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destroyed, there is damage to the reputation. I think it can be established with expert witnesses and testimony, and it can be overcome.
Senator KENNEDY. The harm to reputation exists in the California standard?
Ms. CAWLEY. Yes.
Senator KENNEDY. And the standard weighs more heavily in assigning damages than in establishing that an injury has occurred. OK.
Well, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Van Sant, if there are any comments on any of those questions that you would like to address or that you might take exception to, we will give you the opportunity. I think that during the course of the hearing these are the principal areas where there has been focus and attention. If there is any additional concerns or comments on these answers, we would hear you out.
Mr. Van Sant. I have one thought I might offer. Most of the testimony deals with the negative consequence of destruction or mutilation. There is also a positive consequence to the legislation. In the State of California, first of all, it was several years before even the first action was taken. There were no frivolous suits. In 1987, we formed the Los Angeles Mural Conservancy, and this was as a direct consequence of the legislation, so now we have cataloged all the murals in the city of Los Angeles. When a building is purchased by a new owner, the Mural Conservancy notifies the new owner that they are the lucky owner of a work of art that is part of the heritage, and they offer their services for maintenance and restoration. Everybody wins and everybody appreciates it.
When a mural on the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel had to be removed for renovation, we were called. The Beverly Wiltshire took the mural down, gave it to the city of Beverly Hills for their new city hall. It was good for everyone. So it seems to be a win/win situation; there don't seem to be only the adverse and negative consequences, but there is the presence of positive consequences.
Senator KENNEDY. Let me ask a rather obvious question on which it would be useful for us to get a clear answer that is on the relative importance of these rights of attribution and integrity. Are they really needed? How much is the bill really needed?
Mr. VAN SANT. I don't know an artist that hasn't suffered from the loss of work at one stage or another in their careers. They have long careers, and some of our major works in California have been lost throughout the years. So we have welcomed this legislation tremendously.
Senator KENNEDY. On another area, did you have an opportunity to talk with anyone who worked on the renovation which destroyed
Mr. VAN SANT. Yes. My inquiries over several months were unfruitful. Interestingly enough, when the first breakthrough cameI sort of worked my way down through the hierarchy, down through the owners, the building management company that supervised the renovation, then the contractor, and finally I spoke to the job supervisor. That was the first time I learned about what happened to the mural. He said, “Boy, I sure remember being ordered to put a wall beam through that painting. I told my boss that I didn't feel that that was really the right thing to do, that there was really something wrong with doing that." That was the first breakthrough in finding out what happened.
Senator KENNEDY. Well, it's a sad ending to the story, but again I think it does illustrate the importance of trying to enact legislation in this area.
I want to thank all of you very much. We won't burden you with many additional questions, but there may be some specific areas of interest. Thank you all for your support. We are going to do everything to get the legislation passed.
Ms. CAWLEY. Thank you, Senator.
(Whereupon, at 12:21 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.)
I submit the written views of the Copyright Office on S. 1198,
the Visual Artists Rights bill.
Since I did not testify at your hearing on
this bill, the Subcommittee staff suggested that comments could be
submitted for inclusion in the hearing record.
If I can be of any assistance to the Subcommittee, please let me
STATEMENT OF RALPH OMAN
on S. 1198
SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
101ST CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION
"VISUAL ARTISTS RIGHTS'
I am Ralph Oman, Register of copyrights in the Library of
At the suggestion of the Subcommittee staff, I am submitting my
written views on S. 1198, the visual Artists Rights Act of 1989, since I did
not appear at the June 1989 hearing.
S. 1198 would grant visual artists new federal rights under the
Copyright Act: 1) a right to claim or disclaim authorship; 2) a right to prevent distortion, mutilation, and other modification of their work, and 3)
under certain circumstances, a right to prevent destruction of a work that
is incorporated in a building.
Known in civil law countries as moral
rights, or "droit moral," the first two of these rights have been granted in
various forms to authors in many foreign countries, and to a limited extent, under various legal theories in the United States. visual artists' rights
In the last congress, I testified before this Subcommittee regarding moral rights proposals when United States adherence to the Berne
Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was under
I urged that Congress should take a "minimalist" approach - 2
regarding the legislative changes needed to conform our copyright law to the
Berne Convention. Congress adopted the minimalist approach, and on March 1,
1989, the United States adhered to the 102-year old Berne Convention without
enacting additional moral rights protection.
Last year, the House Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice asked the Copyright Office to conduct a study
relating to colorization, time compression, "panning and scanning" of films, and other technologies used in the alteration of motion pictures. On March
submitted the colorization study.
ime is now
ripe for a comprehensive examination of moral rights in all fields of
Under the laws of most European countries, moral rights are
included in the bundle of rights that comprise a copyright.
are considered to be personal rights generally that are different from the
economic and proprietary aspects of copyright. The term "moral rights" does
not have a precise definition; in general, it refers to those "non-economic"
rights ensuring respect for the creator's personal vision, as embodied in a work of authorship. In general, there are four basic moral rights: 1) the right of publication; 2) the right to withdraw a work from public distribu
tion; 3) the right to claim and be credited for authorship (known as the
right of attribution); and 4) the right of respect for the work, known as
the right of integrity.1
The principal moral rights are those of attribu
tion and integrity.
The right of attribution protects an author's ability
These are the most commonly recognized rights at the national level. It is important to note that the Berne Convention refers only to three and four above.