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California Civil Code Section 987

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987.  (a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the
physical alteration or destruction of fine art, which is an
expression of the artist's personality, is detrimental to the artist'
s reputation, and artists therefore have an interest in protecting
their works of fine art against any alteration or destruction; and
that there is also a public interest in preserving the integrity of
cultural and artistic creations.
   (b) As used in this section:
   (1) "Artist" means the individual or individuals who create a work
of fine art.
   (2) "Fine art" means an original painting, sculpture, or drawing,
or an original work of art in glass, of recognized quality, but shall
not include work prepared under contract for commercial use by its
purchaser.
   (3) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation,
limited liability company, association or other group, however
organized.
   (4) "Frame" means to prepare, or cause to be prepared, a work of
fine art for display in a manner customarily considered to be
appropriate for a work of fine art in the particular medium.
   (5) "Restore" means to return, or cause to be returned, a
deteriorated or damaged work of fine art as nearly as is feasible to
its original state or condition, in accordance with prevailing
standards.
   (6) "Conserve" means to preserve, or cause to be preserved, a work
of fine art by retarding or preventing deterioration or damage
through appropriate treatment in accordance with prevailing standards
in order to maintain the structural integrity to the fullest extent
possible in an unchanging state.
   (7) "Commercial use" means fine art created under a work-for-hire
arrangement for use in advertising, magazines, newspapers, or other
print and electronic media.
   (c) (1) No person, except an artist who owns and possesses a work
of fine art which the artist has created, shall intentionally commit,
or authorize the intentional commission of, any physical defacement,
mutilation, alteration, or destruction of a work of fine art.
   (2) In addition to the prohibitions contained in paragraph (1), no
person who frames, conserves, or restores a work of fine art shall
commit, or authorize the commission of, any physical defacement,
mutilation, alteration, or destruction of a work of fine art by any
act constituting gross negligence. For purposes of this section, the
term "gross negligence" shall mean the exercise of so slight a degree
of care as to justify the belief that there was an indifference to
the particular work of fine art.
   (d) The artist shall retain at all times the right to claim
authorship, or, for a just and valid reason, to disclaim authorship
of his or her work of fine art.
   (e) To effectuate the rights created by this section, the artist
may commence an action to recover or obtain any of the following:
   (1) Injunctive relief.
   (2) Actual damages.
   (3) Punitive damages. In the event that punitive damages are
awarded, the court shall, in its discretion, select an organization
or organizations engaged in charitable or educational activities
involving the fine arts in California to receive any punitive
damages.
   (4) Reasonable attorneys' and expert witness fees.
   (5) Any other relief which the court deems proper.
   (f) In determining whether a work of fine art is of recognized
quality, the trier of fact shall rely on the opinions of artists, art
dealers, collectors of fine art, curators of art museums, and other
persons involved with the creation or marketing of fine art.
   (g) The rights and duties created under this section:
   (1) Shall, with respect to the artist, or if any artist is
deceased, his or her heir, beneficiary, devisee, or personal
representative, exist until the 50th anniversary of the death of the
artist.
   (2) Shall exist in addition to any other rights and duties which
may now or in the future be applicable.
   (3) Except as provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (h), may
not be waived except by an instrument in writing expressly so
providing which is signed by the artist.
   (h) (1) If a work of fine art cannot be removed from a building
without substantial physical defacement, mutilation, alteration, or
destruction of the work, the rights and duties created under this
section, unless expressly reserved by an instrument in writing signed
by the owner of the building, containing a legal description of the
property and properly recorded, shall be deemed waived. The
instrument, if properly recorded, shall be binding on subsequent
owners of the building.
   (2) If the owner of a building wishes to remove a work of fine art
which is a part of the building but which can be removed from the
building without substantial harm to the fine art, and in the course
of or after removal, the owner intends to cause or allow the fine art
to suffer physical defacement, mutilation, alteration, or
destruction, the rights and duties created under this section shall
apply unless the owner has diligently attempted without success to
notify the artist, or, if the artist is deceased, his or her heir,
beneficiary, devisee, or personal representative, in writing of his
or her intended action affecting the work of fine art, or unless he
or she did provide notice and that person failed within 90 days
either to remove the work or to pay for its removal. If the work is
removed at the expense of the artist, his or her heir, beneficiary,
devisee, or personal representative, title to the fine art shall pass
to that person.
   (3) If a work of fine art can be removed from a building scheduled
for demolition without substantial physical defacement, mutilation,
alteration, or destruction of the work, and the owner of the building
has notified the owner of the work of fine art of the scheduled
demolition or the owner of the building is the owner of the work of
fine art, and the owner of the work of fine art elects not to remove
the work of fine art, the rights and duties created under this
section shall apply, unless the owner of the building has diligently
attempted without success to notify the artist, or, if the artist is
deceased, his or her heir, beneficiary, devisee, or personal
representative, in writing of the intended action affecting the work
of fine art, or unless he or she did provide notice and that person
failed within 90 days either to remove the work or to pay for its
removal. If the work is removed at the expense of the artist, his or
her heir, beneficiary, devisee, or personal representative, title to
the fine art shall pass to that person.
   (4) Nothing in this subdivision shall affect the rights of
authorship created in subdivision (d) of this section.
   (i) No action may be maintained to enforce any liability under
this section unless brought within three years of the act complained
of or one year after discovery of the act, whichever is longer.
   (j) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1980, and
shall apply to claims based on proscribed acts occurring on or after
that date to works of fine art whenever created.
   (k) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to
any person or circumstance is held invalid for any reason, the
invalidity shall not affect any other provisions or applications of
this section which can be effected without the invalid provision or
application, and to this end the provisions of this section are
severable.

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Last modified: March 17, 2014