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Abstract

The United States and Italy are important countries for art and artists, including “street art”—also known as “aerosol art.” How does the law treat street artists in the two countries? Specifically, what are the legal consequences if an artist creates aerosol art on a wall or building with the property owner’s permission, and the property owner tears down the wall or building, thus destroying the artwork? In the United States, the 2018 decision in the 5Pointz case provided a detailed analysis of the applicable law; the court found in favor of a group of aerosol artists against the property owner. How would the same situation be adjudicated in Italy? Which party’s interests would be protected? It appears that, even though works of street art are generally copyrightable in Italy, the conflict between property owners and street artists would most likely be resolved in favor of the property owner. The authors recommend that Italy enact a statute affirmatively protecting sanctioned street art.

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