90556 - Arts Law In The Digital Age

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

Student is expected to obtain the fundamental knowledge of what Cultural Heritage is under a legal perspective, discussing the challenge the idea of Arts and Culture pose for any regulation, especially in a democratic system. Through the study of International and European legislation, the student will analyse the concept of material, immaterial and digital heritage, the essential tools of protection and enhancement of cultural goods. The student will also have a proper understanding of Cultural Activities, and what are the main measures for their promotion. In the second and third parts of this course, student will analyse how the digital technologies have impacted on our legal systems, and how they have transformed and can foster all the mentioned policies for Culture and Arts.

Course contents

PART 1. Arts&Law

1.1 Culture, Arts and Law: a difficult relationship

What is culture?

Evolution of the conception of culture

Models of public intervention in the cultural sector

Pluralism and cultural industries

The challenge of the contemporary

Is a definition of Cultural Heritage possible?

The problem of contemporary art or copyright law and arts law

The types of Cultural Heritage

From protection to promotion

Cultural Heritage and its international protection


1.2 International policies for Cultural Heritage protection: UNESCO and European Union protection

UNESCO origins and governing bodies

UNESCO legal sources

The UNESCO Constitution

The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural Heritage

The Criteria for the World Heritage List

The Convention on Intangible Cultural Property

The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Toward a cultural heritage law for a mankind?

Cultural Heritage in the European Union

The role of European Commission on Cultural Heritage

The European Union Work Plan for Culture

The European framework for action on Cultural Heritage. Principles and pillars.


PART 2. Law and Digital Technologies

2.1 The legal approach to new tecnologies

ICTs as a challenge to legal principles, method and technique

Technological convergence

The Net as a possible juridical object

UN, EU and Italian approaches to Internet and ICT regulation

Regulation for accessing the net

Regulation inside the net


2.2 The “digital” rights

Digital divide. Definition. Tools. Perspectives

Different legal approaches to contrast the divide

Theories for a possible regulation inside the Net


2.3 Legal system and digital market challenges

Net Neutrality

The case of Big Data

Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms


PART 3. Digitalizing Cultural Heritage

What is a digital good?

Theories, problems and praxis for a digitalization of Cultural Heritage

2003 UNESCO Charter for the preservation of Digital Heritage

2011 EU Recommendation on the Digitisation and Online Accessibility of Cultural Material and Digital Preservation


This part will also be analyzed through meetings with experts and professionals from libraries, museums and different cultural institutions


At the end of each part, the slides projected during the lessons will be distributed through the platform Virtuale. These slides are the main studying material for the subjects of this class.

On Virtuale will be provided a number of essays among which each student has to choose one to study and analyse critically. The review of this essay will be part of the final exam.


Further useful material/docs

Part 1
UNESCO Constitution

UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage

2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions

UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage

UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention 2021

European Union Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage

Zacharias, D (2010). The UNESCO Regime for the Protection of World Heritage. (available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/german-law-journal/article/unesco-regime-for-the-protection-of-world-heritage-as-prototype-of-an-autonomygaining-international-institution/66834CFD142FF65CA9CCD1EAC3432E4C)

Nafziger, J, Kirkwood, R and Dundes, A (2010). Cultural law: international, comparative, and indigenous. (available at: https://www.cambridge.org/it/academic/subjects/law/comparative-law/cultural-law-international-comparative-and-indigenous?format=HB&isbn=9780521865500Battini, S (2015). The Procedural Side of Legal Globalization: The Case of the World Heritage Convention. Jean Monnet Working Paper 18/10


Part 2

Hague, B and Loader, B (1999). Digital Democracy: Discourse and Decision Making in the Information Age. (available at: https://books.google.it/books/about/Digital_Democracy.html?id=7SQrN0tt3ZIC&redir_esc=y)

Fang, Z (2002). E-Government in Digital Era:
Concept, Practice, and Development.
(available at: http://www.ijcim.th.org/past_editions/2002V10N2/article1.pdf)

Torres, L, Pina, V and Royo, S (2005). E‐government and the transformation of public administrations in EU countries: Beyond NPM or just a second wave of reforms?. (available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/28104721_E-government_and_the_transformation_of_public_administrations_in_EU_countries_Beyond_NPM_or_just_a_second_wave_of_reforms)

Palvia, S and Sharma S (2006). E-Government and E-Governance: Definitions/Domain Framework and Status around the World. (available at: https://www.academia.edu/6283380/E_Government_and_E_Governance_Definitions_Domain_Framework_and_Status_around_the_World)

Teaching methods

The course will be based on taught classes.

Restricted places for incoming exchange students:

Places for incoming exchange students in this teaching activity are limited and are primarily reserved to students enrolled in art related programmes at their home university. To check availability, please write to amac@unibo.it

Assessment methods

The final assessment consists in:

1. WRITTEN EXAM: the written exam consists in 3 questions on the different parts of the course, to be answered in max. 2 pages. One of the questions is always a review of the essay chosen among those distributed on Virtuale.

2. ORAL EXAM: If a student passes the written exam, he/she can ask to have an oral exam to try to improve the final grade.
In this case he/she has to send a request to dar.didatticadonati@unibo.it in 48 hours by the publication of the written exam evaluation.

A date for the oral exam will be communicated asap.

Teaching tools

Further course materials will be available on “virtuale”.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Daniele Donati


Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.