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Case Summary

Kelley v. Chicago Park District

Kelley v. Chicago Park Dist., No. 1:04-cv-07715 (N.D.Ill. 2008), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, Nos. 08-3701 & 08-3712 (7th Cir. 2011).

In a case testing the limits of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that an artist’s

moral rights had not been violated when a municipality reconfigured his site-specific wildflower garden, which had been installed in a city park.  The Seventh Circuit rejected the VARA claim, finding that as a “living garden,” the work lacked sufficient authorship and fixation to be copyrightable – a threshold requirement for works claiming VARA protection.

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