 2021


With respect to artists and authors, American law has a tendency to fall short of solving problems directly, and instead uses complex, cumbersome solutions to problems other nations have met head-on. This difficulty stems from the hesitancy in America to fully embrace the personal nature of many rights of artists and authors. Leading to a situation where even though Congress has enacted the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which guarantees rights for artists, these rights are relatively unknown and under-utilized. This trend may be reversing, and it may be finally time that these personal rights of artists will be gaining ground. American approaches to moral rights too often focus on the rights of artists as only property rights. This fundamental error ends up substantially diminishing the rights artists can vindicate in the United States. It erases many of the well-intentioned and useful rights artists enjoy in international and Continental European systems.

Keywords: Moral rights, art law, Copyright, artists rights, personal rights, VARA, Berne Convention,

Suggested Citation

Fincham, Derek, The Personal Rights of Artists (October 11, 2021). Houston Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 5, 2022, Available at SSRN:

Derek Fincham (Contact Author)

South Texas College of Law Houston ( email )

1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States
9546678328 (Phone)

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