Agreements and Contracts

As an electronic medium, video is distinct from traditional art forms such as painting or sculpture in that it is infinitely and easily reproducible. Typically, exhibitors must enter into specific agreements or licenses that outline the terms, conditions and rights extended for the use of a media work in an exhibition. Such agreements vary depending on the source of the artwork (distributor, gallery, artist), whether the video work is a limited or unlimited edition, and a range of factors such as venue (museum exhibition, classroom screening), duration of exhibition or number of screenings, and whether the exhibition will tour to additional venues. These agreements will typically stipulate the exhibition rights that are being granted and outline any restrictions that might apply: duplication, broadcasting, etc. Although the qualitative differences between an "original" media work and its copy may not be readily apparent, the duplication of this data without the artist's consent can represent an infringement of the artist's rights, significantly compromise the integrity of the work, and interfere with existing contractual relationships between the artist and the artist's collectors, gallerists, and distributors. The following are sample agreements and contracts that address several different exhibition contexts.

Video License Agreements from a Distributor (EAI)

Standard License Agreement [EAI] This contract represents the standard for the non-commercial exhibition of single-channel video works. Typically, this is the contract used by cultural institutions that wish to screen an artist's work either on a specific day or for the duration of an exhibition.

Educational License Agreement [EAI] This contract is tailored specifically to the educational use of a single-channel video. It allows the work to be screened to classroom or lecture hall-sized audiences within the borrowing institution.

Reports and Templates from the Matters in Media Arts Resource

A number of documents are produced by the consortium, which are linked here with the permission of Matters in Media Arts.

About the Document Sources:


Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is a leading nonprofit resource for video art and interactive media. Founded in 1971, EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of new and historical media works by artists. EAI also offers educational services, viewing access, exhibitions and public programs. The EAI Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the 175 artists and 3,000 works in the EAI collection.

Matters in Media Arts

Curators, conservators, registrars and media technical managers from New Art Trust, MoMA, SFMOMA, and Tate have formed a consortium to establish best practice guidelines for care of time-based media works of art (for example, video, slide, film, audio and computer-based installations). The Matters in Media Arts website offers extensive resources related to the exhibition of media art.

Facilities Report Template

This facilities report takes the form of a questionnaire and touches upon issues critical to the exhibition of media art. Some of the topics addressed include structural and electrical concerns, handling and installation of media art, and the competency of technical staff.


Installation Template

This comprehensive outline could easily serve as an overall guide to the exhibition of media art. It includes information about the nature of the exhibition space, the artist's statement, electrical and maintenance requirements, and even health and safety details.


Loan Condition Report Template

This report outlines basic information about exhibited works of art: a general description of the artwork and its condition, basic installation instructions, and the lender's contact information.


Condition Report Template Addendum: Discs

This form includes detailed information about the status of the disc (DVD-Rom, DVD, CD) including a means of noting any defects including scratches and fingerprints.


Condition Report Template Addendum: Tape

This form is used in conjunction with the condition report, and includes detailed information unique to videocassettes.