One Artist Suggests Melting Down the Paterno Statue. Is it Legal?

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On Sunday July 22, 2012 Penn State University removed the famed bronze statue of Joe Paterno, which was located outside its football stadium, one day before the NCAA announced a slate of severe sanctions against the university arising from its role in the Sandusky child molestation scandal. A few days later, news reports emerged that sculptor Larry Nowlan suggested the statue be melted down and recycled into a “healing memorial” for victims of child abuse. While this proposal may have both spiritual and artistic merit, there is one problem: Nowlan is not the sculptor who created the Paterno statue.

This article considers whether Penn State would be prohibited under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) from implementing Nowlan's proposal.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Nicole Hyland, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz | Attorney Advertising

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