Italian cultural heritage in commercial videos.
As good Italian video-makers, it is impossible to resist the temptation of incorporating, from north to south, our monuments in the realization of emotional brand videos, commercial spots and corporate videos. But how should we move, if we don’t want to break any laws, when it’s time to distribute a video for commercial reasons, which entails objects classified as human cultural heritage?
Whether you believe it or not, there is a law regulating that matter and this is the “Codex of cultural assets” (D.L. 30th December 2008 conv. in L. 27th February 2009 n. 14 and subsequent amendments) that guarantees the State a form of control over the usage of images and videos that show its historic and artistic heritage.
Summing up the content of a text written in bureaucratic language, it immediately jumps into my eyes the fact that the regulation bestows the local administration in charge for the protection of those goods with an exclusive power to decide upon the usage of the material, i.e. its distribution.
Art 108 of the Codex provides a compensation, the amount of which is decided by the authority involved, for the reproduction and distribution of material.
Therefore, my dear video-makers, whenever you feel the need to shoot a commercial video inside an historic building, or when the monument plays an important part, like a co-protagonist, in your production (in other words the building doesn’t fall in the background but it is, instead, plainly visible), we need to ask for permission and throw in some cash.
That said, it is worth mentioning that potential administrative fines for violating the rules are not listed in the Codex (art. 160-168).
The single administrations in charge of the respective goods can and must act against those
video-makers, who seem to have violated the regulation.
When the monument is shown for a small fraction of time inside a spot, or when it is part of the background, you don’t need to go crazy with boring paperwork and permissions.
Copyright deserves, however, a different discussion and the subject is in no way regulated by the Codex.
Long story short, if the protagonist of your brand video is a piece of art made by an artist, you’ll need to have his/her permission and, in case, find an agreement of monetary kind. If, instead, the artwork is no longer protected by copyright (which, by the way, lasts 70 years after the artist’s death), you are free to use it without the risk of getting in trouble (moderation and common decency are implied. We don’t want to disrespect the work of any artists).
I recommend you to consult the General Catalogue of Cultural Assets (there should be an english version) “http://www.catalogo.beniculturali.it”, to find out which Italian monuments are mentioned in the list and if, consequently, it’s necessary to start with the paperwork required to shoot your brand video, corporate video, spot commercial and music video.
To sum up:
Dear ambitious video-makers, if you intend to include in your commercial videos goods of cultural heritage, or if you want to shoot inside one of those building, you will need to have a written permission from the relevant authority, unless the monument itself is not part of the background and we only see it for a very limited time.
The same thing applies with copyright, but in different terms of course. You will need a permission from the author in case the copyright has not expired.
Take into account that, more often than not, these authorizations will be granted in exchange for monetary retributions.