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In mid-August, 2020, Romero Britto, a renowned Brazilian artist, became a trending topic on social media, for being involved in a quarrel in an art gallery in the USA, where he was holding a photo session. 

In the video, it is possible to see that a woman approached the artist holding one of his porcelain sculptures and accusing him of mistreating the employees of her restaurant. Then, the woman threw the sculpture on the floor and left Mr. Britto incredulous.

However, what if that happened in Brazil? Would have the woman committed a copyright violation? The answer is affirmative, because the destruction of a work of art implies an offense to the author’s moral rights.

The author of a work of art has both economic and moral rights. 

Does purposely destroing a work of art violet copyright laws?

Economic rights are ensured by article 28 of the Copyright Law (Law 9610/98) and guarantees that authors have the right to economically exploit their intellectual creations, through their publication, use or reproduction.

In turn, moral rights are provided for in Article 24 of the Copyright Law and are understood as “existential subjective rights”, as they have no economic content. By protecting the author’s personality materialized in the intellectual work, the author’s existential subjective right assumes a very personal character, being considered a personality right.

Among the moral rights of an author, we highlight the right to the integrity of the work, which is the author’s ability to oppose any modification of the work or the practice of any act that, in any way, could harm or affect it, as an author, in his/her reputation and honor.

Therefore, when breaking the sculpture of the artist Romero Britto, the woman did not destroy a mere porcelain object, but the artist’s own intellectual creation, the spirit of the artist embodied in it and the projection of the personality of its creator. And, if the situation had occurred in Brazil, she could be held liable for violation of the Copyright Law.

Lawyer Author of the Comment: Thaís de Kássia Rodrigues Almeida Penteado


Headline: Restaurant owner smashes artwork after artist allegedly mistreats employees.

“If you want to learn more about this topic, contact the author or the managing partner, Dr. Cesar Peduti Filho.”
“Se quiser saber mais sobre este tema, contate o autor ou o Dr. Cesar Peduti Filho.”

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