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Case Summary

Phillips v. Pembroke Real Estate, Inc.

Phillips v. Pembroke Real Estate, Inc., 288 F. Supp. 2d 89 (D. Mass. 2003), Phillips v. Pembroke Real Estate, Inc., 443 Mass. 110 (Mass. Sup. Jud. Ct. 2004), aff'd, 459 F.3d 128 (1st Cir. 2006).

On appeal from a case filed in federal court in Massachusetts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit applied the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) for the first time to “site-specific art,” a type of art in which the art’s specific location is a fundamental element of the work’s meaning and integrity. The First Circuit, finding that VARA does not protect site-specific art, held that a real estate developer could remove site-specific sculptures from a Boston public park. In a separate but related decision, the highest state court in Massachusetts determined that the Massachusetts Art Preservation Act of 1984 (MAPA) also fails to protect site-specific art.

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