n°6 – October 19, Video

The work of video art between law and the market

Francesco Bertelè, «Sagas», video_performance 20’, 2015. Music and performance by Nick McMullan.


Despite being a form of art that dates back in time, the work of video art still struggles today to find a shared legal framework. There is a risk to associate video art with other more traditional artistic forms and this risk has prevented video art from attributing its own autonomy, independence and expressive specificity. Artists’ videos are not listed among the works expressly protected by Italian Law no. 633/1941 (Law on protection of copyright and moral rights), with all the consequences in terms of determining the holders of the moral and patrimonial rights of the author and the division of these rights between the various persons who, in various ways, contribute to their realization (artist, director, screenwriter, interpreters, music authors, etc.), especially if the video works result from the indissoluble creative contribution and the collective work of a group of people. Finally, video art inevitably suffers the limits of digital art: it is easily reproducible, perishable, not limited and numbered in its editions, subject to obsolescence resulting from technological development; these factors causes the arising of various difficulties in terms of claiming the status of a work of art in the essence of its uniqueness, originality and authenticity.
The relevance of issues related to legal regulation and the conservation of video art is also relevant for the possible recognition as a cultural asset that audiovisual media of a rare and valuable nature can obtain under the Italian Legislative Decree no. 42/2004 (Code of Cultural Heritage). Of extreme importance, therefore, is the legal analysis aimed at qualifying such a medium, through which to frame its expressive nature and understand how to manage the circulation of such works of art, how to ensure their protection and preservation and ensure their authenticity and paternity.

This article is available in ITA.


She is a professor of Comparative Contract Law at the University of Milano-Bicocca, head of the Art Law Programme in the Master in Comtemporary Art Markets at the New Academy of Fine Arts in Milan (NABA) and Lawyer.
She focuses her research on the juridical aspects of contemporary art practices. In 2015 she won the 2th edition of the Prize ”The Jaques Derrida / Law and Culture International Chair of Philosophy”. She is director of the Course for the "Courator of Artist' Archive" organized by AitArt, and Co-director of the International Summer School on “Identity and Conservation on Contemporary Art: duties and responsabitlity” in Venaria.
She is Director of the legal study series on "Comparative Art law" ESI Publisher and Member of Editorial Board of the Internatinal Review Art and Law, Brill Research Perspectives Publisher.
She is Deputy Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Association of Artists’ Archives (AitArt), Member of the Scientific Committee of the Center of Research on Cultural Heritage Bi-Pac of Milano-Bicocca (Bi-Pac) and Member of the Board of Careof, organization for contemporary art research.
Member of Società Italiana per lo Studio del Diritto Comparato, of the Association H. Capitant des Amis de la Culture Juridique Française; of the Italian Association of Comparative Law and of Art Law Foundation, Geneva.
She is member of the Bergamo Scienza, and of the Associazione Filippo de Pisis. Author of many articles and monographs on Art Law, including: Law and Art: diritto civile e arte contemporanea, Giuffré, 2012, I contratti degli artisti, Giappichelli, 2012 and I diritti dell’arte contemporanea, Allemandi, 2011.


Assistant presso lo Studio Legale e Tributario CBA di Milano, Dipartimento di Art Law Professore a contratto di “Law and the Arts” nel Master universitario di I Livello in Arts Management presso l’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano. Cultore della materia e assistente della cattedra Law and the Arts presso il Corso di laurea in Economia e Gestione dei Beni Culturali e dello Spettacolo presso l’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano. Dottore in Giurisprudenza presso l’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, laurea cum laude in Diritto Penale I con tesi dal titolo Tutela penale del patrimonio culturale mobile: modelli di divieto con riserva di permesso e modelli di permesso con riserva di divieto. Membro del Centro Studi “Federico Stella” sulla Giustizia penale e la Politica criminale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano. Ha frequentato il Master in Economia e Management dell’arte e dei beni culturali della Business School de Il Sole 24 Ore, sede di Milano, edizione 2017/2018. Ha frequentato la Summer School in “International Cultural Heritage Law” presso l’Università di Ginevra, edizione 2016. Ha frequentato i Corsi di alta formazione “Dal museo alla casa d’aste: soggetti e luoghi del mercato dell’arte” e “L’arte tra diritto e mercato: la figura dell’art advisor” presso la Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni storico artistici dell’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, edizioni 2014 e 2015. Ha partecipato a convegni in qualità di relatore e a progetti di ricerca in materia di diritto d’autore e diritto dei beni culturali.