This article deals with the difficulties arising from the collision of two different worlds: on one side, the creative and constantly-changing art world, on the other side the rational and crystallized legal world. In the last century, while international exchanges of artworks grew in importance and moved huge amounts of money throughout the globe, laws and regulations demonstrated their inability to deal with it.
This work focuses on cross-borders issues arising from the lack of a common understanding of what is art among legal people and art experts.
The purpose is to analyse the legal rules at the basis of customs classifications and to compare them with the application of those rules made by Courts. Finally, the last chapter, starting from a review of what previously described, offers some possible solutions to avoid that law keeps being an obstacle to the artworks trade flow.
On 20 April 2010, the European Commission adopted a new Block Exemption Regulation (no.330/2010) and Guidelines on Vertical Restraints, which emphasize the distributors’ ability in any type of distribution system to use the Internet.
The European Court of Justice rendered on 13 October 2011 in the Pierre Fabre case a landmark ruling concerning the regime of online sales in the context of selective distribution, setting out the basis for the approach to be followed on similar issues arising in the future to the entire spectrum of distribution agreements. On 31 January 2013 the Paris Court of Appeal delivered a judgment following the EU Court’s response on its preliminary ruling.
The debate currently faced by competition law in its approach on addressing online sales is particularly important as it illustrates a larger conflict within competition law, linked to the economic issue of online sales regulation in a transition phase between a physical and a mixed method of distribution combining physical sales and online sales, the so-called “click&mortar” form of distribution.
Internet remains one of the most interesting new frontiers for competition law.