The Italian Republic should prmote the development of culture and scientific and technical research. But no

Emanuela Massa
Emanuela Massa

Article 9 of the Italian Constitution, which turns 75 this year, reads as follows:

The Republic promotes the development of culture and scientific and technical research”.

This is the founding block for most cultural institutions. We think that this principle was, among others, the input for, e.g, the new catalogue of the entire collection, including the works in storage. of Estense Gallery.

The catalogue will take into account all what has been published up to now, and will be accompanied by news on the restorations and diagnostic investigations. The first catalog of its kind! Over the years, it could also undergo changes, in the event that the documentary or diagnostic research indicates that the previous data should be corrected. Everyone will be able to consult it, see the images and study the datasheets comfortably via web, thanks to an open source software created by the Getty.

But this beautiful news clashes with what is indicated in the Ministerial Decree number 161 of 04/11/2023, Guidelines for the determination of the minimum amounts of fees and payments for the concession of use of goods delivered to state institutions and places of culture.

A ministerial decree that clashes even with the Guidelines for the acquisition, circulation and reuse of reproductions of cultural heritage in a digital environment elaborated by the same ministry and in particular by the Central Institute for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage as transposition (mandatory for European Union members!) of the European directive 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the European digital single market.

The new decree provides that even scientific publications, for scholarly purposes, will not be able to use images of works of art for free.

And again, this decree, as well as being contrary to the principles of the European directive, seems to totally ignore the goals, for example, to which the results of research projects in the conservation and artistic fields tend, supported by grants from European and national funds whose “conditio sine qua non” is the publication and diffusion of the results, therefore of the images.

At this point we wonder if for a simple citizen, even before being a researcher and scholar, it can be acceptable. Images acquired with citizens own taxes, therefore already “paid”, must be repurchased to be used in a research publicly funded.

“Cui Prodest?”

We also talked about it here: Why the trial against Ravensburger for using the image of the Vitruvian Man is a serious mistake –

Click here to sign the petition For the free circulation of images of public cultural heritage.