Artists use any surface available to them as a canvas. There is the common: cloth and paper; the modern: skin; and even the illegal: buildings and privately-owned property. However, today, the cultural value that artwork instills in its community has grown, regardless of its legal status. Examples can be found in artwork created by graffiti artist Banksy, or even the urban installations of Tyree Guyton, creator of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit. Artists create masterpieces placed in plain sight that enrich the surrounding communities but often interfere with others’ property rights. However, the illegal or encroaching nature of the artwork makes it vulnerable to destruction just as often as it brings it fame. What if the hard work that artists put into creating their urban artwork was not in vain? What if there was a way artists could consistently protect artistic moral rights against the property rights of building owners who have abandoned any upkeep or maintenance on the building, or who have not seen the building in years?
Minelli E. Manoukian,
Graffiti on Cities’ Forgotten Landscapes: An Application of Adverse Possession Law to the Visual Artists Rights Act,
32 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 592
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/iplj/vol32/iss3/2