Can law and new technologies disrupt the world of art, creative industries and the digital support of cultural heritage?

Source: Collector's Photograph / Europa Press 2020
 An analysis prepared for artists by lawyers in the digital world. 

It took eight years for the almost centennial mural "Ecce Homo”He will find a pictorial partner after a failed restoration work. One of the copies of the work "La Inmaculada del Escorial", made by the Baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Between 1660-1665, he found in the service of a furniture and mirror restorer from Valencia a serious deformation to the physical support that he maintained until last June. The intrusionist practice of the work, considered to be of cultural interest, ignited the debate between artists, restaurateurs and the digital community. Including attorneys.

The lack of regulations regarding the profession of conservator or restorer in Spain is one of the edges through which the intervention can be addressed. But, for the purposes of this entry, one question is obvious: Can law and new technologies revolutionize the world of art, creative industries and the digital support of cultural heritage?

Yes. Lawyers working in the protection and development of art and culture do not fail to understand art as a vital fact that is coupled with the complexity - and versatility - of a digital community. They are also aware of the active connection between artists who are striving to insert themselves professionally in digital; and, viewers who seek to consume and interpret original versions of a work.

Along these lines, one of the new trends in terms of technologies that revolutionize the art law[1], is found on the blockchain. According to the report "Distributed Ledger Technology beyond blockchainDeveloped by the UK Ministry of Culture and Digital Economy, the blockchain is defined as a database that takes a number of records and places them in a block that is chained to the next block. Using a cryptographic signature that allows its accuracy to be verified by anyone with the appropriate permissions. The specific uses of this technology in the artistic field promise to solve traditional problems of a sector in constant evolution.

1. Blockchain as an element of creation for artists, who find in the algorithm or digital element, a source of inspiration. An example of the new movement of "crypto art”Is the painting by French artist Youl,“ Last Bitcoin Supper ”, 2014. Auctioned on eBay for 4,64 BTC.

10 Impressive Bitcoin-Inspired Art Pieces
Source: Last bitcoin supper, Youl, 2014. Acrylic on natural linen canvas

2. As a certification of authorship that avoids problems related to the origin of the work and its authenticity. - With blockchain it is impossible to destroy or falsify detailed information about the displacement history of the work. This provides the basis for security, efficiency and transparency throughout the art market chain movement.

3. As a democratizing instrument for the insertion of artists globally. - Either they distribute their works without the intervention of intermediaries, ensuring secure cyber-environments and at profitable prices, or they do so through art galleries that have adopted digital exhibitions or payment methods that make use of blockchain technology.

4. As a promoter of new markets for sales and collections. - The economic flow of the art market is one of the most stable and valued by great fortunes and by countries that prioritize this commercial activity. The inserted technological revolutions do not depreciate the value of a work, but rather are used for online transactions, exports and imports with fiscal, administrative and financial benefits.

5. As an element of preservation of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage. - Cryptographic tools and the distributed blockchain system allow you to store and share digital versions of culturally important objects in globally distributed databases. As an example, the “Memory Matrix” project, created by the artist and architect Azra Aksamija, uses blockchain to preserve cultural assets in areas of warfare.

There are therefore three features shared by crypto artists -creators of works with genetic identity between art and technology- with lawyers: (1) the constant learning and use of new technologies; (2) commitment to long-term work; and, (3) the desire to create a vibrant community that allows working from collaborative chains.

It is known then that the greatest disruption in the art world will come from the hand of digital, which is why - undoubtedly - the #Arteyblockchain application list is much longer than the breakdown presented here. The new niche for legal professionals is served on the table!


[1] According to Artworld Law, a legal consultancy specialized in art and culture, its study presupposes rights such as access to culture, the protection of the cultural heritage of societies, international cooperation for the safeguarding of cultural manifestations, the technological and innovative drive of creative industries, among others.

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Milagros Bedregal
Milagros has a law degree with a mention in Public Management from the Universidad Católica San Pablo, Arequipa. Convinced to reinforce digital skills to achieve sociocultural transformation through education, art and technology. She is currently part of the non-profit organization, Lawgictec. Write me at the email: milagro.bedregal@gmail.com

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