On Monday, a federal judge in Brooklyn awarded $6.75 million in damages to 21 artists whose work at 5Pointz was obliterated.

The judge’s ruling came after a milestone three-week trial in November in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The case marked the first time a court has been asked to determine whether graffiti — with its ephemeral nature — should be considered art protected under federal law, according to a court opinion. It weighed a property owner’s rights against the rights of visual artists — in a city where the powerful real estate and art worlds are constantly at odds.

A jury found in November that 36 of the plaintiffs’ 40 works of art at 5Pointz should be protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act, deciding that the murals had achieved “recognized stature.”