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Part I offers an overview of traditional moral rights theory, particularly the right of integrity, and outlines relevant strains of law and culture that preceded the enactment of VARA. Part II discusses how VARA functions as a statute that mediates artists’ rights through the physical object, and how the deliberate synthesis of preservation theory with orthodox moral rights philosophy hamstrings both ends. Part III identifies cultural assumptions embedded in three prominent attributes of the art object conceptualized as protected under VARA—material, cultural, and transcendent—and discusses their conflicting impulses in the law. Finally, Part IV concludes that the “object model,” infused with deterministic theories of modernism and cultural evolution, must be dismantled for moral rights to assume a viable and meaningful role in copyright law. Through this discussion, this Article offers a discursive platform for redirecting the predicate theory of the moral rights doctrine toward a contemporary construct of authorial dignity.



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